Rahul Devaskar works for the San Jose Earthquakes. He initiated a relationship with me in connection with my work with E-Soccer or as Rahul likes to say…our shared connection to the beautiful game. This afternoon Rahul invited me to lunch with the Earthquakes. I was able to watch the close of practice, meet team captain and U.S. National team player Chris Wondolowski (pictured above), as well as have a brief chat with Earthquakes President Dave Kaval.
I had an incredible time with the Earthquakes and learned some important lessons. Their efforts to connect with the community reminded me of my college days in Boston. I want to share 2 things I learned and why they are important.
Community Building: The Earthquakes are pursuing a model similar to Boston sports teams. Anyone who has lived in Boston knows the Celtics, Bruins, and Red Sox are treated more like high school than professional teams. The community feels an emotional bond with them as evidenced by Big Papi’s rallying speech after the Boston Marathon Bombing. Today it was obvious the Earthquakes are working to build the same bond in the Bay Area. I look forward to watching them fill their 18,000 set stadium(see Dave Kaval’s Google Glass Photo Below) with people like me who feel a personal bond with the team. The lesson to learn from them and Boston is building community builds long term bonds, which produce sustainable and scaleable attendance. What they are doing is going to work.
Hi-Touch in Hi-Tech: Today’s lunch made clear the Earthquakes understand in a hi-tech world people still require hi-touch. I was fortunate to have someone working for the Earthquakes connect me to the organization, but for a period of time I was wandering around by myself. It was during this wandering I met and talked to Chris Wondolowski who was entertaining 5 kids in a swoon over meeting the star (I swooned as well). The completely inspiring truth is Chris created 5 lifetime fans by spending a few minutes with kids, who like me will post and share their photos and experiences with others. I work with technology everyday and can assure you nothing makes a connection like the personal touch. The Earthquakes understand this truth.
Why this is important?: E-Soccer has become far more than I ever imagined when it began in a dusty field with 8 kids. Because of our expansion to other cities and countries nearly 1000 kids participate. This means typical and special needs children play together and become friends. Our work has expanded because important organizations like the Earthquakes involve themselves in the community and provide us with support. I look forward to working more closely with the Earthquakes, and hope you will take a look at what they are doing, because this is an organization building the right way for a bright future.