Online Soccer Academy, Winner of Tech Cocktail Week’s Hottest Showcasing Startups, Takes Professional Soccer Tutorials to the Web

December 16, 2012

12:23 pm

Friday night, Online Soccer Academy, an online video course lead by former professional soccer player Jared Montz, took home the title of Tech Cocktail Week’s hottest showcasing startup.

Proof that the Las Vegas-based startup is gaining traction, Montz’ recruitment strategy for votes included one short video he filmed on his smart phone shortly after getting word of inclusion to Friday’s Mixer.  “It was a little surprising and humbling to see their response,” says Montz, whose startup took home the top spot in convincing fashion.

The company’s technical founder, Dave Stevens, who currently serves a developer at Zappos, has also spent time at ESPN.  The duo have demonstrated a grasp for the online sports space, and an apparent passion for what they do, as evidenced by Montz’ authentic soccer getup at the Mixer. 

Online Soccer Academy win

Not pictured: Montz’ cleats. Really.

Tech Cocktail caught up with Montz to learn more about the soccer startup.

Tech Cocktail:  Who does Online Soccer Academy target?

Jared Montz:  We make better soccer players through free online training videos.  We target youth soccer players around the world.

Tech Cocktail:  What was the inspiration behind Online Soccer Academy?  What do you enjoy most about working on it?

Montz:  The inspiration was to solve a personal problem I had growing up and to help kids that are going through the same problem. We teach players how to practice on their own time outside of team practice. We are their backyard coach.

Coaches tell players to go home and practice but when they get home they don’t know what to do. We act as their backyard coach.

Tech Cocktail:  Who is your greatest competitor, and how do you differentiate yourself?

Montz:  Currently we are the only Online Soccer Academy on the internet. Our biggest competitor for eye balls on the “how to” soccer training videos space is 12 year old youtubers with cameras! They love making soccer videos!

We differentiate by making high quality, learning videos. We don’t just show players how to do something, we teach them. Being a former pro and soon to have other current pros making videos establishes credibility with our viewers that we are not just some average joe with a camera.

Tech Cocktail:  What is the biggest advantage and disadvantage of starting up in Las Vegas?

Montz:  The biggest advantage of doing business in Vegas is the #VegasTech community. There are a lot of great, smart, talented people here and getting to be around a tight knit group like that on a regular basis is massive.

The biggest disadvantage is that there is always something going on either for fun or business. Sometimes I wish I could add “Appearance Maker” to my job title and draw a salary for it! Just kidding.

Tech Cocktail:  Describe a challenging moment or a crucial decision for your startup. How did you deal with it, and what did you learn from it?

Montz:  Deciding when to let a part of your business go that is taking focus away from the main problem you are solving. One of those drowning in opportunity moments. We dealt with it by removing emotion from the product, decided it didn’t make sense for us to focus on, let it go and moved forward.

Tech Cocktail:  What’s one quirky fact about you, your team, or your office culture?

Montz:  Sometimes during meetings our team members have ice bags strapped to them to help heal injuries from our coed soccer games! One day we dream of having an office with a full time physical therapist and massage therapist; like a real pro soccer Training Ground!

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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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