This week our General Manager John Doyle, Technical Director Chris Leitch, and I traveled to the UK for the annual Soccerex conference, as well as to meet with a variety of Premier League clubs. The trip is an important step in our continued development of the soccer operations side of the business.
The conference is an opportunity for the top leaders in soccer to meet and share best practices. Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber spoke on the growth of soccer in the United States. There were panels on sports performance, team culture, and youth development. I was on a panel on the “Evolution of the Stadium Experience” that examined trends in sporting venues and our approach at Avaya Stadium. I was honored to be joined by John Rhodes from HOK to discuss this engaging topic.
We will also be visiting with Manchester City and Manchester United. We will see their facilities including their academy complexes as we evaluate additional investments at the youth and academy level for the Quakes. This time is also a great opportunity to start planning for next summer’s friendly matches as the personal relationships with the clubs go a long way in securing the top-tier clubs visits, not only for a match, but for training at Avaya Stadium as well. Our successful hosting of Manchester United this year will go a long way in developing a lasting pipeline of European clubs that want to hold preseason training in San Jose.
Another critical part of the trip will be meeting with agents and discussing the next transfer window. It is imperative to identify players now for the January window. This will drive our discovery list for the League, who we draft and acquire domestically, and how the current roster continues to be developed. Furthermore, it will set the schedule for the remaining fall international scouting in Europe, Africa, and Central and South America. We are hiring a Scouting Coordinator and the trip will help identify possible candidates with the right mix of international and player-acquisition experience.
Finally, we had the opportunity to see the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team play Qatar at Giggs Lane in Bury. Quakes midfielder and Sunnyvale native Marc Pelosi got the start in the team’s 2-0 win. It was great to see Marc’s success at the international level.