Protect Your Organization from Email Scams

A few years ago, Demosphere posted about the topic of Email Scams and how to protect yourself. This issue has recently re-surfaced with a few of our clients reporting being the victim of email scams.

In one recent situation, the scam involved an email being sent “from” the President of the Club to the Club’s Treasurer, asking for money to be wired into a specific bank account. Unfortunately, the wire transfer was processed and the money has thus vanished from the Club. Local authorities are working to uncover the source, however it’s improbable that the funds will ever be recovered.

These situations are real and it’s important to learn what you can do to prevent them. Below are some recommendations to help protect the Demosphere community:data privacy

  • Keep passwords secure:  It’s important to keep your passwords safe to avoid unauthorized use of your accounts. Check out our previous post for some tips on managing password security.
  • Verify all financial transactions: If someone in your organization asks you to transfer funds, always question and verify the validity of the request first. In this case it truly is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Don’t post personal email address on your public website: Demosphere recommends using one generic contact email address for your organization on your public website, such as Keep board member, administrative and coaching staff emails private.
    • Demosphere’s WebWriter® CMS  product allows you to create protected content pages, so you can ensure your members have access to the info they need, without exposing your organization to potential phishing scams.Data Privacy
  • Protect your member data: Be sure to review the Privacy Policy of your database provider(s) to ensure contact info, such as email address, are kept private and secure.
    • Part of Demosphere’s mission is to maintain an ethical approach to data privacy to protect the privacy of the children and volunteers in our youth sports community.

Have you had a related experience? Post a comment below and let the Demosphere Community know what to watch out for!

The Travel vs Club Soccer Conundrum

School is out and summer is in full swing. This means pool days, ice-cream, summer camps, and registering for fall sports!

Every parent with a child enrolled in youth sports at some point faces the travel sports conundrum. With all of the options, opportunities, and outside pressures – deciding if competitive travel sports is right for your child is often a stressful decision.

Youth soccer is one of the sports where the more competitive and intense versions are often suggested by coaches, players, and peers.

The sheer volume of options available in the U.S. is often overwhelming, and numerous questions arise. Is my child ready for such intense competition? Will they want to play soccer that many days of the week? Will it be too much pressure for him/her?

If your family is contemplating joining the competitive soccer ranks, there are multiple factors you’ll want to consider to help guide you toward the correct decision for your child.

Time Commitment

A true dedication to travel soccer often means much less time and opportunity for athletes to play other sports. If your young player enjoys participating in multiple sports, enrolling in a travel program might cause scheduling conflicts. Before fully committing to a travel program, you want to make sure that he/she is ready to potentially put other sports on the bench in order to dedicate more time to soccer.

Financial Commitment

financial-equipmentIt’s no secret that travel sports can be quite expensive, and travel soccer is no exception. Between the equipment, team fees, coaching fees, and travel expenses the dollars can really stack up. The more involved your child becomes in the world of travel soccer, the more money and time will be required. Before you and your athlete choose travel soccer, be prepared for a greater financial commitment in exchange for a competitive playing experience.

Physical Toll

Players and parents new to the travel soccer scene often realize that the play is much more intense and often more physical. You want to make sure that your child knows about, and is ready for, the elevated intensity and aggression that comes with competitive soccer.

Learning Experience

learning-experienceThe higher level of competition and lack of guaranteed play time helps young athletes learn discipline and determination. Coaches and players alike take the sport more seriously at the travel level. The teams practice frequently and the players are often required to come to training and games prepared and ready to give 100%. The competitiveness usually requires the players to practice more, both by themselves and with their team, in order to keep their fitness and technical abilities at a high level.

Opportunity To Play More

If your child truly loves soccer, the opportunity to specialize in soccer can be extremely helpful in their soccer-development. If you know your child has the talent and love of the game, the chance to play year-round and sharpen their skills for more than just a few months at time is priceless. Specialization can sometimes be a negative, but if your child is serious about competing at the highest level possible, travel soccer provides the opportunities that other organized sports cannot.

