SFIA Member Spotlight – AYSO

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AYSO dives deep into its history, rooted in inclusiveness and positivity, and explains how it has something to offer all soccer players, no matter their age, skill level, income or experience.

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Mike Hoyer, National Executive Director

What is the American Youth Soccer Organization?

Hoyer: AYSO is an inclusive, youth soccer provider based in over 800 communities across the US.  AYSO offers numerous play options for the full player development pathway.  We welcome those new to the sport, those seeking a high level of play and adults.  In every program the foundation of play is our Six Philosophies:  Everyone Plays, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development.

AYSO is volunteer operated 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

When was AYSO founded and how has AYSO grown since it was founded?

Hoyer: AYSO was founded in 1964 with four teams in Torrance, California.  The first program outside of California was launched by a family that moved from the mainland to Hawaii.  Today, we have more than 800 programs across country and in a few Caribbean locations.

We pioneered a national program for girls soccer in 1971 that included women who went on to the first Women’s National Team including Lesle Galimore, head coach at the University of Washington.

To further deliver on our philosophy of Everyone Plays, we launched the Very Important Player program in 1974 for players with developmental disabilities.  The program flexibility creates opportunities for kids and adults of all abilities and capabilities an opportunity to enjoy the power of team sports participation.

What were AYSO’s Six Philosophies based off of?

Hoyer: Our philosophies define the AYSO child and player focused culture.  The first three were created by our founders, Everyone Plays, Balanced Teams and Open Registration helped advertise the difference between AYSO and other youth sports programs in the 1960’s.  No tryouts.  No exclusion by lines on a map.  The customer is able to choose where to participate and know their child will play at least half of every game.

As the program grew, it was evident that Good Sportsmanship and Positive Coaching needed to be ingrained in every aspect of our program to ensure the focus remained on our vision to “provide world class youth soccer programs that enrich children’s lives.” We exist to serve the child, the youth player.

Finally, Player Development was added to acknowledge our National Coaching program and curriculum focused on age appropriate environments that address the social, psychological, and physical developmental cycle.

How do you ensure that there is a competitive balance in AYSO leagues?

Hoyer: Each year we form new teams as evenly balanced as possible.  The only player designated to a team is the child of a coach.  Our local program leaders utilize a variety of methods to balance teams to align with this philosophy.

We also have a variety of player programs for the full player development pathway.  Our Core Program is non-tryout based and open to all who seek to play.

We have two other levels of play that are tryout based.  EXTRA is our in-house travel program for players seeking a higher level of play and team commitment.  We have approximately 1500 teams in this category.

AYSO’s National Club/Travel program is AYSO United.  This is also tryout based and provides players another level of play within gaming circuits outside of AYSO.

At each level, the commitment is for each player to get at least half a game.  The game itself is its best teacher.

How do you ensure coaches are properly educated about safety and player development?

Hoyer: AYSO provides a complete education platform for the whole family:  volunteers, parents and guardians, and players.  Each community-based program (Regions in our terminology) can offer in-person training if they have the volunteers trained as AYSO Instructors.

AYSO mandated coach training in 2011 utilizing our age appropriate curriculum. The curriculum has three times been validated by the National Commission for the Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE).  We go beyond the X’s and O’s or the technical components of coaching.  Guidance is provided in the coaching curriculum for the proper learning environment at each age division within our programs.

Our coaching curriculum is written to speak to the parent, guardian or adult that may be new to soccer and provides these valuable volunteers the resources and references to deliver soccer training and the AYSO Experience with training plans, video demonstrations and animated graphics.

Our Safe Haven Training is required for all volunteers for the protection of our players and volunteers.  Topics include player safety, weather safety, anti-bullying and prevention of abuse (physical and verbal).

We provide continued education for coaches, referees and our program managers online and in person.  We have several thousand trained instructors.  We also provide annual updates to each of the disciplines to keep our programs current.

