Q & A with iSoccer Founder, Scott Leber
With the fall season starting, we wanted to take a minute to catch up with Scott, and see what's been going on at the iSoccer office in San Francisco.
Scott, it’s the start of the 2012 fall season. What’s new with iSoccer?
Well, the big news is that we just hit 1,000,000 scores logged! We are thrilled that we hit the goal laid out when we launched the National Standards Project two years ago. We couldn't have done without our partners like CYSA North, so a big thanks to everyone who contributed.
It’s been awesome to see more and more players, coaches, and parents running with iSoccer, and committing to raising the level of soccer in the US. Obviously, this is a long term project, but we are excited to see momentum building, and glad to be a part of the solution.
So you reached the goal of 1M scores logged - what’s next?
We used the scores to establish iSoccer Standards based on age, gender, and location - now we are moving into the next phase of the Project, which revolves around using these Standards to create a skill game.
We all know how powerful games can be, so we are turning ‘practice’ into a game, where players can compete against themselves, their teammates, and the community. The goal is to get more and more kids excited to spend time with the ball.
How exactly does iSoccer make training into a game?
Players can earn skill levels, badges, and points for completing activities and interacting with the online and mobile platform. The difference between iSoccer and other online games, though, is that our goal is to actually get players outside, instead of staring at a screen for hours!
It’s all about using technology and tapping into the psychology of game dynamics to make practice more fun. No matter how skilled a player is, there is another level that they can work towards achieving.
Any advice for CYSA coaches or parents who are using iSoccer for the first time this season?
Keep it fun! Sure, the iSoccer Assessment is great for tracking development, but the primary goal of iSoccer is motivating players. If you set up fun challenges and reward improvement, you can engage all type of players.
Also, as a parent or coach, if you are excited, players will feed off that. Ultimately, you can use iSoccer to create healthy competition around skill development, taking some of the emphasis off winning and losing.
Looking back, what have you learned in the last two years?
Wow, tough question - we’ve learned so much in the last couple years! We’ve gotten a ton of feedback from people around the country and the world, which has really helped us constantly improve the platform. One of the main things we have learned though, is that coaches and parents are very busy - obviously!
So we are focusing on simplifying things, and improving the user experience so that iSoccer.org and iSoccer Mobile become easier to use, and more engaging for players at the same time.
I love hearing from our community, by the way, so anyone should feel free to shoot me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback, thoughts, ideas, cool stories, or just to say hi!
Any new features people can look forward to?
Haha, well without tipping our hand too much, we do have some exciting stuff coming out in the coming months. We just launched our newest features - Player Points and Velocity. Basically, players earn points for everything they do, and can to see how fast they are working towards improving. Coaches will see all of this, and players can compete with their teammates.
Also, keep an eye out for the Goalie Assessment we are creating with Tony DiCicco, and more advanced, partner iSoccer Assessments coming soon. The plan is to keep helping raise the level of soccer here in Northern California and beyond!
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