You know how little things, like somebody in front of you in line buying you coffee, can make your day and go such a long way?
Now, imagine that happening over and over and over.
When Kelsey Trainor reached out to Sky Blue FC General Manager Alyse LaHue to ask if she could buy the team and staff coffee for a day, nobody realized what kind of a spark that would send off to others who wanted to do the same. While many people might see this as a super generous gesture on Trainor’s part, she sees it as something bigger as it relates to women’s sports, specifically soccer. “I think this on-going effort by fans is indicative that women’s sports, especially soccer, has this insane market of people who want to help support and spend their money on the game and I think you are seeing that,” said Trainor, an entertainment lawyer in New York City. “Individual people who are saying, ‘here is money out of my pocket,’ because they want to support your team in any way possible especially since we can’t go to games and buy tickets right now.”
Trainor noted she thought of the idea when she saw there was a coffee truck for players and staff at the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Challenge Cup. One message to LaHue and it was settled. Trainor credits the accessibility and transparency of the Sky Blue FC organization as her reason for being one of the first “Coffee Angels” as they have since been dubbed by LaHue and Cloud9, a Sky Blue FC supporter group. “This is just another way to tangibly and financially to lend your support to the players and to the staff who are out there working really, really hard and putting a lot of time and effort into this Cup for our entertainment,” Trainor said.
Trainor helped kickoff a fan-led, league-wide initiative to support all teams. Matt Cole, an admin of the NWSL Supporters group on Facebook, connected with fans to help raise nearly $6,000 to be shared among all the teams for coffee and other snacks. Cole also noted there is even money left over to donate to charity.
“The coffee truck was $2,000 to buy it out for the day, so if they did 10 coffees or 1000 coffees, it would be the same so I’m hoping they do a ton with the donated money,” Cole said. “I took the total amount we had raised and divided it by 8 teams, and took that amount for the Reign and Royals, because they’re in Sandy and don’t train at Zion and I worked with people from both teams to ensure we found a way to take care of them as well.” And with COVID-19 making the soccer world unpredictable beyond the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, Trainor echoed what many soccer fans have been saying about the importance of supporting the league. Whether it’s watching these games and signing up for CBS All Access or using social media as a platform, it all adds up and helps grow the game.
“Those efforts show these decision makers that it’s a bad business decision to not be championing and not promoting this league even more,” she said.
Trainor said that if she didn’t do this that somebody else would have as women’s soccer fans are incredible like that. At the end of the day she doesn’t want any credit. In fact, she credits LaHue, Sky Blue FC Head Coach Freya Coombe and the players for being her inspiration and showcasing their team in an engaged and active way as it relates to fans.
“This support Sky Blue FC is gathering from fans and supporters is a credit to them and what I think the focus should be – when you put good people in positions of power and influence then some spectacular results can occur,” Trainor said. “People connect with these players because they are relatable. Like, ‘hey, they are just like me.’ That is real. If it’s real, it’s relatable and if it’s relatable, it’s commercial and they are really tapping into that.”