I chose to attend the third annual South East college showcase (boys) which was held on 31st January 2011 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The event was hosted by a nonprofit organization; FC Alliance which seeks to promote the game of soccer among the youth in the region. The organization partnered with Soccer In College to enhance the services provided to the players as well as spectators. Knoxville Tennessee provides a favorable environment for hosting soccer tournaments, especially in the winter period. This is primarily due to the region’s temperature which averaged at 47 degrees in January making it the most preferred location to host the Southeast college showcase.
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The event’s organizers chose the Schumpert Park for their venue, one of the most attractive parks in the region which further served to attract more spectators. Also, the number of fields was limited to five which gave the players higher chances of being spotted by sponsors and college coaches. I chose to attend this event due to my interest in soccer and the organization’s commitment to the development of soccer talent among young players. Further, Schumpert Park is close to my workplace hence I could easily commute from the workplace to the event.
During this year’s event, the Southeast showcase invited six teams for players under fifteen, ten teams for players under sixteen, sixteen teams for players under seventeen, and ten teams for players under eighteen. This served to increase player participation under different age brackets. The age limit for this year’s tournament participants was under 15 years to less than 19 years for boys.
The teams were ranked according to their past performance and playing record to establish the most competitive divisions. The tournament fee for each team of players under fifteen to players under 18 was $ 600. To ease the process of registration and payment, FC Alliance had developed an online system through which registration, team placement, acceptance, and payment could be done from. The online system can be accessed from http://www.fcallianceknox.org/register/index_E.html.
Background information of Southeast College showcase and FC Alliance
“FC Alliance is a youth soccer club whose mission is to provide excellence in training, development, and teaching of life lessons through the game of soccer throughout Tennessee and surrounding states” (FC Alliance, 2011: p 1). The club makes use of highly qualified and skilled coaches who are committed to developing players to their optimum levels of performance. Indeed, some of the greatest soccer players the United States has ever produced was known to have participated in Southeast soccer tournaments. With most of the AAC schools being located in the Southeastern region of the United States, players participating in this tournament and wish to attend these top soccer schools are better placed for college coaches to spot them. Consequently, players from most regions of the United States prefer to participate in the Southeast College showcase.
FC Alliance is a nonprofit making organization which came into existence as a result of a merger between Smokey Mountain Association and Impact United Soccer Association in 2008 (FC Alliance, 2011). The national popularity and success of the club have been largely attributed to the club’s possession of highly skilled coaches and trainers who provide world-class training to the players. Also, FC Alliance promotes competitive spirit among the players hence the players are very aggressive. The club embraces a diverse range of soccer talent and awards these players the same level of training and opportunity regardless of the magnitude of the talent. The tournament participants are trained under a structured curriculum that is designed to develop the player’s strengths.
South East College showcase SWOT analysis
Strengths: The Southeast college showcase provides young adults with an opportunity to showcase their talent in soccer. The event attracts sponsors and soccer coaches from top soccer colleges which provide talented players with a chance to earn scholarships through demonstration of their skills. The soccer showcase is conducted in the beautiful Schumpert and Rifle Range parks which attracts larger numbers of spectators and provide a suitable playing environment for the participants. Moreover, during this year’s event, the Southeast college showcase provided the team management and soccer fans with a digitally advanced means of tracking the unfolding events in near ‘real-time’ through constant updates via text messaging (SCS, 2011).
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Weaknesses: The host organization, FC Alliance is a nonprofit making organization whose main aim is to develop and nurture talent among young players and to teach them life skills through the game of soccer. Although each team is required to pay $ 600 to participate in the event, the money is used to pay for the services rendered by coaches, clinicians, and other general and administrative costs.
Consequently, the soccer teams have to raise money for their travel expenses and accommodation which may discourage participation by players who lack adequate financial support. Also, the process of organizing the soccer showcase is cumbersome and time-consuming (Bodwin et al, 2006). To have a successful event, extensive marketing, development of good public relations and proper planning is essential. Failure to execute the above may result in delays and inconveniences which may result in consumer dissatisfaction which in turn may damage the image of the showcase.
Opportunities: The Southeast college showcase exposes players with high potential to sponsors and coaches in attendance. The event brings together top players from the Southeastern region and the teams are grouped according to league playing division, tournament results as well as USA Rank ranking system (FC Alliance, 2011). This enables the establishment of competitive divisions that promote the spirit of competition and the development of exceptional talent among the players.
