Tag Archives: mls

Chicago Fire FC Becomes First MLS Club to Launch Gambling Awareness Session

Chicago Fire FC, entering into their 24th season in Major League Soccer, have become the first football club in the United States to deliver problem gambling and gaming awareness sessions to teams throughout their organization through a partnership with EPIC Risk Management and Entain Foundation US, Entain plc’s unique non-profit subsidiary that is dedicated to promoting responsible gambling and sports integrity.

Epic Risk Management will lead sessions with the Chicago Fire’s U-13’s through U-19’s, plus the first team. Each session will be appropriately tailored for the varied audience and age groups through the Club’s roster, covering issues such as problem gaming, disordered gambling and sports betting integrity.

Delivery of these sessions will begin in May and continue throughout 2021, aiming to provide continued support across Chicago Fire’s P.A.S.S. program. Due to COVID-19, sessions will take place via videoconference and move to in-person sessions when safely allowed.

“We know that young athletes are at greater risk of being effected by problematic gaming and gambling, and we recognize the need to take a proactive approach to educating our players and parents on these risks,.” sSays Brian Roberts, Director of Performance, Advisory and Support Services (P.A.S.S.) at Chicago Fire FC. “The real-life stories that EPIC Risk Management use in their educational sessions brings focus to gambling in a way that will have a true impact and will provide our Academy players with the understanding needed to make informed decisions. We are excited to work with an organization open to customizing an approach to educating our Academy players.”

“We are delighted to be able to work closely with Chicago Fire and their Performance, Advisory, and Support Services (PASS) staff to customize our program to integrate into their existing PASS Education,.” says John Millington, VP of US Operations at EPIC Risk Management. “Our collaboration with the Entain Foundation US represents a key strategic piece of our prevention pillar. It is essential that professional sports teams and leagues recognize a collective responsibility to educate their players, staff, and their fan base, and we are delighted Chicago Fire have proactively embraced the importance of integrating this market leading education into their existing programs. I hope many more teams will follow their lead.”

Martin Lycka, Entain plc’s Senior Vice President for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling, and trustee of the Entain Foundation US, noted, “This new partnership among Chicago Fire FC, EPIC Risk Management and the Entain Foundation US is another important milestone in promoting player protection and responsible gambling—a top priority of our Foundation. I am proud to affiliate our Foundation in the US with these two outstanding partners.”

To date, EPIC Risk Management and the Entain Foundation US have launched collaborations with the NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation, colleges across the U.S., and the Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, on research into elite athletes’ relationships with problematic gambling behavior.

cover image: credit Michael Barera

For Soccer Ventures Debuts ‘Orange Slices,’ Hosted by Emerging USMNT, Phila Union star Mark McKenzie

For Soccer Ventures (FSV), an organization focused on the growth and long-term development of American soccer, today announced the official launch of “Orange Slices,” a new podcast hosted by former US Men’s National Team player and Major League Soccer All-Star Heath Pearce and twenty one year old emerging U.S. international Mark McKenzie of the Philadelphia Union. The podcast celebrates the past, present, and future of American soccer through generational storytelling and unprecedented access to rising U.S. stars around the world. “Orange Slices” is FSV’s second podcast, joining “Best Soccer Show” hosted by Jason Davis and Jared Dubois.

The first two episodes feature 2020 Bayern Munich defender and current UEFA Champions League player Chris Richards, and former U.S. National Team and Rangers midfielder Maurice Edu. Both will discuss their experiences playing abroad, representing American soccer to global audiences, their personal and professional challenges, and the effort to rebuild the fan base and trust of the National Team after the tumultuous 2018 World Cup Qualifying campaign. The two shows will debut on all podcast platforms, including Spotify and iTunes on December 9th.

“Our goal with ‘Orange Slices’ is to dive deeper into the challenges and opportunities facing the current generation of players as both elite athletes and outspoken personalities in a time of global cultural change,” Pearce, who is also FSV’s Chief Creative Officer, said. “My role is to provide Mark and our guests with a bit of perspective on where we’ve come from as a soccer nation, and to help guide a lively conversation that takes fans beyond the on-field discussion. Our athletes have a lot to say, and this podcast provides a megaphone to connect with the diverse soccer community in this country.”

“It’s exceedingly rare for an up-and-coming player like me to have the platform not only to share my experiences with the Union and the USMNT, but also those of my peers, who may actually have a very different experience themselves,” McKenzie added. “’These episodes aren’t just for fans, but also a younger audience seeking great storytelling. In many ways these are universal stories of the struggles and successes and lives of athletes, many of whom I admire and work with, and continue to learn from as well. We think it will be a unique narrative journey many will enjoy and share.”

Through rotating segments, the show will explore the unique culture of American soccer, from the muddy fields and halftime orange slices of youth soccer to the biggest games won and lost on the world’s stage. Each episode will incorporate classic stories and learning examples with a fresh perspective from the younger generation reshaping the game in America.

SBG Sports Software Inc Launches With New Office In Chicago

SBG Sports Software is excited to announce the opening of its new North American operation based out of Chicago, IL. headed up by recently appointed VP of Sales and Business Development, Joe Schrimpl.

SBG Sports Software Incorporated will strengthen SBG’s growth in Major League Soccer and US motorsports series whilst offering enhanced local support for existing customers. This investment comes as a direct result of increasing demand for SBG’s next generation sports analytics applications RaceWatch, MatchTracker and Focus.

The appointment of Joe Schrimpl represents a strategic move to expand the SBG product suite to support additional elite sports across North America. Schrimpl is joining with over 20 years of award-winning success in sales and operations throughout the sports technology space. Schrimpl served in various capacities for over 7 years at XOS Digital Inc, serving as Account Manager to numerous professional and collegiate football, basketball and hockey teams for video and data analysis and instant replay. Schrimpl was also a part of National Championship Football staffs, directing the Video and Operations Department at the University of Southern California for nearly 7 years. Schrimpl began his career in sports technology assisting Football, Basketball and Soccer staffs at the University of Miami, Fl and Drake University respectively.

SBG’s global leadership position in professional sports is reflected by customers in 40 countries across 4 continents, with local partners in Spain, Germany, Japan and Australia. A new base in Chicago gives SBG access to elite sports throughout the US and Canada, perfectly located to further enable customer support and new market development across 3 time zones.

Gareth Griffith, CEO of SBG Sports Software comments on the expansion into the US: “Over the last few years we have been applying SBG technology with great success in elite level sports including Formula 1, Premier League football and Six Nations rugby. It has been a long-held ambition to expand into North American sports, which I have personally followed enthusiastically for many years. We are delighted that Joe Schrimpl is joining us to lead our US organisation. His appointment reflects our continued commitment to industry expertise, and we look forward to making significant impact in the US market.”

Joe Schrimpl: “I’ve been in the sports technology industry for many years and SBG’s reputation and position within the market is second to none. Coaching and analysis staff are in constant pursuit of that competitive edge and they deserve a technology partner that is equally competitive, dependable and innovative. SBG brings a unique and unparalleled approach to elite sports data and visualization applications to the US sports industry. I’m thrilled to be joining the SBG Team.”