All good stories have a beginning and for myself with Prost Amerika it begins with a walk down Interstate 15 in Frederick, Maryland.
When I was originally asked to step on as an editor for Prost, I was literally walking back from my second job in the middle of the night on a major highway. I had previously worked with Steve Clare, Prost Amerika’s founder, at Soccerly a site that gave me the chance to go get credentialed for D.C. United matches and attend all sort of fun international games (this was a time prior to Major League Soccer teams communications staffs being kind and friendly towards those who write on the internet).
After Soccerly’s demise (which is another story for another time) I latched on with Prost. About a year and a half later here I was having a conversation about becoming an editor.
At first the prospect of editing was a bit intimidating. Given Prost’s background in Cascadia and me living about a couple thousand miles east of the West Coast the idea of editing this site was slightly scary. My one trip as an eight-year old to Tillamook sadly did not give me a good read on the soccer culture (I did get some damn fine cheese though). My experiences as a writer led me to believe that it was a very passionate culture, but incredibly protective of itself.
Being from the Washington D.C. area I grew up in a very different soccer culture. D.C. had the 1994 World Cup, matches for the 1996 Summer Olympics, the 1999 Women’s World Cup, and of course D.C. United – one of the top clubs in North American soccer. The culture might not have forty years of history but it had twenty years at being in the center of the soccer renaissance in this country. So there was a certain level of apprehension towards being the new kid at school and bringing in a different perspective to an area with such a rich tradition and a perceived bitterness towards being slighted for so many years by MLS might be too much of a challenge.
Thankfully my preconceptions were wrong. The kindness and generosity that I have witnessed from afar from our Cascadian readership has been incredible during my tenure as editor. One of the fears that any writer in this business has isn’t that one’s work will receive negative criticism but rather they will receive no feedback at all. The response from our loyal readers in Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver has been exceptional. I had a chance to witness this first-hand while combing through our photos during this past offseason. Anytime you can post a Sounders-Timbers picture on Twitter in the middle of January and hit a record number of impressions for the site is a good day.
But it is not just our work in Cascadia that has made me proud to call Prost Amerika home. It is our work in markets like Chicago, Denver, Houston, New England, New Jersey, Orlando, Toronto and now Mexico as a whole where we have built a loyal readership and a name for ourselves. It is Crew SC supporters elated that someone took a shot of them in the stands at Providence Park. It is making a mother happy on Facebook because one of our photographers snapped a picture of her son with his hero, Jordan Morris. It is giving writers and photographers the chance to attend matches, report on a game that they are passionate about, and hone their skills for wherever their career takes them. Although seeing our staff continually put out quality work on our site is satisfying it is equally satisfying to see our staff members get opportunities elsewhere. Just this past week I was approached by a writer to write a letter of recommendation for them for a scholarship to attend the Northwestern School of Journalism.
Inside soccer, people who have written for Prost have ‘graduated’ to Sounders FC, Vancouver Whitecaps, Sports Illustrated, Portland Tribune, Fox Soccer, NYCFC, Associated Press, ESPN, and MLSSoccer.com among many others.
So where does Prost go from here? Our goal is to continue to provide top-quality, independent coverage not just in MLS and the NWSL but globally.
While it would be easy to just slap together twenty transfer rumor articles they wouldn’t be terribly good and they wouldn’t be Prost Amerika. Over the past year we have expanded our English-language coverage into Liga MX becoming one of the top independent anglophone media sources for the league. We have also opened up our full photo galleries on SmugMug for all to enjoy. We are working to expand our soccer coverage not just in European soccer but also in Africa, Asia, and in South America (at this point I would also like to say if you are interested in writing for us or our working as a photographer to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheap plug over).
We are also not going to be afraid of stirring up controversy when it is called for, in particular when it is for the rights of others. We’ve run campaigns for the rights of away fans to attend derbies in Cascadia when that was under threat, defended a diehard Rapids fan who was banned for life for verbals, and of course exposed MLS attempt to trademark the term “Cascadia Cup” for their own purposes.
It would be nice to say that politics can be left at the gates but recent incidents on pitches and in the stands across the world have proven that is just not possible. With two consecutive World Cups about to take place in countries with abhorrent human rights records it would be fair to say that we will not stay silent while FIFA and their sponsors do.
Oh, and did I mention that we will be doing an online cookbook ahead of the Gold Cup?
Prost has had an incredible run these past ten years and it is our hope that we will continue to provide each and every one of you work with a little bit of soul, a little bit of humor, and a little bit of heart. It has been one heck of a ride so far but the best is yet to come.