Major League Soccer is now in full swing! Having reached it’s 18th year, the growth of the game is apparent if you take a look at their presence on social media, even if you aren’t following on the major networks that now carry the games… As of fan of any sport, you can’t ignore soccer in America anymore.
The MLS has a strong Twitter presence – as a matter of fact, many players now have an awe-inspiring presence on Instagram and Facebook too and we often see them convincing their teammates to join in on the fun! It is a great way for athletes to come out of their somewhat more restrictive and formal interview, traditional media settings. It’s become such a huge thing, that the MLS just came out with a new rule this year banning phones and communication tools, including social media 60 minutes prior to match kick-off.
This season we are instituting a ban on phones and electronic communication devices from within the locker room 60 minutes prior to kick until match‘s end. This includes social media. — MLS
But, it’s all in good fun and the light-heartedness that most MLS players display on their social media channels makes for an entertaining, quirky and authentic appeal for most of us followers and supporters. As a matter of fact, until I joined the ranks of the media, I preferred reading player tweets to reading most sports blogs. Who doesn’t love a little light banter interspersed with some serious soccer talk?
It’s tough to ask a lover of the US game to pick and choose just 10 MLS must-follows. I follow almost all of them. There are a number of criteria I’ve used to select just 10. Not everyone wants the same thing from Twitter but as a social media professional, I feel that there are actual goals for social media. In no particular order they are:
- 1) genuine/authentic/personalized content (the “my tweets are my own and not that of my organization…”)
- 2) entertainment/fun (uh, yes, we want to laugh because of and love our favorite players
- 3) teaching/expanding our horizons (tell us something we don’t already know, give us insights from your own perspective
- 4) interact/engage with your followers (talk to us too! Twitter has, in many ways, replaced/supplanted player appearances; a RT from our beloved heroes, takes on a whole new meaning!)
- 5) let us in on secrets from your life (not super personal, but just personal enough that we feel we’ve gotten a glimpse into your real life. After all much of social media is based on an inherent need to “peer through the looking glass into each other’s lives”
So are you ready? In no particular order I introduce you to these men you should already be following! And I would love to hear who you think is missing from this list – to be fair, I know there are many who deserve a follow who I couldn’t include on here.
2013 Tweeting MLS All-Star List!
Jeb Brovsky – Montreal Impact
Because he is the NICEST Guy EVER, runs his own non-profit benefiting children around the world through the sport he loves so deeply. Because he is a humanitarian and has a heart of gold. Because he should write a book with all his Jeb-isms that are tweeted regularly (words of wisdom). Because he will tweet things like “The world can be amazing when you’re slightly strange.” and “Challenge: say ‘Bubbles’ in an angry manner and see if you don’t laugh.” and “Overcome the notion that you must be regular. It robs you of the chance to be extraordinary.
Chris Wingert – Real Salt Lake
Because he REPLIES! Because he watches sports and talks about them, expects a fun answer from his followers and engages with his followers. And because he clearly loves Twitter! And most importantly, because he has a great sense of humor. Examples: “Giggs’ work rate has been incredible in the first half…. the guy is almost 40!
#Legend” and “great finish to this NBA game… then back to Invincible on FX- i may hate the Eagles, but this is a great story.”
Heath Pearce – New York Red Bulls
A few years ago I noticed that someone with an incredible mustache was tweeting crazy questions out to his followers and the man knew how to grab your attention. It’s not oddball, it’s awesome. That is Heath in a nutshell. His personality is so effervescent Twitter was created for people like him… Was it last year we were all tweeting about the world’s worst pick-up lines? All I know, is he is memorable both on the field and off the field on Twitter. Examples, “Messi is good at soccer. Everyone else in the entire world sucks
#fact“ and “I so wish soccer goalkeepers still wore funny paper boy hats.” Without Heath on Twitter, there would be a huge hole in my heart and in the world of social. Bravo maestro.
Dax McCarty – New York Red Bulls
Is it cool to pick two players to follow from the same team? Definitely. Dax is just an awesome guy and overall incredible personality, as well as being a slave to wit. Even his Twitter profile picture indicates what you see is what you get. Take a look and then follow him. He’s quirky and energetic on social. “Maniac driver cut me off this AM. I yelled/used foul language. Then realized Kelly Clarkson was on the radio. Couldnt be a tough guy anymore” He regularly engages with his teammates too and seems like a social butterfly (in the good sense) – entertainment by a sincerely good guy. There are too few of them so you’d better support him.
AJ DeLaGarza – LA Galaxy
Look, he runs his own Instagram contests! Need I say more? I will let him do the convincing. “Caption This” contest on Instagram (AJD_20) tomorrow (3/10). Winner will get a signed game worn jersey.
#notthispic” He is cutting-edge social.
Eddie Johnson – Seattle Sounders
Some people love prolific tweeters. This is your guy then. Eddie is a talker clearly, I only say that because it feels like he’s really truly having a conversation on Twitter with his followers. His tweets are effused with a sense of his passion for soccer. I think it’s great. More power to him! “Wow soccer has really grown in america…Watched all of the teams highlights on ESPN from this weekend
Nick Rimando – Real Salt Lake
Follow him and I guarantee you’ll learn something. About something. Maybe about soccer. I did. I love how varied his topics are, from soccer, to burgers, to iPads. You get the idea. He also just did get his 100th clean sheet which is AWESOME. Can you imagine doing your own job that well? Kudos to Nick. Also please, remind yourself to vote for him in the Utah State of Sport Awards. http://ht.ly/1T6y4V
Eric Kronberg – Sporting Kansas City
A recent recommendation from a colleague, I didn’t know what to expect from Eric. But, oh boy, I’m rolling off my couch from the laughter he brings to my social media feeds. I feel like thanking him for a daily dose of humor. I will if I ever meet him. Or if he reads this, then it’s clear, thank you Eric! “When someone tells me they know a cat-person, this is what I picture that person looking like. http://via.me/-ahmkkmo ” and “Ugh so full. Chicken tiki masala is so good. Would love to tell you more about how full I am, but I digest…”
Dwayne DeRosario – DC United
Smart, honest, fashionable and popular, Dwayne is one of the most followed MLS players on Twitter for great reasons. I encourage you to find out why this “In life it’s not when you are on top that defines character, it’s when your at the lowest point in life that determines true character”
Juan Agudelo – Chivas USA/USMNT
In a word, follow him for his HONESTY. “Wat? 30% increase in New Jersey babies born this July because of the hurricane sandy blackout. (Explain)u were only born cus my phone died? and “Some people are so Poor, All they have is Money.”
Not an exhaustive list by any means so bear with me! One of my favorite sources for all things social and sports : http://www.tweeting-athletes.com!