Over the weekend I visited Portland, Oregon. The trip was strategically planned around opening weekend of MLS and the Timbers having home game. I neglected buying game tickets until arriving in Portland for two reasons:
1) To see how the CBA talks panned out
2) I wasn't sure if $50 was better spent at the bar across the street from the stadium or to actually sit and watch it live. I just knew I wanted to see/feel the excitement of being in Portland for their home opener.
I spent the $50 on a ticket.
There was ZERO value from actually watching the game. ZERO. Seconds after kickoff- the launch fest ensued and my focus shifted to a more important facet of my trip. Networking.
Networking with people, like you, who I probably interact with on a regular basis via social media but have very little human interaction with. Prior to traveling I connected with several people via Twitter and planned some meet ups with like-minded coaches.
Friday- I sat an enjoyed a beer in the rare Portland sunshine with a young coach originally from So Cal. This was the first time I had met Sean Monaghan.
Friday night- I met up with Christopher Cramer, guest from my very first podcast episode, to talk about his current season, the landscape of Portland soccer, and ideas for the future. I had recently met Topher in Los Angeles for the first time. Ironically, we had both planned a trip to watch Chivas USA, and unexpectedly got a chance to meet with Gary Kleiban (@3four3) for a five hour dinner following the game we attended.
Saturday in Portland was a doozie. I accomplished my other goal of trying a hefty amount of great North West beers, but Saturday night was the true treat. I met up with Porter. Not Caleb Porter, I met up with @PorterGTsoccer. He's a youth coach who lives a short drive from Portland. We communicated the day before and he ended up buying a ticket and to attend the Timbers game with my buddy and I. Prior to kickoff, we got a chance to chop it up at a couple different bars as we made our closer to the stadium. Once we were inside we realized our tickets were in separate sections, so we decided to take a chance and just sit where we saw open seats together. After getting the boot several times, we finally settled in about 3 rows up from field level behind the Real Salt Lake bench. Collectively... I'd say we watched about 5 minutes of the game.
Porter, my buddy, and I spent the entire match talking soccer, not watching the jungle ball in front of us.
Halftime rolled around and I waddled up the steps to track down Topher who said he'd be gathering with some other coaches from the area near the beer lines. The 15 minutes at halftime wasn't enough. We all stayed there, chatting soccer, and making connections, until about the 60th minute before all agreeing to part ways, and connect again via social media.
In my opinion- $50 for a match ticket well spent!
These connections are priceless. Putting faces to (Twitter) names is crucial. Developing these coaching relationships/friendships is 100x more important than anything else I could have possibly planned this trip.
Which leads me to this...
3four3 recently announced me as the point of contact for our upcoming Coaching Summit in Las Vegas this Summer. We asked you to fill out a survey. And there was overwhelming cry for networking opportunities, like mine this weekend, with like minded coaches and those pushing the limits. It is obvious that coaches are thirsty for conversations. Thirsty for connections. And not to brag, but bringing people together is sort of my expertise.
So this is my promise to you. If you sign up, and you join 3four3 in Las Vegas this summer, you will not leave disappointed. You will have the conversations you're searching for and you will make the connections needed to help you progress as a coach long after the Las Vegas sunburn peels off.
Portland Breweries Worth Visiting: Burnside, Basecamp, Cascade, Baerlic, Hair of the Dog**, Lucky Lab, Rogue, Tugboat, Apex (beer bar), Baileys (beer bar)
Portland Restaurants/Food Carts Worth Eating: Koi Fusion, Pok Pok, Pepper Box, Rocking Frog, Blue Star Donuts, Voo Doo Donuts, Hair of the Dog**, Bunk Sandwiches, and just about any other food cart you walk by!
Bars/Hangouts: River Pig, The Worst, Romtoms