With Quick Video Snippets, Soccer Fans Learn the Newest Tips and Tricks
Providing various tips and tricks in the game of soccer while incorporating their own personal touch and music tastes, STRKR FC’s Ben and Mitch stand out from the crowd. Through their passion for the sport, they’ve been fortunate enough to work with brands like Adidas and Puma.
ZOG Digital met with the dynamic duo to talk about how they became successful influencers in the niche field, how they first met, and their aspirations for the future.
ZD: So how did you guys first meet? Tell me a little bit about your background.
Mitch: I’ve lived in Massachusetts all my life, just north of Boston. I’ve played soccer all my life too in high school and even college for a little bit. And the way we met was actually through my sister. My youngest sister also plays soccer and when signing her up for the club team, my parents thought, ‘Alright, maybe we could be one of the host families and host a coach in exchange for discounts.’ So, that’s where Ben comes in.
Ben: Yeah, so I work for the club that Mitch’s younger sister plays for. The first year I came over in 2014, when I was 19. I came over to the US and lived with Mitch’s family. I’ve lived here for almost four years now. Mitch and I got to know each other well. When he was in his senior year of high school, I was coaching. We were of similar age and had similar interests, obviously, soccer being one. But the whole family ended up just hitting it off.
I’m from England and I played all my life as well. After high school, at 16, I went straight to work as a plumber, while playing club level. When I turned 18, I was playing professional, but had a full-time job to keep up with.I lived that normal life of going to work every day straight out of school. Hated it, but I went through with it. But then the opportunity to come over to the US to coach appeared and my first reaction was, “Well that’s kind of cool, I’m going to do it!” Two or three months later, I was in Boston.
ZD: When did you guys decide to take your love of soccer and videography to social media?
Ben: I think we noticed people around us doing similar things and always thought we could do it too. Mitch and I would always go out and kick a ball about and film everything on our phones. One day it got to the stage where people on Instagram, Youtube, and other platforms were seeing success. And we said, well let’s just try it.
In our first serious session, we ended up hitting a crazy shot. So we kept trying it over and over. From there our strategy became to build on of this bank of videos, that way if we really wanted to pursue this, we’re not just stuck with one awesome video. That way, we’d always have something available and could also focus on new content.
ZD: Who is the videographer or editor when it comes to STRKR FC?
Mitch: So, I would say that Ben is the primary editor. We film on both of our phones. We don’t use a professional camera by any means. We edit away on our installed apps. It’s really simple in all honesty. Anyone could do it, it just comes down to the content of your video.
Ben: And when it comes to music, we have similar tastes. We chose what we listen to. It’s housey-electronic-hip-hop and that’s our style of music anyway.
Mitch: You’re not going to find Taylor Swift songs on any of our videos.
ZD: How did you guys promote your pages?
Ben: I think we kind of struck a bit lucky. Our third video ever posted, got reposted by an account with a high following.
After that video was reposted, we ended up with about over 1,000 followers within a month.
Mitch: Yeah, that was a crazy time. That’s honestly the main way in which we grew our following. These larger pages would repost our content and it shined a light on us. Pages like rldesignz would repost us, and they’re one of the most popular soccer pages on Instagram aside from major teams, players, and brands.
Ben: I think we really do pride ourselves on being original. We like to only post our stuff on our page. People like the fact that we’re simply who we are. The main way that we truly gained such a fan base was just being original with our high-quality videos and the content we post.
Mitch: I like to believe that we earned our followers. We’ve never purchased or done anything gimmicky in the hopes of attracting new followers to the page. We like having our followers and views to be a direct reflection of our skills and abilities.
ZD: Is there a moment that sticks out the most when it comes to exposure?
Ben: I think it might have been around New Years, where we posted our best bits of 2016 and the post just went everywhere! Every soccer page was mentioning and reposting the video. I’d refresh every minute or so and it would notify me of 50 new followers, 100 new followers and so on. It was a mad two days and my phone couldn’t even handle the massive amounts of notifications going on.
Mitch: I feel like that’s really when we took off. We weren’t necessarily a hobby page anymore. It was a more of a “wow” factor, that we could take this even further.
ZD: You guys also do some cool giveaways. Whether it’s shirts, boots, etc. Where did this idea come from?
Mitch: We’ve seen this tactic used before on other pages. Others use it as a gimmick to get followers and interactions, which is all well and good. But we genuinely do want to give back to our followers, so we wanted to show that appreciation by giving away a pair of boots.
ZD: What opportunities has STRKR FC brought your way?
Mitch: Yeah, I mean this summer was a crazy summer just full of opportunities. In mid-July, we were invited to the Adidas Tango League to go out to Los Angeles and represent the US in a US vs. UK exhibition match. It was also paired with Manchester United’s world tour, so we got to meet and hang out with them as well. It was an unbelievable experience.
Later in the summer we went to Chicago for the MLS All-Star game and helped train and foster the creativity of some of the young players out there alongside some MLS academy players. We got to be figureheads for the program. That was super surreal, because these kids knew us and had heard of us. So it was a really cool experience.
Ben: Since I’m a coach for club soccer, some of the players that I coach are little superstars and we incorporated them into our videos. It all kind of comes from the people we know from our jobs and friend groups. We live in a soccer community, so we’re just surrounded by talent and make sure to expose that.
ZD: Alright, the best player of all time. Who is it?
Ben: This is going to be a funny one!
Mitch: Well, I’m an Arsenal man, so the best player of all time is Thierry Henry.
Ben: Mine’s definitely way more generic. Mine is Cristiano Ronaldo. Sorry, I’m a Ronaldo guy.
ZD: Spanish or English league? And which team?
Ben: English all day! I’m from Southampton, so Southampton F.C. for me.
Mitch: English as well. Arsenal F.C.
ZD: What are the plans for the future? And what’s the next step for STRKR FC?
Mitch: For the brand, I think the beauty of it is that we don’t have a defined path to get these many followers and then do this, then this. I kind of like to think that as a page and partnership, we’ve opened up a lot of doors and we can take it any given way. I think we’d like to continue to cultivate a following and get to work with more brands. While we want to become commercialized, we also want to remain true to who we are. We still just post videos ourselves and only post our own content. We’ve successfully posted every other day for 393 days and that’s not something a lot of pages can say.
Ben: If we could end up as this as a full-time job for us then I think that would be the goal. To continue what we’re doing, make it our job, and do what we love to do – that’s the goal. We’ve got a great opportunity here and we really want to keep pursuing it. It’s our passion.