What makes AYSO different from other youth soccer leagues?

Hoyer: Our Six Philosophies make us unique as we start with a youth player and commit to creating a safe, fun, fair environment to include children no matter their social, economic or personal physical skill level.

AYSO is unique among youth sports organizations by putting program operations in the hands of the local volunteers.  We are the only soccer program provider that offers training for coaches, referees and league administrators.

Can you tell me a little more about AYSO’s Safe Haven?

Hoyer: AYSO’s Safe Haven® program is designed to address the growing need for Child and Volunteer Protection in youth sports. The components of the program help create a safe, fun, fair and positive environment – “safe haven” – for all our participants.

AYSO requires all volunteers to complete a volunteer application every year and agree to background investigations. References are checked for brand new volunteers and every volunteer is subject to screening for sex offender registration and criminal convictions according to AYSO’s National Criminal Background Check Policy.

Adult participation in youth activities has requirements that vary from state to state.  More than half the states have mandated concussion awareness training offered by the Centers for Disease Control.  There are some states that now also require sudden cardiac awareness training that includes fines and penalties for noncompliance.

Do you have any partnerships?

Hoyer: AYSO has a variety partners that serve as sponsors, licensees and program partners to support our Organization.  We have strategic partnerships to promote program offerings.  The latter operates via local community organizations, usually nonprofits, that have core values similar to AYSO and align with our vision to enrich the lives of children through the power of play and team sports.

What overall trends are you seeing in youth soccer?

Hoyer: There has never been more focus on youth soccer as there is now.  Since the US Men’s National Team failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup after participating in each one since 1990 has raised the water cooler conversations and exploded on social media.  Much of the discussion supposes that this level of play and the leadership of US Soccer is the whole iceberg of the issue.

We see various organizations and associations seeking to engage parents in the value of physical activity through sports.  The SFIA with its programs is one example.

The Aspen Institute, Changing the Game Project, the Positive Coaching Alliance, SoccerParenting.com, AYSO and other US Soccer youth soccer member associations all seek to raise awareness of youth sport and soccer development arcs.  Competition is a valuable teacher after the lessons of training, teamwork, respect for officials, and a love of the game are developed and instilled in the participants.  We all seek to have messaging and engagement with parents to set expectations for children.

One of the catch phrases that has risen to prominence in youth soccer is the “pay to play model.”  Many try to compare the US with other countries for our game.  The US is different in that a club can’t put a youth player under contract at the young ages as occurs in many other countries.   There are plenty of costs of facilities and direct costs for a player, (e.g. insurance and general liability) that are different than other countries.  Perhaps the phrase should be focused on the value of what to pay for a program.  There are soccer clubs where nine year olds’ parents will spend $5,000 to $8,000 per year.

There is also more focus on under-served communities.  The US Soccer Foundation has pivoted to creating soccer play facilities of all types, including partnerships with major corporate donors.  The key challenge is providing sustainable programming that also addresses the access for these kids.

How can people get more involved in AYSO? Are there volunteer opportunities?

Hoyer: AYSO has opportunities to volunteer in dozens of different positions at different levels within the Organization within basic categories of coach, referee or management.  We also have working groups, task forces and committees that are specific to a volunteer’s experience or professional expertise.  For example, we have groups built on those with career experience in marketing, public relations, finance, auditing, mediation and other to lend their time on a case-by-case or task basis.

Volunteers may contact their local Region (league) or contact AYSO at 800-USA-AYSO.

Has AYSO produced any famous Soccer players?

Hoyer: Five of the women that started the World Cup final in 2015 played in AYSO, including Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz.  Carlos Bocanegra, Landon Donovan and Eric Wynalda played AYSO and represented the United States and played in World Cups.  We certainly enjoy celebrating their successes and appreciate the support that they and others that have reached the professional and national team level have provided.

Where do you see your company in 5 years?

