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Free team websites offered to every high school in the U.SSpecial Advertising Feature
© September 2006
Communication is the Key
A TeamAssist website acts as a communication platform; posting messages, notifying players and parents about important information, and providing email distribution to any grouping of members. It’s a timesaving tool you’ll wish you had years ago.
Bob Keith, who served for nine years as head coach of Scarsdale High School and is now football advisor to Varsity Networks, helped develop the TeamAssist program as a way to streamline a coach’s day-to-day communication responsibilities. “I was constantly facing small hurdles in administrative tasks from collecting player emails to communicating with parents about what their expectations for their kids should be,” recalls Keith. “With TeamAssist, the coach has a message board right on the home page. He can instantly change information such as practice schedules, weight training or meeting times for players and their parents.”
Motivation Means Peak Performance
You might not consider a website to be a motivational tool for your players, but David Falco, head coach at Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma NY, knows that his program’s TeamAssist website, sachemfootball.com, gets his players pumped up about the upcoming season. Coach Falco posts photos of every game, team practices, and the TD Club Dinner award winners and he regularly selects the “Player of the Week” and “Player of the Game” who are recognized on the site. Sprinkled in are motivational quotes provided by TeamAssist from legends such as Knute Rockne and Vince Lombardi. “The kids go to the site to see their photos and articles about themselves,” Falco told AFM. “While they’re there, I use the opportunity to motivate them and, I hope, inspire them to be part of the proud football tradition we have here at Sachem.”
In addition, TeamAssist sites let every high school program gain national recognition and the attention of college coaches, who can get information about potential recruits, according to Trepeta. “Every high school site is part of usfootballnet.com, and our goal is to make usfootballnet.com the premier football network for coaches in the country. College coaches can learn about players they otherwise may never have known. If we’ve helped that process along we know we’ve performed a valuable service.”
Getting Alumni Involved
Bringing alumni from previous teams together can foster communication and be an important fundraising tool. Every TeamAssist site allows former players to register, provide photos and network with each other. Coach Becerra’s Pleasantville site (pleasantvillefootball.com), for example, has over 150 former players and coaches registered representing nearly every team since 1950 with team photos from as far back as 1927. “It’s a great way to promote the football program and tie everything together, past and present.”
Bob Keith knows from personal experience how enthusiastic alumni have been about Scarsdale’s TeamAssist site, where 250 players and coaches have registered. “What has happened is that alumni have started to network. They say they’ve reached out to fellow alumni with private business needs. We put together an annual golf outing for Scarsdale High football alumni as a fundraiser, and we had over 100 people come. No paper was sent out.” Paul Bauersfeld concurs. “The ability to get alumni involved has become one of the most popular features of the websites.”.”
Speaking of Fundraising
TeamAssist provides opportunities to generate revenue. Varsity Networks is currently working on a number of fundraising tools that will directly support your football program. Sachem’s David Falco sees his site as a potential sponsorship venue for local business supporters. “It’s a great way for business owners to reach the players, parents and alumni that use the site.” To help this process along, Varsity Networks will be adding an automated online Sponsor Directory, which will allow local community members and merchants to sponsor a program directly on the team's website.
TeamAssist Pro, an upgraded version, currently helps teams manage their own “Team Store” where custom team logo merchandise can be marketed with funds going directly to the football program. In Sachem’s store, for example, visitors can purchase Sachem Football apparel and caps, buy engraved bricks in the Alumni Walk section of the stadium and even get video or film highlights of their playing days at Sachem transferred to DVD. In addition, players, fans and supporters can purchase any of the over 1000 photos posted on the website either as prints, poster-size enlargements or as part of custom mugs, mousepads and other products. Varsity Networks, in a partnership with BrightRoom, offers a variety of photo products using the BackPrint service.
Upgrades Deliver More Features
Free TeamAssist websites are available to every high school football program in the nation. Once you have experienced the features of TeamAssist and seen the interest it can generate in your football community, you may decide to upgrade the service to the enhanced TeamAssist Pro version. “We recommend that coaches sign up for the free site and start there”, said Varsity Networks’ Trepeta. “If you you’re not sure about managing the site yourself or if you simply don’t have the time, we suggest you recruit a parent, student or other volunteer to be your site administrator. Once your site is established, you can choose to upgrade to TeamAssist Pro and have far greater capabilities and services.” The upgraded version includes:
· Your own unique web address
· Enhanced email capability
· Unlimited photo uploads
· Music and video capabilities
· Custom graphics
· Your personal team store
· Fundraising programs…and more
The cost to upgrade to TeamAssist Pro is only $250 per year and, according to Trepeta, “In most cases the proceeds from the store alone more than cover the cost to upgrade.” In addition, all AFM Subscribers receive a $50 discount on an upgrade to TeamAssist Pro. AFM subscribers can claim their discount directly through the TeamAssist link on americanfootballmonthly.com. “We’re very pleased to be able to offer this discount to AFM subscribers,” said Travis Davis, AFM Publisher. “The TeamAssist program is very impressive, and the idea of high school teams having their own, professionally-managed websites is one that we think is overdue.”
Yes, the time may be right for your program to enter the age of the Internet. Visit usfootballnet.com, check out your team site and see for yourself how easy it can be.
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