That’s right, America. smallworld is covering a new sport today for the first time: FootGolf.
In a reality where community isn’t a given, a sport whose very nature is rooted in community isn’t either. Soccer around the country has been in limbo for months, and even as it returns, it does so in empty stadiums.
That means no stadiums filled with thousands of supporters. It means no tailgates outside those stadiums, no house parties with more people than you thought could fit in your hours. Particularly saddening for Clevelanders like Jason Lansdale and Tim Schifle, it means that their beloved Premier League supporters’ groups across the pond are no longer meeting for matchdays.
Rather than wallow in their lack of community, however, Tim and Jason decided to get creative and find a way to bring that back.
Faithful readers of smallworld will recall that Jason is the man behind Offside Marketing, smallworld’s first-ever sponsor. If you listened to the podcast episode Jason jumped on for, you’ll also know he’s a diehard Gunner.
Tim, on the other hand, is a new friend of smallworld. Like Jason, he’s involved in marketing and loves watching the Premier League. He’s a Liverpool fan, and Jason actually still tolerates him, which ought to tell you something.
Together, the duo have created the Cleveland FootGolf Cup, a way to pit together the many Premier League SGs in Cleveland against each other in friendly and safe competition.
For those not familiar with the sporting combination that is FootGolf, Tim explains the benefits of the sport in his eyes:
[FootGolf] offers the same beautiful scenery, relaxing pace, and opportunity for judgment-free day drinking that you expect with golf, but with much less frustration, significantly lower costs, a better workout, and a chance to do something relatively new.Tim Schifle, Yoder Graphics
It’s a very cool concept for the soccer supporter, and it it turns out, it’s an even more exciting asset for community building.
Jason, being the enterprising and creative person he is, saw an opportunity in Tim’s obsession.
I’ve known Tim for several years through our local NE Ohio Soccer community, and was ecstatic when he reached to me about this incredible idea. Tim is a phenomenal Foot Golf player and expert, he’s the perfect partner for this event, and his technical and operational awareness of the sport complements the 2020 Cleveland Foot Golf Cup.Jason Lansdale, Offside Marketing
With the idea and execution making progress, the next step was to determine interest. Fortunately, interest was the least of the FootGolf Cup’s troubles, as Tim quickly discovered.
When we were first quarantined, I noticed frustration among my fellow Liverpool faithful (and friends across the various Cleveland EPL groups) that we weren’t able to see our friends… it’s also a great transition sport for soccer players who (via age, injury, etc.) can’t quite compete on the pitch the way we once could.Tim
Those interest levels were very effective in getting the community involved, and the result is a vide variety of supporter’s groups in the running.
Premier League clubs such as Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal, Man United, and Spurs are represented, as are MLS clubs such as local side Columbus Crew. It’ll provide plenty of variety and cross-exposure for soccer fans, which is always a positive.
The support for the event reaches well beyond participants, though, as business partnerships also abound.
Together we [Tim and Jason] helped land Platform Beer Company, a massive local Brewery, as our Official Craft Beer for the event. Platform has been a strong supporter of local soccer as the official beer of Cleveland SC, and local home to The CrewLand, home to Columbus Crew supporters in the 216.
We leveraged additional partners and sponsors such as Yoder Graphics [company Tim works for], Added Time Outfitters as our soccer lifestyle brand partner ,and our friends at smallworld soccer as our Soccer Media partner.
With businesses and local supporters getting involved, it seems as though Tim and Jason are truly on to something with the FootGolf Cup, especially in this timing.
For Tim in particular, it’s all about getting the community together.
For the soccer community in Cleveland, I believe this tournament (and FootGolf in general) offers players—and coaches—a chance to broaden and refine their skills in ways they might not have considered before.Tim
At the end of the day, that’s what the entire lower-league soccer community is about, and it’s exactly what smallworld is out to promote. If the best way Cleveland soccer fans can unite right now is something other than soccer, we say bring it on!
I do, however, want to give an entirely unfounded preview of the event, just to make a fool of myself when it’s over and none of my predictions are accurate.
3rd – Cleveland Gooners: I had to sneak Jason’s club of choice in here, even if I’m firmly convinced that anything attached to Arsenal isn’t allowed to be successful in any standings format.
2nd – Cleveland SC: smallworld is a very big fan of NPSL’s Cleveland SC in a lot of ways, so we can’t help but expect them to dominate FootGolf as well! We think they’ll pose a real threat for the Cup title.
1st – Cleveland Evertonians: Alright, so maybe it’s because I just got the new black and pink Everton away kit and it looks class. Maybe it’s because on the soccer side of things, they’ve been making major moves that have caught the attention of many. Whatever it is, though, something tells me the Blue Boys are going to walk away with all the bragging rights. This probably doesn’t bode well for their chances, but I’m predicting the Evertonians to win it all.
No matter who takes the cake, it’ll be a sweet competition for all involved. Major props to Tim and Jason for the initiative as well as the partners involved in making the event possible. We’ll be watching the results closely!
Stay weird and support local soccer!