Hoyer: AYSO will be a leader in providing youth soccer programs for all families built on community engagement and industry leading training for coaches, referees, and league administrators built on our Six Philosophies and delivers on being child-centric.

SFIA Member Spotlight – Ready Set Rocket

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Ready Set Rocket explains their integrative, data-driven approach to the future of a truly connected fan experience.

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Aaron Harvey, Founder & ECD

What is Ready Set Rocket?

Ready Set Rocket is an integrated agency based in New York City. We work with leading companies in sports, entertainment and retail, helping them leverage data to inspire creative ways to connect the fan/customer experience.

What is the creative process for a digital campaign?

Whether it’s campaign or product work, we align our vision with the greater purpose and value of the brand. What problem are we trying to solve? Does this put out a fire for our audience? Can we truly own this message or experience in an authentic way? Once we have our north star, we spend time in the numbers. We look for ways that data can inform creative solutions. From there, we build out messaging or product platforms. Once live, we focus on scaling and optimizing the experience against a set of KPIs.

How do you engage your client’s audiences?

In two ways. One, we assess analytics and data benchmarks to identify opportunities to fill a need, or enhance an experience. Two, we perform qualitative analysis via focus groups, surveys, sentiment analysis, user testing, competitive benchmarking. The goal of this process is to land on a key insight that inspires the work, as well as a tactical set of opportunities to differentiate the solution from the competition. We also solicit audience feedback at key points in the production process, and adopt a user feedback loop once the work is live.

How big are these companies that you are working with?

As a small independent agency, we are very fortunate to be working with two leading sports leagues in the U.S., as well as Univision Communications Inc. We have designed international platforms including league apps, stats and connected devices like Apple Watch, as well as corporate platforms for Social Responsibility and Recruitment. Ultimately, our goal is to connect a strong creative insight with growth in fan/subscription acquisition and retention.

What makes Ready Set Rocket stand out?

We’ve differentiated ourselves by focusing on the connected experience. The current fan experience is extremely fragmented. There are countless ways to engage with leagues, teams and players via social platforms and digital channels. Where we excel is in understanding the role of each touchpoint in context of the greater fan experience.

What are some common platforms that you are actively using?

Generally speaking, we try to stay as platform agnostic as possible. We first develop our strategic goals, and then assess which platforms best align with those goals, whether that’s CMS, CRM, analytics, testing or other platforms.

What are some trends you are seeing today in the sports market?

While the commoditization of information and technology has fueled fan engagement, it also complicates efforts to own the fan experience. Looking for storylines? Social. Gossip? Reddit. Stats? Independent websites. Standings and news? Google and other aggregators. This experience will only continue to fragment. So it’s critical that leagues and teams pinpoint the most indispensable value they can offer. This likely brings the focus back to the main product — the sport. Live streaming, OTT subscription models, propriety realtime highlight engines and exclusive behind-the-scenes content that connects players and teams to culture makers and influential brands. And even with that focus, leagues and teams must figure out the best way to deliver the optimal game experience domestically and internationally — full games? condensed games? AI-driven or manually edited game highlights? no spoilers options for time shifted fans? As well as what APIs they should open up to the broader community to fuel independent creativity centered around their leagues. This exploration is well underway and will only intensify.

Where do you see Ready Set Rocket in 5 years?

In five years, I see us being able to fulfill on the promise of creating truly connected fan experiences. Advances in technology, open APIs and portable data are going to make the difference. We hope to be seen as an industry leader for both major leagues and challengers alike.

 

SFIA Member Spotlight – Notogroup

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Notogroup explains their recruiting process and B-Corp Certification, and how it makes them stand out from the rest when helping businesses succeed.

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Roy Notowitz, Founder & President // Gennevieve Emery, Partner & VP Recruiting // Candie Fisher, Partner & VP of Client Engagement

What is Notogroup?