Chance To Improve

improve-skillsAt the end of the day, travel soccer is meant to provide young athletes with the chance to become better soccer players. The increased competition, intensity, superior coaching, and better players around him/her will make them better soccer players. A child who is ready to take the next step and improve his/her game, must have increased competition and better training. While you must be careful to choose the right club, travel soccer as a whole provides the higher quality training and competition that recreational soccer cannot.

Deciding if travel soccer is right for your child is not a decision that you should take lightly as it’s definitely a choice that will effect your entire family. That being said, the fundamental reason for travel soccer is to make your child better at soccer. If your son or daughter has a love for the world’s game and a desire to become a better player, travel soccer (as time consuming and costly as it can be) is your best bet.

Speaking from personal experience, I am extremely appreciative of my parents for giving me the opportunity to play travel soccer and compete against some of the best. I know that they had to make some sacrifices to give me the opportunity, but it gave me the chance to mature and grow both as a player and a person.

What do you think? Have you been involved in travel soccer or are you thinking about getting involved? Be sure to share your stories/thoughts in the comments below!

Demosphere Volunteers At Local SoccerFest 2016

There’s no better feeling for a sports lover than spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon out at the field surrounded by young athletes that have an intense passion and energy for the game they love to play.

Over the weekend, Demosphere’s team of Account Representatives spent the day volunteering at Soccerfest, a two-day celebration of soccer, camaraderie, and fun.

SoccerFest, a local Demosphere client out of Movern Park, serves as the biggest, and most dynamic small-sided (4v4) youth and adult soccer tournament festival in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Roughly 130 teams traveled to the D.C. area on Saturday to compete on 20 different fields. The day’s event was estimated to have drawn in approximately 3,000 players, parents, coaches and spectators.

Director of Sales, Andy Megas, along with Reps Madeline Horner, Todd Baybutt, Connor Massei, and Hassam Langah assisted with morning registrations, check-in, and field marshaling/score reporting.

Thank you, SoccerFest, for letting Demosphere get involved in such a great event!

Andy Megas and Madeline Horner pictured with Brian Bishop, Steve Winter and members of Sage-BWF.
Account Representatives Hassam Langah, Madeline Horner, and Director of Sales Andy Megas.
Connor Massei, Madeline Horner, and Andy Megas strike a pose with a Celtic Soccer Association team.
We always love to get out to the field and see our clients in action. Let us know where we should go next! Send your suggestions to

What’s Sending Millions of Young Athletes To The ER?

Youth sports in America are different than they used to be 15 years ago…or even just 5 years ago. There are more than 38 million youth playing organized sports each year, plus the number that participate in recreational games.

Children are starting younger, specializing sooner, and playing more competitively.

sports-injuryWith some young athletes now beginning their athletic careers as young as age four, the line between “athlete” and “youth athlete” becomes fuzzy.

As a nation, we often forget that although talented, young players have yet to develop fully. Children’s bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are still growing – and that means they’re much more prone to injury.

Still experiencing bone growth, the areas at the end of long bones where cartilage is developing is still weak compared to other ligaments and tendons. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a small injury (like a twisted ankle that might result in a sprain in an adult athlete) could potentially result in a much more serious bone injury in developing children.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital reported sports injuries as the second leading cause of emergency room visits for children and adolescents. Roughly three million children are sent to the ER for sports-related injuries, while another five million are treated by a primary care physician or a sports medicine clinic.

Common Youth Sports Injuries

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, some of the more common types of youth sports injuries include:

  • Sprains and Strains
  • Growth Plate Injuries
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries
  • Heat-Related Illnesses

In 2013, USA Today released statistics for the most common diagnoses seen in ERs for youth sports related injuries. Ranking first place for the most common injury was Strain/Sprain. Fractures, Contusions, and Concussions were all on the list.

As for where on the body they occur, Ankles were the most common location – followed closely by Head and Fingers.

