02/04/2013 10:54 AM
Although soccer is the most popular sport in the world, it’s no secret to everyone that it is still growing year by year in the United States. We live in a country or on a continent for that matter where the most popular sports are the ones we dominate in (with the exception of Mexico and their soccer history). When someone hears that a soccer team like Bellingham United F.C. is partnering up with a European club, it may lead them to wonder why? This is something you just don’t hear at all about in other popular sports here. However when you really sit down and think about it you realize that the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL have no major competitors. Even in hockey where they have a major league like the KHL in Russia, it still pales in comparison to the National Hockey League in North America.
Soccer on the other hand is popular worldwide, take a look at the last five World Cups; only Brazil repeated in the time span, while France, Italy and Spain split the other three. It is quite obvious how important foreign relations are in a sport that is so diverse. To help everyone understand just a little bit more about having friends across the sea in the soccer world, I spoke with Bellingham United F.C.’s owner, Jeff McIntyre.
Brandon: How and why did you decide to partner up with both of these teams?
Jeff M.: We are always looking for new opportunities to expand our reach in the world of football for our players, fans and overall team brand. We were fortunate enough to connect with these two international clubs through business and personal relationships we have among our owners. Both of these clubs play at a level that we think gives us the best chance of a realistic engagement to mutually benefit all involved.
Brandon: What makes partnerships like these so important in soccer?
Jeff M.: These partnerships are great for the game, because it opens up new avenues of sport and culture, that fans and our players can really get excited about.
Brandon: Mansfield Town recently had quite an effort against EPL Giant, Liverpool. Does that sort of effort have an effect on team?
Jeff M: That FA Cup match for Mansfield Town was absolutely amazing! They fought toe-to-toe with one of the most storied clubs in the world. The kind of stuff dreams are made of.....I'm sure it has made a huge impact on their club both on and off the pitch.
Brandon: Two Hammers' midfielders Brendan Quilici and Sean Connor are playing overseas soccer in Holland with VV Zwammerdam. What does this mean to Bellingham United F.C.?
Jeff M: This is our first real foray into the international scene.....We expect it to be a great experience for both Sean and Brendan, and it's something we hope to offer other players on our club in the future.
Brandon: Can we expect to see anyone from Mansfield Town or VV Zwammerdam here in Bellingham at some point?
Jeff M: One of our goals is to bring over some international players to train and play with us during our season. We have had discussions with both clubs, and now that we've opened up channels with VV Zwammerdam we're hoping to have a couple of their players join us this season.
Brandon: What are you most looking forward to for both of these partnerships in 2013?
Jeff M: I'm really excited about the potential relationships we are building abroad with partners like Mansfield Town FC and VV Zwammerdam. I hope we can one day create a network between these clubs and potentially others, so that we can all share ideas, players and experiences among each other.