Notogroup is an executive search and talent consulting firm specializing in consumer products and retail.  Our key focus is Director, VP and C-Level roles across functions in the health and wellness space, including sporting goods, active performance, outdoor and natural products.  We are a B Corporation, and our mission is to work with companies that offer great cultures, authentic leadership and meaningful career opportunities.

Can you tell me about the process of recruiting?

Recruiting can seem deceptively easy on the surface, but doing it well requires a unique ability to concurrently compel candidates to consider an opportunity while also critically evaluating their potential to perform in the role.

Our team brings diverse business experience from a variety of corporate and brand perspectives. When we engage with a client, we have specific deliverables throughout the process that include: Success Profiles, Position Marketing Assets, Targeted Research Strategies, Interview Guides, Evaluations, and Feedback Tools.

We often cultivate a network of over 400+ contacts to generate enough interest in a role for us to be highly selective. Recruiting is a process, not an event. It is a balance between art and a science.

How do you determine the talent needed in alignment with the ethos wanted?

The first step is to get to know the client, their goals and their culture.  What are they looking for beyond just the job description?  We conduct a highly detailed requirements gathering process with the client, often visiting their location to get the best sense of the ethos of the organization.  We clearly articulate this in the position overview sent to potential candidates, then use a multi-faceted assessment process to collect several data points around their functional and cultural fit for the role.  We use competency-based interviewing, realistic job previews/projects, leadership assessments and other tools to gain a well-rounded perspective of the candidates’ potential for the role.

On average, how many positions do you help fill each year? What is the breakdown (executive, management, entry level, etc.)?

The majority of the roles we fill are Director, VP and C level.  We work across all functions, including Product Creation/Innovation, Marketing and Ecommerce, Sales, Finance, Operations and Human Resources.

How large is your recruiting team?

Our team is just the right size to provide access to world-class resources and process, while delivering highly custom service levels.  We currently have eight people, including three Partners, recruiters, researchers and support, with offices in Portland, OR and Boulder, CO.

What makes your company stand out?

Clients repeatedly say that we take a personal interest in their success and that it shows in our level of service, attention to detail, and efficiency.  We get to know the client beyond the scope of the job description and become a partner in helping them grow their business.  We are immersed in the industries that we serve through active participation in associations, like SFIA, tradeshows and events.  And we have the ability to ”cross-pollinate” between multiple industry sectors.  Above all, we are fortunate to work with amazing clients, from established brands like Amer Sports and Brooks, to growing businesses like arena Swimwear and XTERRA Global.

Being a certified B-Corporation, how is Notogroup having a positive impact?

In addition to working with other mission-based organizations and B Corps, like Patagonia and New Seasons Market, we model our values internally and externally.  Our employees volunteer their time with organizations like Conservation Alliance and Meals on Wheels.  As a firm, we provide an annual pro-bono executive-level search to a non-profit each year.  We donate 1% of revenue to environmental, and social causes, and match employee donations as well.

What are some overall trends you are seeing in the market?

In active performance and sporting goods, we are seeing an increase in the demand for ecommerce, performance marketing and analytics leaders.  Many brands that have long been reliant on wholesale distribution are now putting additional resources into creating a direct connection with their customers, engaging consumers and driving sales through their own ecommerce platforms.

Do you see any areas of growth?

We see continued growth in the model of experiential retail.  The companies that are best engaging with their customers at retail are providing unique experiences, service and events to attract consumers to their brands.  We also see the mission-based/B Corporation model continuing to flourish.  Consumers are attracted to brands with a compelling story, and this increasingly includes a model of giving back to the world.

Where do you see Notogroup in 5 years?

We will always continue to be focused on our mission of working with amazing, culture driven brands.  As the marketplace evolves, we will serve our clients to bring them the critical talent needed to grow and evolve their businesses.  This could mean executive search or continued expansion of our recruitment process outsourcing service, Source, which provides adjunct recruiting resources for individual contributor and manager-level roles.  We also see continued expansion of our talent consulting, from compensation benchmarking to organizational development expertise.