Threats: The Southeast soccer showcase is heavily dependent on the prevailing weather conditions in Tennessee. Any unprecedented changes in the weather conditions would negatively impact on the outcome of the tournament. Also, sporting events have become a major target for terrorist attacks which discourage participation and spectator attendance.
FC Alliance SWOT Analysis
Strengths: The organization has competent coaches, trainers, and clinicians who are highly qualified and experienced. This enables them to develop the highest level of competitive soccer in Tennessee and the surrounding states (FC Alliance, 2011). Also, FC Alliance staff’s devotion to individual players provides opportunities for interested young adults to acquire training in the sport. The organization has a defined curriculum through which the trainers assist players to reach their potential. A structured curriculum promotes consistency and goal orientation in training.
Weaknesses: The organization heavily depends on external funding from sponsors and the nature of such funding is nonprofit oriented. Since funding from sponsors is not always guaranteed, FC Alliance has to partner with other organizations to ensure that it provides efficient services to the players and customers.
Opportunities: FC Alliance receives financial support from various sponsors such as CAT, Once Upon a Child, Pilot food marts, SEC Corporation, US Cellular, Champion Fence Company, PUMA and Plato’s closet (FC Alliance, 2011). Consequently, the organization offers financial aid to selected players through its financial aid program which demonstrates the organization’s commitment to the welfare of players and corporate responsibility which improves the organization’s image among the sponsors. Through its affiliations with other soccer clubs and associations in the region, FC Alliance can accomplish its mission which is enhancing the game of soccer.
Threats: The organization is expected to meet strict security requirements for the event failure to which may result in event cancellation.
Influence of Various Stakeholders on the Southeast College Showcase
The training staff as well as program directors possess a lot of skills and experience in soccer and follow the guidelines outlined by the US and other international soccer boards. These coaches provide a structured developmental curriculum that nurtures growth among the players. Consequently, they develop high potential players making the games even more competitive and interesting to watch. The showcase also uses volunteers to perform certain critical roles necessary to make the event successful. There are volunteers such as first aid attendants and travel and uniform coordinators who ensure safety and coordination during the event.
The players are the major stakeholders of the event. Since they form the focus for the spectacle, FC Alliance ensures that they are adequately trained to provide the viewers with value. Their passion and dedication while playing the games directly impact the enjoyment of spectators hence they are the major determinants of the experience to be derived from the soccer showcase (Masterman, 2004).
The spectators, be it purchasers of tickets or guests, have the potential to spend in the event if care and attention are given to them by the event hosts (Masterman, 2004). FC Alliance seeks to provide the spectators with interesting and competitive matches which are played by highly trained soccer players. The teams qualifying for the showcase are ranked according to their past performance to make the most competitive divisions possible (FC Alliance, 2011). Also, FC Alliance ensures that all tournament games are played in only five fields which gives the player a higher chance of being spotted by the spectators.
FC Alliance seeks to create supportive relationships with other soccer clubs and associations in the US region. The organization has partnered with the United States Soccer Federation, an organization charged with the responsibility of regulating soccer in the entire United States. Also, FC Alliance the United States Youth Soccer Association is an affiliate of USSF. Due to these affiliations, FC Alliance easily registers its players in these associations. The organization has also partnered with US Club (U4-U8) which is a nonprofit making organization that aims at developing competitive club soccer in the United States in which FC Alliance registers its members in U4-U8 age bracket (FC Alliance, 2011). FC Alliance has also partnered with one of the members of the Tennessee State Soccer Association. This provides the club’s players with an opportunity to actively participate in state tournaments and other state-run events (FC Alliance, 2011).
To further enhance the abilities of players, FC Alliance has partnered with Johnny Long’s training academy which offers training sessions to help the players improve their speed and agility. Also, the organization partnered with the US Cellular soccer complex which provides the community with a tournament-quality facility with six soccer fields providing players with training areas to further improve their skill.
Short Term Benefits and Long Term Legacies Developed By the Event
The southeast college showcase tournament provides players with exposure to the outside world. The event provides an opportunity for coaches and sponsors to spot top talent among the players for their teams. The event is covered by the media and participants further take advantage of the media attention to demonstrate their skill to the larger society. Also, the event provides the players with opportunities not only to develop soccer skills but also to learn various life skills through the game of soccer.
