2020 Year in Review – Product Update Highlight Reel

Each year, our Product Team has several planned major enhancements. In 2020, our most significant planned update was Mobile-First Registration. However, when COVID-19 emerged, we listened to your feedback and made several additions to our plans to help you navigate the challenges of the shutdown.

Here are some of our most noteworthy updates from the past year.

Club Feature Enhancements

User Experience & Value Add

Mobile-First Registration: Sports Connect’s Mobile-First Registration experience was designed for mobile devices and built for users who are on the go. This solution allows participants the opportunity to sign up easily from anywhere and using any device.

Google Translate: In an effort to make it easy for non-English speakers to register their players, we have made Google Translate available within the new Mobile-First Registration experience. This enhancement will allow users to select their language for registration.

Registration Insurance: With Sports Connect, your parents/players can opt into registration insurance through our partner, SecureFee™. Registration insurance comes at zero cost to your league, meaning you are not responsible for any refunds and do not lose what has already been paid.

Personalizing Fan Wear Purchases: During registration, parents may personalize their Fan Wear purchases by specifying the name and/or number to print on the back of select garments.

CaptainU: Our CaptainU integration provides tools athletes need to help them achieve their dreams of being recruited to play college sports. Players and their parents can begin creating a free online recruiting profile during registration to start connecting with college coaches.

COVID-19 Response

Credits: Many of our partners experienced a higher than normal volume of cancellations due to COVID-19. To eliminate the need to refund money back to families, this new feature allows account credits to be provided and applied to future seasons.

Adjustable Payment Plan Dates: While you could always edit payment plan due dates & amounts for manual payment plans, we worked quickly to provide you the ability to edit the payment plan due dates and amounts for ARB (Automatic Recurring Billing) payment plans. So for parents needing additional flexibility paying their open balances, you can now make these adjustments on the fly while still maintaining the convenience of automatic payments.

Business and Program Management

Individual Merchant Accounts: Major accounting enhancements that positively impact when your organization receives registration funds, improved financial reporting, and will give you more control and flexibility over common order management processes. 

Zero Cost Programs: We value growing youth sports and want to provide our customers with the option to open up zero-cost registrations (for unique programs such as camps, clinics, and fundraisers) without paying any associated fees.

Association Feature Enhancements

Business & Program Management

New Billing Solutions:

  • Split Pay:  Associations whose member organizations are using Sports Connect for Club registration can now utilize our split pay model.  Split pay includes real-time payment collection of both association & club fees at check out.  Fees are deposited directly into the corresponding association and club bank accounts, offering an efficient alternative to invoicing.
  • Online Invoice Management: Associations now have the option of automatically invoicing their members, managing payments, and reconciling billing online with our new turnkey module. This module is tailored to meet your specific business needs and offers custom billing periods to automatically post charges and credits to be paid online by your Clubs or Leagues.  Alert notifications are automatically sent when a new balance has been posted.

Data Insights: Association Insights introduces interactive data visualizations in our reporting experience. Bringing your data to life, our first series of widgets is focused on identifying critical seasonal trends. Player retention metrics and Club growth analytics provide a detailed view of your organizational health, laying the foundation for development and outreach opportunities.

Affiliate Sanctioning Module: Re-engineered our fully customizable membership registration module to support an organization’s lowest tier (typically the club tier) making this powerful module available for multiple levels depending on an organization’s business rules. Allows for the building of membership boards, collection of membership fees, and custom data and documents. 

Tournament Sanctioning Module:  Managing and approving tournaments is now even easier with our improved configuration workflows, online payment collection, and automated email notifications. Our new document upload feature allows organizations to collect custom labeled documentation during the application process and to receive system notifications when applications are submitted.

Upload Module Enhancements:

  • New supplemental logic to streamline the upload process
  • Supports both Admin & Player applications
  • Seasonal single application vs multiple applications rules and multi-rostering rules are enforced by season
  • If adding a player or admin to an active team, new logic puts the player/admin in a ‘hold’ status, then checking team activation rules prior to adding to the active roster

Messaging Module Enhancements:

  • Audiences are now generated using live registration data and are based on an individual’s seasonal application(s) in combination with numerous user/club/league/team/role filters
  • New Filters added including risk status, player age, and team-based filters

Safety & Compliance

Integrated Risk Management & Player Safety: Team Admins & Volunteers are now able to view their current risk status in real-time and, in select states, submit a background check directly from their local club’s My Account page. Additionally, Admins & Volunteers can view and upload certificates based on the Association’s unique player safety & compliance rules directly from their local club’s My Account page. When certificate images are uploaded, they are automatically pushed to, and displayed in, their Association profile. 

Organization Level Compliance Widget: Provides a quick snapshot of risk management and compliance initiatives including background check, certificate, waiver/ELA, and photo statuses for the entire organization so that Governing Bodies can quickly identify individuals pending a compliance requirement and communicate directly with the specific audience.

Safesport Integration: Was upgraded to support new trainings with added system logic to auto verify certification status of API results with enhanced expiration configurations. 

U.S. Soccer Learning Center Integration:

  • Integration built around USSF IDs used for unique 1:1  matching
  • Association logic provides multiple automated initial match-up points in the seasonal flow 
  • Dual supplemental manual match-up features available
  • Subscription service retrieves any future results for established matches
  • Training updates and results passed for Referees, Coaches, Team Admins (coaching licenses, referee grades, safety trainings)
  • Coaching License and Referee Grade ranking tools configurable by org, allowing organizations to recognize org/state-specific trainings in conjunction with the Learning Center offering
  • Display of status and historical results in multiple platform locations
  • SafeSport results handled in parallel with the SafeSport.org integration, including verification rules and expiration logic

Tournaments & Seasonal Play

Tournament Wizard Refresh: Scheduling Tournaments has never been easier when using our new Tournament Wizard. Simply choose your scheduling method, and we will walk you through the rest with intuitive  Step-by-Step scheduling setup instructions.

Compete Connect App: Updated tournament & competition based app, integrated with the organization’s tournament & gaming module. Built around each competition, the user experience is populated with association data, schedules, stats & standings.  Digital Player cards provide real-time compliance tracking of player eligibility.

Enhanced Release & Transfer Functionality: Additional tools and features to fully enforce organization-specific business rules across both the organization’s team registrations and its competition side.

Additional Tournament Enhancements:

  • Club passing rule configuration at age-group level
  • Additional roster controls for loaner players
  • Active roster size controls
  • Developmental player passing controls at the individual, team, and competition level
  • Play-up and to/from flight logic enhancements
  • Additional scoring controls

User Experience & Value Add

My Account Interface Refresh: An updated My Account experience was introduced this year to complement our new risk management & player safety integrations and also provide cohesion when navigating between platforms using our Single Sign On experience.