Most soccer enthusiasts around the country are familiar with Soccer.com, formerly known as Eurosport, as an online retailer that carries a dizzying assortment of gear for the soccer player, coach, and fan alike. Since the first Eurosport catalog was mailed in 1984, Soccer.com has strived to be more than just a retailer.
Mission statement: To be the world’s leading authentic grassroots soccer company, building strong relationships in a vibrant, creative and ethical environment. To inform, inspire, and innovate.
How does Soccer.com build strong relationships in a creative environment? In addition to unparalleled customer service and a savvy grassroots marketing department, dedicated bloggers write frequent columns about the blending of brand and sport. While some may argue that the commercialization of soccer ruins the purity of the sport, I think that the Soccer.com Guide provides a fascinating lens through which to view the beautiful game.
The first section, “From the Field,” contains analysis of recent happenings in the vast world of soccer. For example, the Soccer.com bloggers cover topics from Australia’s win at the Asian Cup to the top five transfer rumors of the January window. Articles such as these do little to promote brands or particular soccer gear items; instead, they function solely to disseminate news. On the other hand, the running series entitled “The Cleats and Elites” puts blatant emphasis on the boots that soccer stars around the world have worn in the past week. Each player profiled is accompanied by a brief description of his recent match and its outcome, as well as a high definition action shot of him wearing the cleats and a shameless link straight to the Soccer.com page where you can buy the cleats yourself.
My favorite part of the blog, the “Dissecting Soccer” section, appeals to the soccer gear fanatic. In each post, the bloggers select one soccer gear item and provide an in depth analysis. Previously reviewed products in this section include PUMA’s evoPOWER 1 shinguards, Mercurial Vapor X cleats, and the Nike Ordem II ball. The posts that stand out the most, however, are those in which the bloggers physically dissect cleats in balls. For example, the dissection of the adidas Smart Ball reveals an innovative, complex, and durable interior which is not immediately apparent by seeing or playing with the ball in person.
In the “Players” section, all of the posts are feature individual professional soccer players from around the world. In this section, women make their first appearance on the blog with a discussion on Nadine Kessler winning the 2014 Women’s Ballon d’or. Why are women underrepresented on the blog? I think that the answer to this question harkens back to the overall purpose of the blog. While reading about soccer news, gossip, and gear is certainly entertaining in and of itself, the blog has an additional motive, and that is to market products sold on the Soccer.com website. The biggest and most publicized soccers stars in the world at this moment in time are men. Women are no less capable than men when playing soccer (I am a supporter of the recent #likeagirl campaign), and some people even argue that the women’s game is more organic than the men’s. But unfortunately when it comes down to the bottom line, highlighting cleats worn by males will result in more sales.
Under the “Coach/Youth” section, the bloggers deviate slightly from famous players and soccer gear items, and instead place emphasis on training for the game. There is the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s (NSCAA) drill of the month, a feature on winter training with Nike, and a segment on how to train the Arsenal way. While these articles provide valuable tactical information for the up and coming youth player or the coach aspiring to plan an efficient training session, they also seamlessly blend in brands important to Soccer.com.
If you are a soccer fan who strives to stay on the cutting edge of cleats, gear, and training technique, then Soccer.com Guide is the blog to bookmark. Soccer.com Guide helps soccer fans keep track of what their favorite players are wearing, and ensures that these items are only a click away. And anyways, what’s the harm in emulating your soccer idol? At the end of the day you might not have Messi’s touch, but at least you’ll look good trying.
“There’s one simple reason we are the best soccer company on the planet: we love soccer.”