Students in David Pierce’s senior capstone course in sports management presented growth strategies for USF Real, a youth soccer club in Indianapolis.
The club approached the Sports Innovation Institute looking for innovative ways to grow participation in the club and bolster its value proposition in the competitive soccer club market.
Students used human-centered design to approach framing and solving problems for USF. The students utilized a variety of approaches to understand the problem:
- Contextual inquiry – interviews and observation
- Data synthesis – empathy maps and root issue analysis
- Ideation – Answering bold “how might we” questions
- Prototype – developing initial ideas and soliciting user feedback
A diverse set of solutions were developed by the student groups.
- A new vision for a coaching academy that would distinguish USF as a destination for developing coaches
- Implementation of technology that helps coaches communicate better with players
- A scouting system that would identify and attract players on top clubs that are not receiving playing time to improve the performance of the club’s premier teams
- A new, modern website focused on telling the team’s story to prospective parents with the information they are looking for regarding time commitment, price, and fit
- Moving away from the traditional club-based competition model and moving to a training academy model
- Strategic moves that added teams at ages 8, 9, and 10 and the development of a soccer pathway that emphasizes skill development so that the club is a destination for players looking to take their next step on their soccer journey.