Thursday, December 22, 2011

AZ Almkaar's Alvarado Sending Off Justified

Kevin Giordano, SMTSU President | @KevinGiordano 

During a recent Dutch Cup match between two of the top teams in the Netherlands, Ajax and AZ Alkmaar, a curious case of fan-player violence arose and has caused controversy.

In case you missed the incident, check out the full story and watch the video. It has the global soccer community baffled and up in arms.


In summary, a 19-year old fan ran onto the pitch during the game. The fan darted toward AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper, Esteban Alvarado. Turning around just in time to see the fan lunge at him, Alvarado and the fan both jumped up to kick each other. The drunk fan missed Alvarado and fell to the ground a few feet away from the initial contact.

Alvarado swiftly ran the few steps to where the fan fell to the ground and kicked him twice, once in the abdomen and once in the leg.

Much to the uproar of the Alkmaar players, referee Bas Nijhuis responded by issuing Alvarado a red card for the incident. The referee's decision to dismiss Alvarado has soccer fans and pundits scratching their heads, wondering why a player was sent off for defending himself.


In examining whether Nijhuis made the correct decision, we have to put morals aside. What you or I would do in Alvarado's situation is irrelevant. We must view this incident through the lens of the rules of the sport, as stipulated by FIFA.

It is easiest to divide this conundrum into two pieces: before the fan is on the ground and after the fan is on the ground. As a player, Alvarado acted in self-defense when the fan lunged at him. He had the opportunity to defend himself and he did so successfully once the fan fell to the ground a few feet away from him. Just to reiterate, the fan is now face-down on the ground a couple of steps away from Alvarado. It is at this point that the goalkeeper has done his job.

However, instead of removing himself from the situation and allowing stadium security to take over the situation, Alvarado responds by running to the fan and kicking him twice. This decision, to essentially kick a subdued fan, is the reason he was sent off.

Watching the video, this was my impression. Kicking the fan was excessive and I agree with the decision to red card Alvarado. Following the game, Nijhuis reiterated this point, saying "I understand that Esteban was defending himself, but he walked to him (the supporter) and kicked him multiple times. He could also have walked away."

While many others believe the Alvarado was simply defending himself, I believe his actions were excessive. What do you think? Let us know by posting in the comments section below.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Developing Your Brand with Mike Goldstein

Don’t underestimate how a simple lunch meeting and volunteer opportunity can put a jet pack on your personal brand.  I had two incredible opportunities the week of November 14th do just that. And with the help of social media, I boosted my brand in my personal and professional worlds.   

First, I was asked to fill in for Cynthia Weiss’ undergrad Sports Marketing class, #smt201 (If you don’t know what a # does, close this window and go figure it out….NOW).  I was super nervous, but overall it went really well.  We covered the basics of social marketing in sport, and even conducted part of the class through Twitter.  I got a few giggles and could tell they were surprised when a professor told them to pull up a social network during class.  A little oxymoronic, but if you’re in the sports business world you better have a grip on how to relate to your fans. 

Obviously, you can see how this helps me get one step closer to my goal of becoming an adjunct professor once I wrap up my Masters’ Degree.  But, when I went home for Thanksgiving I had people coming up to me who I haven’t talked to lately because they saw this:

This came about during one of my regular lunches with Jen Valore.  I do my best to keep in touch with a lot of my past professors, coworkers & bosses. Not only are they a great resource to keep up with what’s going on in the industry; but if they like you, they may also be able to get you hired.  Don’t be fake about it though, because they will smell you a mile away.

The second monumental event of that week was speaking to you ladies & gentlemen, the Drexel U. Sport Management Student Union. I give you guys a lot of credit to take the initiative for starting the organization, holding each other accountable and being flat out productive.

This opportunity came about after I met Kevin at last year’s Penn Relays.  I was in his current position at Nelligan Sports Marketing at UPenn the year before.  Since then we’ve kept in touch frequently.  He’s taught me a bunch, and I hope he feels the same. 

So…we spoke about the importance of your own personal brand.  And, how social media provides you a platform to tell your story. It’s just that sometimes, it gets abused and mishandled.  Remember, a tweet is an email, bcc’d to the world.

 My top 5 takeaways from our discussion was….
-Be an initiator. Introduce yourself. Yes, it’s awkward in the beginning, but you get used to it.  Learn to love it. 
-Make your own business cards and have a professional & non-Drexel email address on there.  First impressions matter, and you need to figure out a way to be creative and stand out from the crowd. 
-Don’t underestimate yourself, and realize the huge opportunity you have as a Drexel undergrad.  You have an inside track to land you top internships in a city with too many sports teams. It’s a great problem to have. 
-This industry is very small and all about relationships.  Especially with a social media platform as Linkedin, it’s easy for your reputation to travel.  
-And last but not least, have fun and take chances.  You’re in an industry that’s going to provide you with experiences that other people would die to be paid to do.   There’s going to be tough decisions as well. Just go with your gut, work hard and it’s all going work out.
Thanks for having me and make sure we keep in touch.