In early 2019, Volkswagen made a splash in the soccer world by announcing their four-year partnership with U.S. Soccer as Presenting Partner. Throughout the first year of the partnership the automotive brand found several ways to connect with the American soccer consumer. In 2020, Volkswagen hit the ground running on a grassroots level and attended the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Baltimore – the annual one-stop shop for coaches from around the country.
Over a series of two-and-a-half days roughly 5,000 coaches, administrators, and industry folks visited our footprint. From vehicles on display to a panel with U.S. Women’s National Team players, Volkswagen was the talk of the town!
— Volkswagen USA (@VW) January 17, 2020
Volkswagen vehicles bring big crowds
Opportunities to be in front of that many soccer industry people in an intimate, indoor setting are few and far between, so we knew we had to take advantage. How? Well, let’s start with the vehicles. Like we do at various U.S. Men’s and U.S. Women’s National Team games, as well as youth tournaments, we featured several Volkswagen vehicles, including a 2019 Atlas, Tiguan, Arteon, and the soon-to-market 2020 Atlas Cross Sport. In each of the four vehicles we had tablet devices on steering wheels and headrests for consumers to play U.S. Soccer and Volkswagen-themed games, including a puzzle, a juggling game, and a matching game.
USWNT panel takes activation to new levels
While the Volkswagen vehicles and our in-vehicle experiences were a big draw, the highlight of the weekend was undoubtedly the panel on Saturday that brought together the past, the present, and the future of the U.S. Women’s National Team program. When you can bring together two current players and one former player with one of the most memorable moments in U.S. Soccer history expect the crowds to show up… and they certainly did! Carli Lloyd, Sam Mewis, and Brandi Chastain delighted a crowd of coaches, administrators, and fans with the help of SiriusXM FC’s Glenn Crooks (Carli’s recruiter and coach at Rutgers University) who moderated the hour-long panel entitled, The Quest to Remain the #1 Women’s Soccer Nation.
Eager fans lined up before the convention floor was open to ensure they were among the first to guarantee a seat in our footprint. As soon as the ropes were lifted, the orderly line turned into a rush of people and the chairs were gone – the few hundred remaining attendees were left to stand anywhere they could find space.
Thanks to years of playing experience, Brandi, Carli, and Sam discussed a variety of topics, each serving as inspiration for listeners. In Carli’s Instagram post below, one of her followers commented, “My daughter was there and freaking out when she saw you! Thank you for being such a good role model for girls!”
Among the many topics discussed on the panel were:
- How player development has changed over the years
- Lasting impressions coaches can have on players
- Ways to increase opportunities for female coaches
- Advice for young, female coaches
- Words of wisdom to guide players in the futures – whether in soccer or not
If you’re interested in hearing a replay of the panel, check SiriusXM FC‘s schedule of Glenn’s The Coaching Academy broadcasts.
Highlights of our Volkswagen activation
As we continue to visit stadiums and facilities across the country it’s great to see and hear how more and more fans are associating Volkswagen with the sport and U.S. Soccer. In a way, the Coaches Convention brings the work we’re doing into full view – from the massive crowd the USWNT players brought on Saturday to the number of coaching and administrators we’ve worked with at youth events coming by to say hello.
To summarize the experience, here are a few of our highlights from our time in Baltimore:
- Debuting the new 2020 Atlas Cross Sport at a soccer event
- The USWNT panel and the eager fans who lined up, then packed our footprint!
- SiriusXM FC broadcasting live from our footprint with a revolving door of American soccer media personalities
- Walking around the convention and seeing Volkswagen branding everywhere
There are a lot of exciting things planned throughout the 2020 season – we look forward to helping Volkswagen bring these elements to life.