While the General Managers in the Women's Professional Soccer league are busily preparing their long list of needs and wants for the upcoming season, Bleacher Report Community Leader Todd Civin is preparing a list of a much different kind.
Since the birth of the WPS, Civin has worked diligently to build a staff of top-rated citizen journalists to work hand in hand with the league in order to promote and present the fast-paced and exciting WPS product.
From the onset, both Bleacher Report and the league's media department have worked diligently to provide soccer fans with up to the minute, creative, and well-crafted features to further the growth of the league.
"We currently have dedicated beat writers for six of the nine teams," explains Civin, who covers the Boston Breakers, in addition to working as the liaison between the WPS and BR. "While Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia, and Sky-Blue (NY/NJ) have dedicated writers, we continue to look for talented journalists to cover Atlanta, St. Louis, and FC Gold."
Rob Penner, the Director of Communications for the WPS, has been a supporter of the relationship since the league formed last year and has been instrumental in granting accessibility for the BR bloggers.
Penner explains, "WPS is a grassroots league, so we support grassroots writers and we welcome amateur journalists from established sites, as long as it [their writing] is responsible and accurate."
Penner, who is a long-time sports media and marketing veteran who has worked with the ATP, the U.S. Open, and NBC, as well as with Puma, and is a founding partner of the WPS, added, "The two most important aspects of a WPS writer for Bleacher Report is passion for the game and WPS, and an ability to convey that passion and stories in cogent writing to fans."
The writers, who all are volunteer journalists with a love of the sport and the craft, are hand selected by Civin and the other beat writers by submitting writing samples and a brief resume and personal bio. If selected, they are then credentialed by the individual teams, which allows them admission to the game, press box access, and post game, on-field access to the team.
"Any writer, regardless of experience, can write stories about the WPS. This is what citizen journalism is all about," explains Civin. "However, we are looking for are the cream of the crop; soccer writers who are willing and able to forge a personal relationship with the team, their players, and the league's media departments to present the WPS in a close-up and personal way."
Penner added, "As print media continues to cut back and lose editorial space, we continue looking for new ways to increase WPS content for fans. One way is to promote the stories, opinions, and columns being done on Bleacher Report or other online sites who are interested."
Current Bleacher Report beat writers and their teams include Jo-Ryan Salazar (Los Angeles Sol), John Howell (Chicago Red Star), Kat Galsim (Washington Freedom), Lauren Green (Sky Blue FC), Phil Andrews (Philadelphia Independence), and Civin (Boston Breakers). Green and Galsim are currently doing feature work on an interim basis for the remaining three clubs until dedicated beat writers are found.
Laura Kozak and Shobha Kondragunta submit quality feature stories on the league as time allows, and are active contributors to the WPS media family.
If you would like to become a WPS beat writer for the Atlanta Beat, St. Louis Athletica, or FC Gold Pride and can attend a minimum of 60 percent of the home games, please submit your bio, resume, and a minimum of two writing samples to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Todd Civin is a freelance writer who writes for Bleacher Report , Sports, Then and Now , and Seamheads . He is a supporter of A Glove of Their Own , the award-winning children’s story that teaches paying it forward through sports. He is available for hire by writing to email@example.com.