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Mucking With Sparky

By H.B. Mertz, 03/03/12, 11:31AM EST


This Saturday morning, Lee Hannant, an up-and-comer at YESsoccer and our Chicago Fire Soccer In The Community @FireSITC affiliate, got up early and drove to Naperville, Illinois to conduct a promotional session for our upcoming Club Talent School there.  

That's good stuff on any given Saturday. Players and their parents are out in force and we have the privilege of building a sense of soccer community. 

But it's great stuff when you consider that Lee was dressed as Sparky Dalmation, the official ambassador of the Chicago Fire Kids Club.

I know that it's unfair to single out Lee for recognition. @YESsoccer has a team of lads across the country who are not above anything that will make a customer, partner, or teammate look good. 

But - really - how often do you see a regional director in a dog costume? 

At YESsoccer we call this "mucking," and if you've ever outworked an opponent in your own end of the pitch or rink, blocked a breaking ball in the dirt, made a form tackle when you were hurt or tired, or hit drivers on the range in a cold drizzle, you know what we mean.

Mucking is a prized habit at YESsoccer. Those who muck earn more opportunity; those who don't are invited to seek opportunity with another company.   

Mucking was on the top of the whiteboard last October when YESsoccer COO Matt Brown and I sat in his living room and listed the values, habits, and outcomes that we now call our "YESsoccer DNA."  

We keep that DNA on a one-page flow chart that only our YESsoccer team understands, like the laminated play sheets that offensive coordinators in the NFL use to call the plays in from the sidelines. It's our play sheet, too.  

Hanno is just a rookie with us, but he's making sound decisions and representing the Chicago Fire Soccer Club well. He told me a few weeks ago that when he's not sure what to do, he just makes sure his actions are in alignment with our YESsoccer DNA. 

Well done, lad. 

So Lee has now been tasked with developing new soccer relationships for us outside of Chicago and Illinois, expanding into the Fire's homegrown territories of Indiana and Wisconsin. He's also leading our growing relationship with AYSO clubs in the Midwest. 

More mucking, more opportunity...

Lee Hannant is a Regional Director for Chicago Fire Soccer In The Community @FireSITC. Contact him at

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