Goal! U.S. Soccer's New Digital Hub

soccerplayersThe FIFA World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event, and just in time for the upcoming 2014 tournament, global marketing agency VML has redesigned the digital hub for U.S. Soccer.

Rather than silo content by function or category, this new USSoccer.com hub serves as a cohesive thread uniting all U.S. soccer information.

“Our goal is to excite soccer fans ahead of this historic occasion with the development of a modern digital experience that engages users and motivates them to create and share compelling content that resonates with fans,” said Chuck Searle, executive director of client services, VML.

Adds Neil Buethe, director of communications and content, U.S. Soccer: "We used to sort different kinds of content into buckets, like editorial, features, press releases, videos. Now, this brand experience is developed with the user experience in mind and how they interact with the content."

VML won the account late last year with its expertise in adaptable technology.

"Flexibility is a key word we talked about," says Buethe. "We have a lot of different things within the organization: the men's, women's, and youth national teams, the coaching and referee departments, the Development Academy, and all of those things are important. It's valuable to focus on what the fans delve into the most, while at the same time providing easy access to everything."

One priority was to develop a platform with multi-language users in mind. "Soccer is a global sport, even the core base in the U.S. likely speaks more than one language," says Searle. 

Still, this launch of the new online experience is not the end game, but represents the next phase in the evolution of U.S. Soccer’s digital presence, particularly as it focuses on a mobile-first approach that is both adaptive and responsive.

“Through our continual dialogue with our fans, we identified several key areas to better serve U.S. National Team supporters through our digital platforms,” said Buethe. “In collaboration with VML, our new site will improve our reach and connection to the fans and provide them with innovative ways to share their experience in support of all U.S. National Teams.” 

VML helped develop content, design and mobile strategies, site architecture design, Web site development and activation and engagement strategies. Content creation will focus on pre-, during and post-match insights and perspectives, as well as team and player profiles. "We are creating an experience that communicates with fans rather than at them," says Searle.

Further enhancements will continue to be released in the ensuing weeks, resulting in the fully upgraded platform being in place before the U.S. Men's opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 16 against Ghana. Then, the site will continue to evolve based on user expectations. "We are purposefully staging this approach to roll out to make sure the site evolves with the fans," says Searle.

U.S. Soccer will continue to utilize Web content management and digital marketing solutions by Sitecore.

young player scoring goal photo from Shutterstock

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