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Ronald J. Socash@rjsocash

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What: Manchester City has released an interactive online game called “Football Striker,” available exclusively through Facebook Messenger.
Why it matters: Many games have grown in popularity as the use of Facebook Messenger increases, leading to Manchester City deciding to enter the arena.

Manchester City has released an interactive online game called “Football Striker”. The game, available exclusively through Facebook Messenger, gives the club a unique vantage point to interact with fans.

Manchester City is using “Football Striker” in a way where fans can play against each other on their Facebook Profiles. Facebook Messenger is an adjacent property of Facebook that houses all direct messages between profiles. Through the application, users can play a variety of games. Many of these games have grown in popularity as the use of Facebook Messenger increases, leading to Manchester City deciding to enter the arena.

Additionally, fans and players of the game can share their high scores directly to their profile. Because the game is housed through Facebook, the connectivity between the game and the social media site is very strong. Manchester City could reap in the benefits of creating a community of users and fans that all enjoy their team and the online game. Additionally, users on the Messenger App can send an invite to another user in almost no time. This makes sharing the game very easy, and will help it gain traction quickly. In the near future, we could see other clubs use their example as a reason to break into the online game arena.

Because the game is housed through Facebook, the connectivity between the game and the social media site is very strong.

Social Media Connectivity 

When I played the game, I found it almost addicting. The goal of the game is to head or kick the ball with a player who is running forward. Once the ball reaches a small zone next to your player, you then hit the blast the ball away. The game is quick, fun, and gets harder as you go. I thought that it was easy to use on both mobile devices and laptops. Anyone can play the game at anytime on their phone with just a few taps. As a result, the game is accessible, easy to use, and helps keep players engaged over time.

In terms of producing the game, Gamee, a social media gaming platform, partnered with Manchester City to release the game earlier this month. Gamee is also going to benefit greatly from the partnership.  They have now helped a Premier League Team enter a new environment in which both parties can success financially in the future. Also, Manchester City is starting to build up a reputation as one of the most technologically savvy Premier League soccer teams. They started working in Facebook Messenger and even virtual reality in 2016. Soon, we could see Manchester City and other Premier League teams marketing their upcoming games that will also be available in VR.

Overall, it is an exciting time for technology in soccer. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will feature improved replay technology to aid in important goal calls. More and more teams are looking into VR investments. This is a great time to be interested in sports technology, and there are no signs it is slowing down anytime soon.

The Chelsea Premier League Football Club from England is making significant efforts to grow the sport of soccer in the United States and engage young players in new and exciting ways. Chelsea is one of an array of  European clubs (e.g. Bayern Munich, Barcelona) that are investing in their U.S. expansion.

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On Tuesday, November 28th, the Chelsea Premier League Football Club from England made their way to the Frederick Douglass Academy for grades 6-12 in Harlem. Their goal was simple: Promote soccer in the United States and engage young players in new and exciting ways. But, the trip had an even bigger unveiling. The Club was breaking ground on a brand-new, multi-million dollar covered outdoor soccer facility for the youth players of Harlem. On top of that, the day would include appearances from Chelsea FC legends Ashley Cole and Michael Essien. The state of the art facility, due to be completed in Fall 2018, would host a variety of soccer programs for many different ages of players. Once construction is complete, thousands of young soccer players in the greater Harlem area will be able to play soccer year round.

When asked about the long-term goals of the programs and new facility, Ian Woodroffe, the Head of International Coaching Development for Chelsea FC, had this to say:

“Taking kids and giving them additional enrichment and opportunities to aspire to be better citizens and go on to bigger and better things. Some will get scholarships, and are looking to develop as players. But, it’s also about getting ready for adult life and giving them the skills and additional support beyond the program. That’s why FC Harlem has been doing well for a number of years, and we wanted to continue that support.”

Investment in Youth Soccer

It is clear that Chelsea FC is making significant efforts to grow the sport of soccer in the United States. By their investment in youth soccer in Harlem, they are laying the foundation for future years of success and growth for the community. In the end, Chelsea is also going to see a large following coming from the Harlem area and beyond thanks to the new facility and its programs.

It was exciting to see two of the best Premier League players of their time in person. Once they entered the gym, there was a new buzz and sense of energy. Almost immediately, the students at the academy starting running drills with Chelsea staff along with Cole and Essien. For the next 30 minutes, the gym became a flurry of different moves and soccer balls skidding along the floor.

FC investment in youth soccer in Harlem, is laying the foundation for future years of success and growth for the community.

The entire event was a blast for everyone involved. There were various media outlets scattered throughout the gym filming the session. The kids were playing with two of the most accomplished premier league players in the last 25 years, and their excitement showed that. I was able to capture some great clips of Ashley Cole performing moves that looked like magic tricks.

Once the training session was over, the kids, staff, and players talked for a bit and then took pictures with the 2016/2017 Premier League Trophy Chelsea won last season. After that, the Chelsea staff, media, and the group traveled to the site of the future soccer facility just a few minutes away. Once we arrived, we walked down onto the site and had another opportunity to take more pictures with the players, staff, and trophy.

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