It's truly amazing that somebody didn't think of this sooner. The sports world is the ultimate social community. Viewers in the U.S. are glued to their television sets for this week's National Football League player draft. They want to get insider information on up and coming players so they will know who to add to their fantasy football teams. Everyone is abuzz, and chatter has already started about a sport that won't even see the first preseason game played until August. With players fighting to grab the attention of the top teams it's a wonder somebody hasn't developed a networking platform for sports.
Actually, somebody has - Fieldoo. We are just not aware of it because it deals solely with soccer (football to the rest of the world) and that sport still doesn't get much attention in our country. But this sport is so popular everywhere else that they were clamoring to find a better way to match up players, coaches, agents and clubs. Fieldoo aims to fill this void by combining the strengths of the World Wide Web with a thirst for player contacts.
Patterning itself as the "LinkedIn of football," Fieldoo is working to connect sports people from all over the world, and it is quickly building its appeal. Currently there are over 5000 members. Counters on the landing page reveal that 1624 agents and 147 user countries are already involved in this rapidly growing social network. Agents have the ability to get a business page, find a perfect player, get hired and earn money. Players can put together their soccer resume, find career opportunities, and share their soccer stories. Both have the capability to market, search and connect.
Jure Doler, Fieldoo's CMO, believes that the platform has such an impact because there are so many transfers in the game of soccer. Research conducted by FIFA (the ruling body for World Cup Soccer) showed that transfers in 2011 occurred every 45 minutes. Some 70% involved signings of free agents. The amount of information and contact needed to make those agreements was overwhelming, so Fieldoo set out to simplify the process by digitizing and enhancing the dealings between football players and agents. This new capability is changing the way they connect.
Players can now network and present their skills to agents from around the world. Agents can quickly filter through players to find those with the exact skills they need. This worldwide capability allowed an agent working out of a Spanish agency to find a player from Slovenia and sign him to a soccer club in Thailand.
Fieldoo intends to become a reference in the world of sports representation and promotion, so imagine what could happen if this capability is applied to the process of selecting football players in America. Talented youngsters from smaller schools might be able to represent themselves to the best colleges. Lesser agents would have access to a wider variety of players, and teams would have better information on which to base their player selection. Everyone would be on a more level playing field because it would break the grip of the current power structure and bring a new openness to the game.
Social media has always represented itself as the ultimate equalizer in the online world. Anyone with access to a computer can make connections, build a community and present their capabilities. LinkedIn has taken advantage of this networking capability to make finding a job easier in the business world. Perhaps Fieldoo represents the next evolution by applying social principles of community to the sports world.
Follow Jure Klepic on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jkcallas