The Sporting Club Network wanted to kick off the new year by not only maximizing the relationships with our affiliates in the immediate Kansas City area, but also by attempting to elevate our outreach beyond just that. Establishing new ways to engage with our members has been instrumental in our development thus far, and we look to keep this ball rolling into the summer months with even more unique events and promotions. This spring has been extremely successful in these fronts, in large part due to the support and participation from our members across the entire Midwest region.
This outreach began first with the addition of some new members outside of the metro area. It was formally announced that Little Apple Soccer Club in Manhattan had joined in February, and in March the Sporting Club Network and the Wichita Rojos Soccer Club reached an agreement that saw the Kansas club become a member of the SCN. The Rojos joined Newton United and Club Azzurri as our third Network club signing from the Wichita area, highlighting the intent to extend our partnership to clubs throughout the Midwest, not just in the KC metro area.
One of the most innovative components of the Network is the ability we have to offer exclusive access to Sporting Kansas City, be it with our players, coaches, staff and even our facilities. This April, the SCN held a clinic in which all of our members were invited to attend and get the chance to play on the same field as some of the professional players on Sporting Kansas City. Every single Academy Affiliate club was represented as well as members of SCN clubs from throughout Midwest. This event symbolizes the Network's geographic reach given the fact that youth soccer players from all over the region could meet one another and receive coaching from their favorite professional players. Although they come from various cities and clubs, they all shared the same patch on their jerseys, representing their affiliation with the Sporting Club Network.
As great an event as this mini-clinic was, some clubs are only able to make it to the area once or twice a year when they compete in tournaments, or head to Sporting Park to see a Sporting Kansas City game. When a club is in a situation like this, we want to make the most out of their members' time in Kansas City. Coordinating with club representatives, we gave some Network members private tours of the stadium in between their tournament game schedules or on the days they came out for SKC games. Members from Newton United, from just outside Wichita, and Southeast Kansas Soccer Academy members from Pittsburg, KS, were just two examples of members that got to enjoy a special “behind the scenes” experience when visiting Sporting Park.
The Sporting Club Network also held a watch party in Topeka, where members of Sunflower Soccer Association, Topeka Select and Prodigy SC attended a clinic and watched a live stream of a Sporting Kansas City match. The video feed was unfortunately cut out due to the extreme weather, which even resulted in a tornado watch. Members did not let this ruin the event however, and the day was salvaged as people were seen huddling around their phones to watch the game. This devotion shown by our members to stick around and make the most of the event was something that the SCN staff would have never expected, and is a testament to the quality of our Sporting fans in Topeka.
Even with all of these great opportunities to engage with our members both at home and on the road, we wanted to make sure we could reach every single member of the SCN. This led us to expand outreach through social media and an improved website. First with Twitter, the SCN launched the #1Crest1Club campaign to engage our members and offer them some cool prizes. We asked our participants to post a picture of them wearing their uniform, showcasing the Sporting Club patch, on their Twitter to @SportingKC_SCN using the #1Crest1Club tag. We received entries from members all across the Network, and even got the chance to offer a VIP experience to a family from Sporting Lincoln FC as a grand prize. Be sure to follow the SCN on Twitter and like us on Facebook to show your support and learn more about what we do.
The Sporting Club Network would like to thank all of its affiliates and members for their continued support and are looking forward to seeing all of you soon. To view pictures of some of these events, and to get a better idea what's been going on in the Sporting Club Network, please view the slideshow below. For any questions or to learn how to join the SCN, please contact Liam O'Connell at @loconnell@SportingKC.com.