Boston Breakers: One of eight teams in the National Women’s Soccer League @NWSL, the Boston Breakers showed this past season amazing stamina not only on – but also off the field – by participating in a range of different charity activities.
It was a remarkable feat that also marked the first season in their entire history during which the team embraced the power of Live streaming pay-per-view and reached out to their fans worldwide by streaming their games online. Ryan Wood – Boston Breakers Communication Manager – recapped on their recent achievements, and revealed his hopes and plans for the future in the interview below.
Monika Zameta: For the first time in the entire Boston Breakers history, you put online all the games of the season as Live streaming pay-per-view Why did you choose Cleeng?
Ryan Wood: We’ve been thinking for the past couple of years about running a live stream, but we couldn’t find the right company or the right service. This year, the League made it mandatory for every team to do a live broadcast of their games. So we looked for a company who could help us power our streams as Live streaming pay-per-view – not only in the US but also in Europe, where we have many loyal fans. Every solution we had looked up claimed to deliver a professional service, but when we looked at a particular product it wasn’t ready to give us what we expected. Then we found out about Cleeng who guaranteed our fans what they deserved: the best experience, seamless pre-booking and secure payments.
M.Z.: How do you find our support so far?
R.W.: I really appreciate your dedicated support during the season. You took good care of us, my big compliments go to Rudy Milkovic in particular (Cleeng partner, CEO of Velikom International ). He was excellent! Anytime I had a question or found an issue, I would hear from him within an hour. Even if he was in the middle of doing hundred other things, whether it was on the weekend or at night, most of the time he got back right away whether it was through email or text or a call, and he also checked in with me on a regular basis. Usually, he was giving me a call each week to see how things were going or see if I had any questions. He was a huge help.
M.Z.: Please tell me about the team, its history and successes.
R.W.: The organization started out in 2000 and we played 3 years professionally in the WUSA league that league folded in 2004. When Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) was formed in the fall of 2007, the Breakers joined the league and began play when WPS officially launched its first season in 2009. The Breakers played three seasons in WPS (2009-2011) before the league suspended operations in 2011. In their three WPS seasons, the Breakers reached the playoffs twice. In 2012, we played in the eight-team WPSL Elite League, which featured eight teams from the Midwest and up and down the East Coast. The team won the regular season championship with an 11-3 record. So as you see, we’ve been pretty much consistently playing from the year 2000 and we’re actually the longest actively playing professional women soccer team in the US.
M.Z.: You seem to be a close-knit team.
R.W.: Indeed. That’s something our first coach instilled – you’re part of the team but the team is also built like a family. Every year, everyone gets along, there are never any personality issues. Our players do a lot of things as a team, even on days off – they would go out to dinner or do team bonding activities as a group. You don’t see this too often in other teams. It really is a kind of family environment we’ve created. Most of the players in our team live with host families in Boston and in other cities; we put up apartments for them. Many of them will be away from the place where they live and their families for the entire season – which is 8 months.
So we match them up as best as we can with a host family to make sure they feel at home. The host families love it, the players love it and it shows because players come back and want to play with us each year.
M.Z.: Besides soccer, Boston Breakers team is also actively involved in many local charity initiatives. Who do you support and why?
R.W.: Charity and helping others is something we like to do as we like to give back. We regularly visit local children’s hospitals – we’ve been doing that since all the way back in 2000. Some of these kids are terminally ill whilst some of them are in the hospital for an extended stay. We also visit the burn victims units and generally the hospitals where kids are treated for various conditions. During our visits, we sign autographs and hang out with the kids doing some arts and crafts activities. It’s amazing to see a smile put back on the kids faces, but also on the faces of their families, who have been supporting soccer and our team.
In addition to that, this past year saw the Boston Marathon Bombings and we raised money to support the victims’ families. We love doing other community events as well. We do some appearances and we help organize soccer camps for kids. Many of our former players coach youth in local high schools.
M.Z.: The season for the Boston Breakers has ended. Can you recap on the games and also on the achievements of the team?
R.W.: We finished this season in 5th place out of 8 teams – we just missed out on the playoffs. We lost only one of the five games but overall it was a tremendous success. All our home games were sold out and we filled our stadium to its capacity.
We’re already planning for the next season that starts in April 2014. We’re doing contracts, trades, and getting ready for the next year. We got a new coach, the majority of our players are back from last year and we’re also looking to add a few new players. Other than that, our biggest plan right now is finding a new stadium. It’s just because we’ve filled our capacity. We knew that if we could have a bigger venue we would be able to easily put in 1000 more fans – fans who have supported us since the very beginning. I’d like to thank all our fans for that – we’re truly grateful to have you around.
M.Z.: Are you planning to repeat the Live streaming pay-per-view events again next season?
Yes, sure, and I’ll count on Cleeng to help me repeat this success.