John Guppy

The NSCAA Convention: Soccer’s Annual Woodstock Gathering

Billed by the NSCAA as “The world’s largest annual gathering of soccer coaches,” but described by many as the ultimate “Soccer Woodstock,” last week’s NSCAA Convention was a gathering of epic proportions for the soccer industry.  All told, over 11,000 soccer folks descended on Baltimore like a small invading army – each coming prepared to listen, learn, celebrate and socialize with fellow members of the soccer fraternity.

At its core, the event is about coaching education. The prevailing dress code is most definitely the full-on soccer tracksuit.  For coaches it’s five intense days of seminars, lectures, field presentations, awards ceremonies and social gatherings.  But to think the NSCAA event is just for coaches would be a mistake.  With the addition of the MLS SuperDraft and NWSL College Draft  the event has broadened its appeal, attracting league executives and front office staff, media members, current and former players, as well as fans.

My first NSCAA event was in Santa Clara, CA in 1994.  It’s now one of the tent pole moments on my annual calendar. It’s the one and only opportunity to connect with every constituency in the soccer industry – all in one place, all at one time.  During three hectic days I was able to spend time with:

  • Leaders of the pro game: U.S. Soccer, MLS, NWSL, NASL, USL
  • Leaders of grassroots soccer: youth & amateur soccer coaches and administrators
  • MLS Team front office staff members
  • Media members (I believe more media attended this year than ever before)
  • Current and retired players
  • Player Agents
  • Fans and supporter group leaders
  • International Club representatives
  • Soccer retailers
  • Apparel industry leaders
  • Industry suppliers (tech companies, training aids, administrative tools, etc.)

The days were long (early morning coffee and late night beer), but on both a personal and professional level the NSCAA is truly a once a year experience that cannot be missed.


Categories: Major League Soccer, NWSL, Soccer Marketing