Extensive training before the tournament requires a lot of commitment on the part of the players which limits time for the young adults to indulge in anti-social behavior such as drug abuse and armed robbery. For younger teams, participating in the soccer tournament is all about fun, and excitement of meeting and playing with other teams (Hinman, 2009). For players between fourteen and nineteen years, the main goal is to be competitive enough to become a creditable opponent (Hinman, 2009). The showcase also provides recreational benefits to thousands of spectators who attend the event. The Southeast college showcase has been known to produce some of the most talented soccer players in the United States. Its effective organization and success over the three years of existence have promoted its popularity and preference among spectators.
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Description of Some of the Sponsors
The Southeast College showcase is sponsored by organizations such as Pilot Corporation, T3 Travel, and US Cellular. T3 provides event planners with efficient and free housing management services which enable the organizations to focus on marketing the events, establishing public relations, and increasing event attendance (T3, 2011). The Southeast College showcase volunteers and T3 selected local soccer-friendly hotels that provide players with remarkable services and amenities. These hotels are conveniently located within proximity to the fields and are surrounded by popular restaurants to efficiently serve the players (T3, 2011).
Pilot Corporation has over 300 restaurants in the United States which aim at serving fast, friendly and clean foods to its customers. Pilot food mart provides players with a healthy diet and sells their food products to the event spectators. Besides, FC Alliance has partnered with the Pilot Regional Soccer league which is a full-service youth soccer league sponsored by Pilot Corporation (FC Alliance, 2011). The association comprises of over 100 teams from eastern, central, and Southern Tennessee as well as North Carolina (FC Alliance, 2011).
FC Alliance has also partnered with the US cellular soccer complex which is a 23-acre site that provides the locals with a tournament-quality facility (FC Alliance, 2011). Over the years, the complex has accommodated a huge number of spectators and has provided players with adequate space for practicing. FC Alliance assumed the management of the soccer complex in a bid by the organization to get more young people on the field. Utilization of the complex for the club’s activities has more than doubled since the take over with other groups from the local community benefiting largely from the soccer complex.
During Event Evaluation
This year’s event was attended by large numbers of spectators which significantly limited the park’s space available for viewers’ accommodation. The event staff and volunteers, however, worked effortlessly to ensure that a large number of spectators would not interfere with the soccer matches. Many spectators complained that they did not get their tickets on time while others were unable to access the parks due to overcrowding. Several tickets were being bought at the entrance which resulted in delays and commotion at the entrance.
However, the event managers offered the spectators a breathtaking experience demonstrated in the exciting games played by highly trained and competitive team players. The soccer showcase ensured that all the players participating in the matches were extensively trained for them to meet the viewer’s expectations during the matches. Indeed, the event was dedicated to putting the players in the spotlight by ensuring that they were equipped with exceptional skills to attract the spectator’s attention to them. The event managers ensured that tight security had been put in place and was very quick to respond to any security issue arising during the event
Feedback from the Interview
I interviewed three spectators during the tournament. Mark, a 24-year-old black American male expressed his passion for soccer as the major influence for attending the event. According to Mark, the highly anticipated annual event provided him with an opportunity to appreciate young soccer skills in the local community. However, mark complained that he had been unnecessarily delayed at the entrance by security for unknown reasons.
Karen, a 42-year-old Caucasian woman attended the event to support her ten-year-old son who was playing in one of the teams and fact that the host organization was offering financial assistance to her talented son. She complained that the registration and payment process had been a cumbersome process.
Tyson, a 35-year-old white college male coach simply attended the showcase to pick out two exceptional soccer players whom the college would award full scholarships. The coach commended the players for their exceptional performance but complained that the park was overcrowded.
The three interviewees expressed their satisfaction from the matches by describing it as the most interesting soccer showcase in the United States. The fact that the players demonstrated exceptional talents during the matches promoted consumer satisfaction.
To reduce overcrowding the organization should expand the viewing space or limit the number of people accessing the parks by providing other venues where the matches can be transmitted on the live broadcast.
All registration and ticket payments should be done online. The organization should advance its online system in such a way that it is not congested during peak periods.
The event organizers should ensure that no unnecessary delays arise during the event. The security should be highly automated to avoid inconveniences and to promptly and effectively respond to any arising security concerns.
Bodwin, G A J, Allen J & O’Toole W (2006): Events Management. New York: Elsevier.
FC Alliance, (2011). Company’s official website, Demosphere International Inc. Web.
Hinman, G. (2009). Pigtails to preseason: a game plan for playing soccer from club to college. Oklahoma: Tate Publishing.
Masterman, G. (2004). Strategic Sports Events Management: An International Approach. Massachusetts: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Southeast College Showcase (2011). Organization Website. Web.
T3, (2011). Company’s official website, T3 Travel. Web.