PSafe Kids Worldwide, based on hospital ER reports, 2012
Janet Loehrke, USA TODAY

Depending on the sport, the type of injuries may also differ. For example, basketball’s most common injuries include sprains, strains, fractures, scrapes/cuts, and dislocations. Football’s most common injuries range from sprains, to strains, pulled muscles, soft tissue tears, broken bones, internal injuries, concussions, and back injuries.

Proper Treatment

The first, and most important factor in properly treating a youth sports injury is to have it evaluated by a medical professional. Any injury involving swelling and/or loss of movement or strength should be taken to a physician immediately.

If you believe an injury to be minor, evaluate the area after a few days. If it has not healed itself, it’s time to go to the doctor. Small injuries that fail to heal properly can result in a chronic issue.

The R.I.C.E. Strategy

Nationwide Children’s Hospital recommends using the R.I.C.E. treatment plan after an injury has occurred.

Rest – Avoid using the injured area until it can be properly evaluated by a medical professional.

Ice – Use ice to help minimize the pain and swelling to the area. Apply ice to the area in 15-20 minute increments. Icing should be performed during the first 48-72 hours after the injury has occurred.

Compression – Apply elastic wrap below the injured area, wrapping upward, to help reduce swelling. If using elastic wrap/compression socks, always leave toes/fingers exposed and keep an eye out for numbness or discoloration.

Elevation – Prop the injured area higher than the heart.


Injury Prevention

There are several strategies available to help prevent sports injuries in youth players before they happen.

  • Wear the appropriate protective gear and make sure all pieces fit the athlete properly.
  • Always warm-up before starting to play.
  • Keep hydrated especially in intense heat.
  • Do not put repetitive stress on immature muscle-bone areas as these may result in overuse injuries.
  • Participate in multiple sports, not just one sport, year-round.
  • Limit the number of teams a young athletes joins over one season.
  • Have a physician screen young athletes for a preseason physical examination.

Do you have a strategy that helps keep the young athletes in your life safe? Add it to the comments section below!

Richmond Kickers’ Game to Provide Unique Opportunity for Local Youth

Demosphere client and USL club, Richmond Kickers, will have the opportunity to test their mettle against some of the best in the world this July.

Photo Credit: Richmond Kickers

World-renowned soccer club, Swansea City AFC, will be in Richmond, Virginia for an exhibition match on July 16, 2016 as part of their preseason tour to prepare themselves for their upcoming season.

This will be the club’s third American preseason tour. The previous two have been instrumental in preparing them for successful seasons, and the club is hoping for more of the same this year.

Both Swansea City and the Richmond Kickers are excited for the upcoming showdown. For Swansea, the game provides the club and players an opportunity to tune up for a long and arduous 2016-2017 Premier League campaign.

For Richmond, the match is an incredible chance for the USL players to compete against some of the world’s best.

Amazing Opportunity for Youth Soccer

Photo Credit: Swansea City

The match will be an incredible opportunity for not just the two clubs, but also for American youth soccer.

Swansea City AFC competes in the Barclays Premier League, which is perceived by many as the best football (soccer) league in the world. The Welsh club regularly competes against the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool FC, and Arsenal FC.

The Swans (as they are nicknamed) not only play against some of the world’s most talented players, but are themselves home to several world-class footballers.

Fans and young American soccer players will have the chance to see a Premier League team and players up-close and personal.

The Richmond youth who play, watch, and study the game are not often presented with such a unique viewing experience. Richmond locals will be able to watch soccer of the highest quality right in their own backyard!

The Benefits of Preseason Tours

European teams who play in the dominant leagues and come to America for games provide learning experiences for local youth and fun events for families.

As more and more of America’s youth grow up playing soccer, and continue to play soccer longer, opportunities like the Richmond/Swansea exhibition match become increasingly important in fostering an American love for the world’s game.

What do you think? Which teams would you like to see play in America? Let us know in the comments below!