Can you provide any client testimonials?

We have a couple of videos with client testimonials:

http://www.notogroup.com/notogroup-helps-hydro-flask-build-leadership-team/

http://www.notogroup.com/working-notogroup-executive-search/

SFIA Member Spotlight – Black Box

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Black Box talks virtual reality, fitness and how their product is unlike any other.

Ryan DeLuca, Co-Founder & CEO // Preston Lewis, Co-Founder & COO

What is Black Box?

Lewis: Black Box combines the addictive qualities of gaming and the power of immersive technologies with a patent-pending dynamic resistance machine to improve your fitness level and transform your life.

When was Black Box founded?

Lewis: In April 2016.

What inspired the creation of Black Box?

Lewis: My co-founder and I have been in the Health and Fitness Industry for 15 plus years. With our passion for changing lives, we created award-winning health and fitness apps, built the world’s largest social fitness network, and delivered world-class content to millions of people. Along the way, we were blessed to see many lives changed and incredible transformations take place. But no matter how many innovative tools we created, we still saw a glaring problem. We continued to see the majority of our users struggling with long-term adherence to their fitness programs. To be fair, our bodies literally fight against us as we try to stick to our fitness goals. They are programmed to be efficient with calories and induce pain when we are pushing too hard. On top of that, working out is immediate pain and delayed reward; it lacks the feedback loops that are needed to encourage follow-through. Not to mention the boredom! You stand there in the traditional gym, looking in the mirror, doing rep after rep, bored out of your mind. Contrast that with game design. Game designers have figured out how to keep people unhealthily addicted to games where they are effectively leveling up their game characters but leveling down their actual lives, as they remain glued to the couch with Cheetos dust on their shirts. If only you could actually be the hero in a game that leveled up your life. Enter virtual reality.

After trying virtual reality for the first time, we were blown away. We knew that this powerful technology, when elegantly paired with science-backed resistance training principles and the right game mechanics, would be a game-changer for the industry. It was with this realization that we decided to found Black Box VR. We vowed to create a company that would help our customers transform their lives through addictive fitness experiences that harness the power of immersive technologies. Virtual reality is going to change the world in ways we don’t even know yet and we are confident it is going to transform fitness forever, helping millions of people finally adhere to their fitness programs, achieve their goals and change their lives.

Since founding Black Box, we have built a talented team of seasoned veterans with diverse backgrounds in the game, fitness and hardware industries. We have also received a patent-pending for our Dynamic Resistance Machine that specifically pairs with high-end virtual reality systems to create an immersive workout experience while delivering real fitness results.

Who is your target market?

Lewis: At Black Box, we believe that through innovative engagement mechanics, user personalization, real-time form tracking, coaching AI, game mechanics, deep data analysis and artificial intelligence, we will be able to reach a diverse demographic of people. Our core age group focuses on 25-40 year olds that want to improve their health and fitness, have an affinity for games and want workouts that are data-driven, engaging and time-efficient.

How unique from other virtual reality products?

Lewis: Black Box’s uniqueness comes through the combination of immersive technologies with innovations in hardware and game design. Each element supports another to create a fitness experience like never before. One key differentiator is our patent pending Dynamic Resistance Machine that is specifically designed to deliver real resistance in a virtual environment. Nobody in the market is delivering real resistance that corresponds to an immersive virtual sport like we are. The Dynamic Resistance Machine is mapped in the virtual environment so when you reach out to grab a virtual handle, you are actually grabbing the handle in the real world. You can feel it. We’ve also created wearable devices that give you awareness of hand position without the need to hold a controller.

