In a number of U.S. professional sports leagues, particularly Major League Soccer (MLS), new franchises are prioritising player care and heavily investing in player engagement platform Teamworks multiple seasons in advance of their MLS debut.
Player care has been a focal point for professional sports organisations globally as they recognise the importance and value of supporting elite athletes both on and off the pitch.
Teamworks, which provides the premium player experience by centralising communication and internal operations for teams, expects these investments to continue as the COVID-19 pandemic persists and players and staff fluctuate between remote and in-person operations.
Averaging the addition of at least one new franchise a season since 2017, MLS has remained the United States’ fastest growing professional sports league for more than a decade.
From the 2020 season through 2022, four new franchises will have joined the league - Inter Miami CF, Nashville SC, Austin FC and Charlotte FC. The common denominator between clubs? All four franchises invested in Teamworks ahead of their MLS debut in order to prioritise player care and build a foundation of seamless communication and strong engagement between players, coaches and staff.
Three-time MLS Cup winner and Inter Miami defender A.J. DeLaGarza spoke on his experience using the app during the club’s first season saying, “I love Teamworks for the transparency it gives me. With Teamworks, I see my training schedule for the next few days or weeks as well as planned trips or competitions months in advance. Teamworks makes the experience easier and more convenient for the athlete by providing critical details and times directly in the mobile app so I know what’s expected of me each day and never show up to training unprepared.”
As the MLS clubs hire staff and build rosters from scratch, the new franchises seek to establish innovative and streamlined processes for everything from player onboarding and paperwork to transitioning players across teams within the Academy system. When the clubs are operating at full speed, a player engagement platform then alleviates the barrage of information making its way to the athletes giving them one source of truth to reference for the most up-to-date information regarding the club and training. Once they are given a Teamworks account, players don’t have to spend time tracking information down and can quickly get up to speed and integrated into the team’s culture.
In reference to how Charlotte FC is establishing player care procedures, Sporting Director Zoran Krneta said, “The most critical aspect of an effective player engagement app is seamless, consistent communication and a sense of togetherness. We chose to invest in Teamworks not only for our first team but also academy-wide to put every player, coach, staffer and even parents on the mobile app so we are ensured speed and accuracy in our organisation’s communication. From the top down, we are creating one cohesive energy that reduces outside noise and anxieties so players remain focused and distraction-free.”
With circumstances surrounding sports still changing frequently, clubs need to remain agile and flexible to the current environment. Investing in technology early and establishing consistent communication from the outset, creates a sense of security and peace of mind throughout the organisation. With a player app and a strong team culture in place, breakdowns in communication are prevented from occurring when the unthinkable or unexpected happens.
As Austin FC prepares for their 2021 MLS debut, Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said, “Teamworks is extremely effective in simplifying the logistics, coordination and critical communication of our team into one app. The app enhances our first team players’ experience, eliminating redundancies and giving each individual a centralised location to check their schedules and see all pertinent training information. With Teamworks, we have been able to answer questions for players and staff before they even have to ask. This has proven to be especially critical this last year as we have remained nimble to the fluctuating environment.”