By Abigail LePeilbet-Press Release Reprinted with Permission of Women's Professional Soccer
Three WPS players chime in on the growing professional sports trend, Twitter,
These days, everyone is all a—Twitter about Twitter.
In just the past few months, Twitter has become the hot new media platform to link professional athletes directly to their fans.
By receiving messages from athletes on their computers and directly as text messages to their phones, over 800,000 fans are following NBA players like Shaquille O’Neal or legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Followers of professional players’ “tweets” are allured by the behind-the-scenes access to an athlete’s every move.
Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) has been ahead of the trend, integrating the communication tool into the league site and it's grassroots approach as much as possible.
Over 20 WPS players are officially tweeting, giving fans a new take on their daily lives, including one trio of English internationals.
Alex Scott, Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers), and Karen Carney (Chicago Red Stars) are regularly tweeting, giving Twitter followers bouts of friendly banter each day about their training, the league, and most recently the Chicago Red Stars thrashing of the Boston Breakers.
Smith tweeted, “finally back to Boston after a dreadful performance v. Chicago.”
Scott posted, “still hurting from getting beat 4-0, a game to forget, good goal Karen, will see you for a rematch soon, hehe.”
Fans also got an update from Karen about Chicago’s bye week, “On my way to training…no game this week = running.”
However, these three players are not about to stream live status updates during a match—they say that, for them, it can be a distraction. But they do see the value of forming a unique connection with the league’s fans.
“I think I heard about Twitter on TV and was curious as to what it was,” said Boston defender Scott.
“Since I signed up it has now become an everyday habit for me to go on there and update what I am doing, to talk or have some banter with Karen Carney.”
Scott, Smith and Carney have a combined total of 412 followers on Twitter.
Los Angeles Sol midfielder Aly Wagner has over 600 followers on Twitter and WPS has nearly 4,000 followers, numbers that rise daily. The WPS website also lists several other players Twitter accounts for fans to connect to.
Twitter updates, Scott says, give fans fresh insight into what players are doing on and off the field and an opportunity to learn more about the players; Carney agrees saying the more exposure the players and their teams get, the better for the league.
On the flip side, some critics and media columnists contend that Twitter could interfere with game day focus and preparation if players do it too much.
WPS allowed players, Aly Wagner and Kati Jo Spisak, to Twitter during the WPS Inaugural Match on March 29. These player tweets contributed to the historic moment of the opening game.
And now, during the season, fans can view live game updates on each of the seven WPS teams Twitter pages as most teams also send live in game texts to wanting recipients.
While the status updates are a cost effective way for the league to disseminate minute by minute messages, the greater effect is generating relationships and a direct connection with WPS supporters and fans.
Twitter takes out the middleman and allows players, coaches and even team owners/staffers to issue their own play by play out to curious followers.
Now that’s something to Tweet about.
League & Teams
Women's Professional Soccer—twitter.com/womensprosoccer
Chicago Red Stars—twitter.com/chicagoredstars
FC Gold Pride (Bay Area)—twitter.com/fcgoldpride
Los Angeles Sol—twitter.com/losangelessol
Saint Louis Athletica—twitter.com/athleticasoccer
Sky Blue FC—twitter.com/skybluefc
Kelly Smith, Boston Breakers—twitter.com/kjs8eng
Alex Scott, Boston Breakers—twitter.com/alexscott2
Alli Lipsher, Boston Breakers—twitter.com/alipsher
Aly Wagner, Los Angeles Sol—twitter.com/alywagner
Kendall Fletcher, Los Angeles Sol—twitter.com/kendallfletcher
Val Henderson, Los Angeles Sol—twitter.com/valhenderson
Liz Bogus, Los Angeles Sol—twitter.com/TeddyRoxy
Ella Masar, Chicago Red Stars—twitter.com/emasar3
Natalie Spilger, Chicago Red Stars—twitter.com/nspilger
Lindsay Tarpley, Chicago Red Stars—twitter.com/lindsaytarpley
Danesha Adams, Chicago Red Stars—twitter.com/daadams9
Megan Rapinoe, Chicago Red Stars—twitter.com/pinoe
Nikki Krzysik, Chicago Red Stars—twitter.com/krz23
Brittany Klein, Chicago Red Stars—twitter.com/britklein
Natalie Spilger, Chicago Red Stars—twitter.com/nspilger
Cat Whitehill, Washington Freedom—twitter.com/CatWhitehill4
Kati Jo Spisak, Washington Freedom—twitter.com/kjspisak
Karen Bardsley, Sky Blue FC—twitter.com/klbardsley
Brandi Chastain, FC Gold Pride—twitter.com/brandichastain
FC Gold Pride Team—twitter.com/FCGoldPrideTeam
Tony DiCicco, Boston Breakers Head Coach—twitter.com/tonysocc
Lisa Cole, Boston Breakers Assistant Coach—twitter.com/lcole22
Emma Hayes, Chicago Red Stars Head Coach—twitter.com/emmahayes1
Nate Kipp, Chicago Red Stars Assistant Coach—twitter.com/nathankipp
Paul Blodgett, Sky Blue FC Goalkeeper Coach—twitter.com/pblodgett
League/Team Executives & WPS Staff
Tonya Antonucci, WPS Commissioner—twitter.com/wpscommissioner
Mary Harvey, WPS Chief Operating Officer—twitter.com/wpscoo
Vicki Veenker, WPS General Council—twitter.com/wpsgencouncil
Joe Cummings, Boston Breakers General Manager—twitter.com/breakersgm
Peter Wilt, Chicago Red Stars President—twitter.com/redstarsceo
Marcia McDermott, Chicago Red Stars General Manager—twitter.com/mmcd21
Ilisa Kessler, FC Gold Pride General Manager—twitter.com/fcgoldpridegm
Charlie Naimo, LA Sol General Manager—twitter.com/lasolgm
Rachel Epstein, WPS Director of Marketing—twitter.com/rachelepstein
Rob Penner, WPS Director of Public Relations—twitter.com/rdpenner
Karyn Lush, WPS Head of New Media—twitter.com/klush17
Aaron Burch, WPS Operations and Grassroots Marketing—twitter.com/kidburch
Jill Coy, WPS Marketing Manager—twitter.com/JillianWPS
Amanda Vandervort, WPS Web Coordinator—twitter.com/vandey01
Photo Credit Above: John Todd/ISIPhotos.com/WPS