Amateur Sports Marketing Case Study

The Client

Shaping a Legacy for One of Country’s Most Respected Amateur Sport Leagues at 50 with Integrated Marketing Support

Washington Youth Soccer is one of the most respected amateur soccer leagues in the country. It serves as an elite development program for the official ‘US Soccer’ and ‘US Youth Soccer’ teams and its alumni includes global legends like Michelle Akers, Deandre Yedlin, and Jordan Morris. Approaching its 50th anniversary, the organization began a process of refreshing its brand and online presence in preparation to drive interest and support the next generation of the Pacific Northwest’s most promising young athletes.

The Pain Point

Adapting to Constituent Expectations

Demand for soccer in the United States has grown exponentially alongside pop culture’s increasing familiarity with the sport. Over that time, Washington Youth Soccer  has seen a significant shift in how players and their families learn about and interact with the organization. They include an obvious shift to digital engagement including the use of mobile web, social media, and email as its primary recruitment and communications tools. It also included deeper strategic changes in the organization’s positioning, including messaging that places stronger emphasis on pedagogy that nurtures the whole athlete, not just skills development.
Despite being one of the longest running and most popular organized soccer programs in the Pacific Northwest, the organization’s decades-old brand and website no longer represented its target audience; competing leagues soon began to fill in these gaps and bleed away elite talent. The organization needed a modernized communications strategy, including visual and editorial design, to help bring it in line with current expectations and ensure consistency between storytellers. That included an integrated workflow for weaving them into an seamless omnichannel story that resonated with its more contemporary audience.
The Strategy

An Integrated Marketing Strategy

Our integrated strategy focused on re-aligning key visual and editorial aspects of the brand’s underlying narrative to convey a brand deeply familiar with the professional soccer ecosystem and best positioned to help athletes navigate it with success.


We deconstructed the organization’s existing style - retaining the most recognizable assets, updating and creating definition around the rest, and aggregating them into a communications system that could be used to build compelling and consistent stories.



As part of our ongoing engagement, Catalyst created a wide variety of multimedia assets and collateral to support the organization’s objectives from slide decks to informational one pagers, to social media collateral that grew engagement with the organization.



Our team leveraged the updated brand materials to build a newly mobile-optimized 300+ page website focused on accessibility, discovery, and engagement. Our process included information architecture, content, design, development, and project management.


Collaborative Project Management at Scale

We kicked off the tactical brand and website projects with a month-long iterative process that allowed project stakeholders to provide real time input and feedback through video-based sprint meetings and email follow up. In a similar process, we began to assess hundreds of pages of online content as part of redefining its website’s information architecture. Once our team completed the brand refresh, we began blocking, skinning, and prototyping the organization’s new website. Sprint meetings ensured that stakeholders were able to provide ongoing feedback and allow our team to move forward, on schedule. After completing the tactical objectives, ongoing projects are managed collaboratively through the organization’s assigned project manager via chat and email channels.

“Working with Catalyst has been a great solution for us. They’re responsive, professional, and creative. It’s great to have such a wide pool of resources within arm's reach that understands our mission and brand and is able jump in to assist on new projects with very little notice. I can’t recommend them enough for nonprofit organizations."


An Amateur Sports League Marketing Strategy that Worked

Washington Youth Soccer’s updated brand and website launched just before the organization’s 50th anniversary to positive feedback from its board of directors, families, and sponsors. The organization’s ability to communicate its story, including elite player development, leagues, tournament play, and coaching, as well as its track record of community leadership, in a more compelling and organized way have been a vital part of increasing athlete engagement. Despite an ensuing eighteen month (pandemic induced) pause in competition, the organization has seen an 15% uptick in growth over that time, driven by more deeply engaged young athletes, families, and partners.

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