Society for American Soccer History. https://www.ussoccerhistory.org/. The Society for American Soccer History (SASH). https://www.ussoccerhistory.org/store/sash-membership-one-year/. Reviewed February 12- 17, 2020.
Since I was five years old, sports, specifically soccer, has played a major role in my life. Soccer, also known as the “beautiful game,” is the world’s most popular sport and has helped shaped my education and career. Playing soccer and running cross-country in high school, earned me a Division-1 athletic scholarship for college and provided me an amazing experience as a student-athlete. Today, I serve as the assistant women’s soccer coach at St. Mary’s University and continue to be thankful for what the sport of soccer has done for me. So, I was pleased to locate a website devoted to the sport of soccer. The Society for American Soccer History (SASH) site has compiled a variety of research resources recommended for anyone interested in acquiring a broader context for American soccer history.
Soccer historian Sam T.N. Foulds founded the Society for American Soccer History in 1993. Today, nine board members from various parts of the country govern SASH. To help continue the growth of soccer history and build upon the organization, the SASH Board meets several times a year. During these meetings, SASH collaborates with the National Soccer Hall of Fame (NSHOF), encourages supporters to become annual members, and uses different avenues of communication through journals, newsletters, and future SASH conferences/events. The mission statement of SASH is clearly defined: 1) “To stimulate, promote, and coordinate interest in the historical study of soccer in the United States,” and 2) “To advance scholarship in the study and teaching of various aspects of soccer history.” To achieve this, SASH preserves and catalogs various historical records, publishes literature, and provides a forum for collaboration, discussion, and research within the field of history for U.S. soccer.
Simple and basic in its design, the SASH site is filled with a variety of resources to help report on historical research on U.S. soccer. Examples include, archive photos with past and present articles, hundreds of biographies on National Soccer Hall of Fame players, coaches, and “builders” of the game, archive video recordings of games and interviews, online newspaper resources, tournament and Olympic game results, and roster information from different leagues. As a huge supporter of both the Men’s and Women’s U.S. National Soccer teams, I was impressed to discover team results dating as far back to 1885 to present. In addition, the SASH site provides the user with “The Spalding Guides” which was the yearbook for U.S. soccer from 1904 – 1924. I found this to be especially interesting, containing information on local and national topics, such as rules of the game, statistics, and events from international soccer.
For a $20 membership fee, one can join SASH and receive the SASH newsletter, ability to vote in upcoming SASH elections, and discounted rates to attend SASH conferences. Most recently the conference was held at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX. In addition, SASH provides a “contact” page for any questions one may have. The site also allows a user to be directed to shop for a variety of SASH fan apparel such as NIKE-sponsored polo’s, t-shirts, jackets, hoodies, pants, and hats. When exploring this option, SASH has teamed up with Soccer.com to allow users to shop and purchase such items for men and women. Using Soccer.com in the past, I found this to be a great marketing tool for SASH in helping promote the organization through a popular and well-established site in Soccer.com.
The SASH site primarily targets soccer enthusiasts, providing an abundance of historical facts and figures through a variety of digital media platforms. The site is not “flashy” in terms of color, and user-interaction. Instead, SASH provides a total of 8 tabs, including the “home” page with several drop-down menu options depending on which tab one selects. While I do appreciate the site’s simplicity and user-friendly design, I feel SASH should provide more information under its “about” page. I would like to read and learn more on the origins of SASH such as the founder, Sam T.N. Foulds, and perhaps why and how he thought of creating SASH. In addition, too few women are represented under the player biographies. Instead, the site has centered its focus on men when women hold just as much value and importance in the history of U.S. soccer.
It must not be overlooked currently, the most than any other country, the United States Women’s National soccer team holds four world cup titles. Women continue to fight for equal pay from the likes of soccer “superstars” in Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, and Alex Morgan. Examples like these pieces of history most certainly deserve to be found and recognized within the SASH site.
What makes soccer so great is how global the “beautiful game” is. Soccer, football, or futbol, as it is called in some parts, is the most watched, televised, and played sport in the world. Because of this, I feel SASH could reach a much larger audience if they include more international history on the site. Instead, SASH is limiting its growth by only focusing on U.S. soccer and its history.
In the public history field, we are often taught engagement and understanding your audience should always come first. Soccer, like history is dynamic and always changing. I have been able to make a career coaching soccer and love what I do. The “beautiful game” has shown me places and people I would have never seen while helping me grow as a person. Therefore, I do hope SASH continues to grow and evolve not just within its organization but also with its informative and interesting site.