The Dynamic Resistance Machine calibrates to how tall you are and prescribes resistance based on your goals and fitness level. The machine itself runs through the game engine, so it responds to your gameplay and can change the weight and angles of tension without you ever having to make manual adjustments. This allows you to be fully immersed in the experience, while the number crunching, rep counts, weight counts and form tracking happens behind the scenes. Every successful rep you perform in the game corresponds to some action in the Black Box game, keeping you at the center of the action. The dynamic nature of the machine opens up a vast toolset for us to use in the game to give you the best fitness results. It allows for automatic drop-sets, negative reps, and much more, with the ability to smoothly change the resistance at a .1lb tolerance. This isn’t just a game changer for virtual reality; it’s a technology that is a leap forward for the fitness industry as a whole.

What kind of gear is involved?

Lewis: We use a high-end virtual reality headset, hands-free wearable devices for hand position tracking and our Black Box Dynamic Resistance Machine.

How do you make fitness fun for consumers? Is it a competitive game?

Lewis: The Black Box experience is something we call a V-sport or virtual sport. I’ve been in athletics my entire life and have always enjoyed the thrill of competition. I’ve also had to push through the boring grind of countless gym sessions. With Black Box, we wanted to combine the two, minus the boredom! The great thing about sports is that they have simple rules and yet an infinite amount of variety in experience. This variety comes in the form of training modes, championships, local and national leagues, team mentality and camaraderie, rivalries, inspiring stories of triumph, and more. All of these elements are combined in the Black Box brand and experience. Users take part in a virtual competition where their physical performance determines a victory or defeat. Every action that take, every rep they push in the real world, corresponds to an in-game offensive or defensive attack against an opponent. For example, each successful chest press rep at 100 lbs of resistance might correspond to a level 5 attack on enemy troops. Or each rep of a 150 lb squat could send a flurry of offensive strikes at a competitor’s base. Black Box will take the addictive nature of gaming, combined with real physical performance to usher in a new era of sports and fitness.

Does this product work out a specific muscle or all muscles?

Lewis: We are building science-backed routines that increase the functional fitness of our users. Because the Black Box Dynamic Resistance Machine is cable-based, you can do a wide range of movements that hit all major muscle groups. We have also built in active rest flows that give you the high intensity interval training to provide cardiovascular benefits.

What locations do you currently have? How many Black Box rooms are in each location?

Lewis: Our plan is to open our flagship Black Box Gym in early 2018 in San Francisco, California. Each location will have a minimum of 10 dedicated Black Box rooms.

When do you think you will open up your first Black Box?

Lewis: Our plan is to open our flagship Black Box Gym in early 2018 in San Francisco, California.

Where do you see Black Box in 5 years?

Lewis: In 5 years virtual reality technology will be much more lightweight and it’s proliferation in other industries will have introduced millions to the benefits of the technology. Black Box locations all over the world will allow people to actually enjoy the journey to accomplishing their health and fitness goals. Immersive technologies will drive new ways of creating engaging sports experiences and even usher in a new era of virtual sports. Black Box will lead the virtual sports charge. Those looking to take their fitness to the next level will compete in Black Box virtual sporting events where a mix of in-game skill and physical performance will determine champions and future fitness celebrities.  Innovations in the technology will also drive prices down, allowing Black Box technology to be accessible from the comfort of your own home. We are just getting started!

SFIA Member Spotlight – SquadLocker

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SquadLocker discusses their strategy, and how they capitalize on convenience and customization in the sports apparel industry.

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Todd Grant, President and Co-Founder

What is SquadLocker?

Grant: SquadLocker is a hybrid tech and apparel decorating company.  The company’s digital solutions are the easiest-to-use platform for coaches, youth league administrators, and parents to instantly build gear stores for athletes, coaches and fans.  But, perhaps more importantly, the company has invested millions in technology, processes and equipment to master producing one unit at a time, processing single unit orders from parents in the tens of thousands of stores being set up on the SquadLocker platform.

Why did you build SquadLocker?

