Monday, August 6, 2012

You can't fail with "Dream"

About 5 years ago while I was with MLS we came up with this idea for a reality TV show called Sueno MLS (MLS Dream). The premise was to identify the best undiscovered Hispanic soccer player in the US and give him the opportunity to play on an MLS club.  Thankfully, the entire team who was working on the project agreed to ensure the program focused on finding talent first and marketing second.  Inside of doing this, Sueno MLS become a massive success the first year and we were able to discover a player named Jorge Flores who is now a consistent starter for Chivas USA and who has went on to represent the US National Team multiple times at the youth level.  Sueno MLS is now in its 6th season and continues to find quality talent in the US while being watched by millions of viewers around the world.  Since that program, I’ve fallen in love with tying the concept of “Dream” into grassroot football programs and have always explored new ways to do so. Thanks to Panasonic India, I finally got my chance.

A few months ago, we were hired by Panasonic to conceptualize and execute a program which uses the company’s association with the Indian national team to benefit youth footballers in India. Once we were given our task, all I could hear was the word “dream” echoing throughout my head.  I was worried that my colleagues would laugh when I shared my fascination with the word “dream.” Boy was I wrong. They completely supported my fascination with “dreams” and, similar to my team in the US, they wanted to ensure the program focused on benefiting the game as much as possible. 

We put together the concept for the concept for the “Panasonic Dream Camp” which provides the opportunity for the best Indian players from Shillong, Meghalaya (northeast India) to train, interact and live with Indian national team coaches and players.  The objective is to have these aspiring national team players learn what it takes on and off the pitch to reach their full potential and represent India at the international stage.

Panasonic approved the concept and the LSI team put together a fantastic program with the support of Panasonic, AIFF and the Meghalaya State Association. All stakeholders had a great experience and the only feedback was that the camps should be longer and that there should be more Panasonic Dream Camps hosted around the country.  Here is a link to a video recap of the camp: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N4oVwc3-Yw

Professionally, this was a great event for Libero Sports India and personally it warms my heart that I was finally able to create another “dream” event.  This whole experience validated the following for me:
1.       If you create football marketing programs putting football first, then there is a good chance that it will be a success
2.       When creating programs, first try to define a need in the target market and then create a program which directly addresses that need
3.       Never stop dreaming and helping other people’s dreams come true

Here are some pictures from the event:





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