WPS fans can voice their opinions each week on #WPSchat

Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) fans always have something to say about teams, players, and the league. And with the emergence of Twitter, fans can easily interact with other fans, and even do a little trash talking. Bill Tammick came up with an idea to bring WPS fans together even more, so they could voice their opinions together and have a discussion each week. Tammick created the #WPSchat on Twitter.

Every Monday, from 8-9:30 p.m. (Eastern time), Tammick hosts the #WPSchat. Twitter users can log in to tweetchat.com, type in #WPSchat in the hashtag box at the top of the page, and they’re directed into what’s essentially a Twitter chat room to join others who get together each week to talk about WPS.

“Last January, I had just started blogging and opened my Twitter account.  At the same time that I was learning about these platforms, I also jumped into the WPS community and noticed how excited and engaged it is,” Tammick said. “Christine (Turnier) brought Twitter chats to my attention, so we decided to launch a WPS chat together. We didn’t realize it then, but the convergence of the WPS online community and Twitter is a powerful combination.”

Tammick’s first-ever #WPSchat took place April 19, 2010, and each week, he posts a set of questions on his blog, Pitch Side View. He often takes suggestions from fans during the week, asking what they want to discuss in future #WPSchat sessions. What started out as a small discussion amongst a few Twitter friends has evolved into a forum that’s frequented not only by fans, but by WPS general managers, coaches, and even players. Some of the WPS personnel just watch the chat as it goes along, while others, including former Sky Blue FC General Manager Gerry Marrone, interact on a regular basis. Players like Western New York Flash and Canadian Women’s National Team defender Candace Chapman participated in a recent chat.

“The growth is in part due to the support given by members of the WPS community. We’ve had players, general managers, and bloggers participate, which adds another layer to the chat experience,” Tammick said. “It was started out of passion for a sport that Christine and I love. We wanted to bring attention to a group of athletes that were not getting the recognition we believe they deserve.”

The subject matter each week usually focuses on a common theme. Past #WPSchats have talked about people’s favorite players and what that player brings to the team, WPS plays of the week, the Project Pink initiative, player transactions, and getting thoughts about what WPS fans want to see more or less of or even some suggestions they have for teams. It often turns into quite an interesting and insightful discussion.

“The high-level of engagement and passion plus Twitter’s fast-paced platform makes for a lively and loyal event every week,” Tammick said. “Christine and I look at it as a virtual pub where a community meets to chat about what they are most passionate about, (and we) are regularly impressed with the level of engagement and the quality of comments. Although there are some fun-loving tweets, those are out numbered by insightful comments.  The chat is a place where people talk about their favorite players and teams, but also larger issues facing the league like the long-term success of the WPS, player value, and the marketability of women’s sports.”

Tonight is Tammick’s 40th #WPSchat. Even though the 2010 WPS season ended last September and the 2011 season doesn’t begin until April, Tammick kept the weekly chat going through most of the offseason. He talked about how far it’s come since that first chat.

“There were eight contributors to the first chat,” Tammick said. “There were 250 comments, averaging about 30 per participant, proving our theory that though the WPS fan base may be small right now, they sure have a lot to say. Almost all the contributors from the first chat continue to join the discussion. Our growth from that first chat has been steady, mixing regular contributors with new ones every week. Honestly, we’re really amazed and grateful. We get to talk with other fans about the sport we love every week.”

#WPSchat takes place Monday nights from 8-9:30 p.m. on tweetchat.com. As an alternative, users can also log in tweetgrid.com to join in on the chat.