Grant: We built it because there are approximately 50 million young athletes in the United States being supported by volunteers, parents and coaches, but there was not a solution for instantly setting up a store for decorated apparel from brands like Nike, Under Armour and Adidas, the brands being demanded by youth athletes, and certainly not one with a no minimum ordering model. Our customers create a profile, select the items they want in their store, upload their logo, and the software automatically builds their custom store that can be shared with their team community. We never have any minimums. We have built a business where we support single unit ordering and mass customization.

For teams that set up stores on your site, how do teams make money?

Grant: We support fundraising for teams.  There’s good work being done by volunteers around the country supporting millions of youth sports programs and often times these programs need funding.  Apparel sales, where parents and fans are ordering spirit wear, is very often a source of fundraising for the program or team. The SquadLocker platform allows the person who created the store to utilize the store to make money on every item sold to the program’s community.  We’re proud that the SquadLocker is not only the most convenient gear store solution, but that the solution we built is a vehicle for giving back to support the great work these programs are doing for young athletes.

What sets SquadLocker apart from other team apparel decorators?

Grant: We are the only company that has the Instant StoreBuilder combined with backend apparel decorating and fulfillment operation that is executing mass customization at scale.  We’re transforming how the market has to order.  No more bulk orders, no ordering windows or batching, just processing each order as it’s received one unit at a time, custom decorated with a team logo and personalized with player names & #s. So we are a combination of a modernized equity funded technology company with dozens of software engineers working on our platform and the innovations we’ve conceived and deployed to efficiently produce apparel for athletes.  Another differentiator is the quality of the company’s print quality; led by a textile engineer, SquadLocker’s founder and CEO Gary Goldberg, is innovating the use of the newest materials and apparel decorating innovations to produce printed athletic apparel that is the softest, most stretchable and most durable in the industry.

How many teams are currently on your site?

Grant: Tens of thousands every year.  We expect hundreds of thousands of teams will be using our platform in the years to come.  Teams are finding us through word of mouth, but we’re also connected to league software platforms such as SportsEngine, a NBC Sports Company, and SI Play, a Time, Inc. subsidiary where we have gained access to hundreds of thousands of youth sports programs and millions of athletes.

What is your biggest age group? Youth, high school or adult sports?

Grant: I’s a split. As mentioned, we have some significant multiyear exclusive partnerships with brands like Sports Illustrated Play, SportsEngine, USA Football and dozens of other companies that provide access to the youth sports market. That being said, we have a very large segments of customers in the high school market as well as from teams and clubs at D2 and D3 colleges. Additionally, the adult rec market, the largest segment of athletes in the US is utilizing our service.

Is it only based in the US?

Grant: We are shipping to parents in the US and Canada currently, but there are strategic plans for providing the SquadLocker user experience to athletes, coaches and club organizers everywhere.

What are some overall trends in the market?

Grant: We are allowing anyone that’s affiliated with the team or organization to have access to the store building and gear management – supporting an online solution for direct to consumer and giving all consumers the ability to build stores.  This aligns with the very clear trends to support the consumer directly, led by the leading companies in our industry such as Nike, Under Armour and Adidas.

Do you see any areas of growth for your company?

Grant: Absolutely. We are operating in a market that is supported that is by 12 to 15 thousand hyper-regional sole proprietors as well as some large companies that are team dealers for Nike and Under Armour. It’s a multi-billion dollar market in the United States. So we are acquiring business from all over the country and are growing very fast as a result of the ease of use of our platform and the product quality innovations we have deployed.

Where do you see your company in 5 years?

Grant: Significantly larger and continuing to be a leader in the market of providing the easiest to use platform for managing team gear. For all of what we have accomplished in less than two years, I think that we will have a more robust user experience and functionality in the years to come. We will likely have dozens more partnerships, more innovations & tools, more sales and more capacity to support the growth. We’ll definitely have multiple decorating and fulfillment sites throughout the US and be global as well, having future plans in Europe, Asia, and Australia.