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Rising Stars: Meet Teesta Sullivan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Teesta Sullivan.

Hi Teesta, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
When my fifteen-year-old son joined a soccer training program in Italy, I started a blog to chronicle his experiences. I was surprised at how many people reached out to me to ask how we found the program.

I realized that there are a lot of players and parents who wanted to learn about opportunities to train for soccer abroad but didn’t know where to start. Some families want a life experience. Others want to get better training with the hope of positioning themselves to play in college or professionally.

I recognized there was a need for a way to easily access information about opportunities to play and train abroad. I wanted to create a one-stop site where players and parents can go and find the information they need to learn if these opportunities are good fits for them or not.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I have been a soccer Mom at every level of US youth soccer from recreation to the US Developmental Academy. I know what parents look for in programs.

I understand the concerns they have when they consider sending a child so far from home. I know what questions they are going to want to ask because I WAS that parent. I also know some of the pitfalls that are out there and can help them navigate the system because I have been doing this for several years now.

Even so, when I initially began researching content for my site, I had some people who did not want to talk to me because I was not a coach or a player – I was “just” a soccer mom. Fortunately, I met many other wonderful coaches and players who were very happy to help me learn.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
“I have partnered with a well-known European company, Fieldoo and will be offering Pro Soccer Combines  here in the United States.  These will allow players here in the US to have tryouts for European clubs.

The international clubs that will be scouting for players include the following:

NK Celje – plays 1st division in Slovenia Prva Liga
CF Estrela Amadora SAD – plays Liga Portugal (2nd division in Portugal)
OFI Crete FC – 1st division in Greek Super League
FK Radnik Surdulica – 1st division in Serbian SuperLiga
FC Silla – 4th division in Spain
We have also been contacted by a few US coaches who would like to attend and evaluate players for their teams here in the US.

We will be covering all costs for our top players to travel to Europe and participate in trials and a soccer tour. They will receive training with real clubs and have the opportunity to try out for real teams in top leagues. They will not have to pay for their travel to Europe or for their costs during these trials. They will need to have their own passport and insurance.

Our combines are also going to be very different from what is currently being offered because we are patterning it in some ways more like an NFL combine. We will be taking measurements and tests of the players – speed, agility, response time, etc. We will also include a brief video interview of each player.

The goal is to collect data and produce a comprehensive evaluation that is based on more than a coach’s opinion. This evaluation will also allow players and parents to see where they stand in comparison to other players. This will help them know if they have what it takes to play professionally and also what areas they need to improve.
Raleigh loves soccer.

We have opportunities to help sponsor these players, so if any of your readers would be interested in learning about our sponsorship opportunities, please have them contact me.

I would love to set these up so we did not have to limit how many players we can reward with an all-expenses-paid trip to Europe for 10-12 days that would include lodging, food, training, and a couple of trials. Towards that end, I am trying to start a crowd-funding site to collect funds for that purpose.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
I do a lot of networking on LinkedIn. I have found it to be of tremendous help in finding experts in different areas to who I can go for information.

Initially, I was joining a lot of networking groups on Facebook, especially those for women. I have not found great success with these. I think some are so large that your questions/comments can get lost. Even when they offer a day when you can post information about your business, in a crowd of several thousand members, I felt like my post would very quickly get lost.

I have found success in some of the smaller, more local groups. I would be open to joining a local networking group. I recognize the value of organizations such as BNI but have not joined any such local organizations. If your magazine is creating a network of contributors and readers, I would be very interested in learning more.

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