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January 17, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Ex-USL Sounders captain Danny Jackson talks about Korrio

korrio.jpgThe other day I got the chance to catch up with Danny Jackson, a name some of the seasoned soccer fans in the area surely remember. The former captain of the USL Sounders is the director of business development for a new company called Korrio.

Korrio is a technology platform that hopes to simplify the youth sports world, specifically soccer. I’ve heard it likened to Facebook for youth sports. The company’s CEO and founder is Steve Goldman. Advisors include Damon Huard, a former UW Husky quarterback who played in the NFL, and Blair Rasmussen, who played several seasons in the NBA.

Be sure to check out the Korrio website, which will give you a good idea to what the product is about. As will this press release and the following Q&A with Jackson. Oh and I got some Sounders FC questions in there as well.

* * *

(Q: What is Korrio all about?)

Jackson: “Korrio is a technology platform that integrates the youth sports experience from an end-to-end solution. Our whole goal is to transform the sports experience and elevate the level at which sports are played by using state-of-the-art technology. We have an incredibly gifted group of people. The team is very experienced coming from the sports side and also the technology side. We want to create an environment where we simplify people’s lives, whether it’s administrating youth organizations (or helping) families facing elements such as scheduling and last-minute changes and communication. We want to use state-of-the-art technology to really bring those pieces together.”

(Q: How was the idea conceived and how have you gotten to where you are now?)

Jackson: “CEO Steve Goldman has a long and established track record in technology space. He was the CEO of a company called Isilon. His whole goal was to use technology to really foster the needs of the sports community. From personal experience, he found difficulty in doing the things he needed to do as a parent: registration and communicating to his kids’ teams. With his experience in technology and his real passion for youth sports he managed to pull together a great group of people that have the same characteristics and the same goals. We use the experience that all of us have in the fields of sports and technology and provide the platform on which to service the greater sports market. The sports market is huge. There are 44 million kids that play the game, whether it be one sport or multiple sports. And when you think about all the people that are connected to the youth sports experience, whether it’s parents, grandparents, different family members and friends, it really hits many, many people in all sorts of different areas of the country. We thought we could use the experience that we have, the passion that we have for youth sports, and bind it together to create a state-of-the-art technology platform.”

(Q: You were recently at the NSCAA coaches’ convention. Along with that, how have you been trying to get the word out on your product?)

Jackson: “Certainly we spent a lot of time researching the market and designing the product that we’ve now built. We spent time in Washington state. The technology was provided for Washington Youth Soccer, the state organization. We provide the technology platform for the Sounders academy all the way down to recreational clubs. So the focus was certainly in the Washington state area. The opportunity (last) week to come to the NSCAA convention was to really do a national launch. To really get ourselves out into the wider world of youth soccer and certainly youth sports in general. We showcased and introduced what Korrio is and what we’re trying to do. We’ve been incredibly excited by the response we’ve got. A lot of people are inquiring about our product, wanting to find out not just more information but how they can sign up. The immediate impact of sharing information and what we do is really exciting and the response we’ve gotten has matched our hopes.”

(Q: So how do people get involved? Is it something the parents sign up for? The coaches? The league administrators?)

Jackson: “Organizations, clubs, league associations, they would actually take on the product. Like I said, we do an end-to-end integrated solution, so we do the administrative tools that are required to get kids onto a field safely and securely. Then we provide the tools that families need to find out where they’re going and know about last-minute changes. I think our solution is unique in many ways because we bind the two worlds together. The club or the association would adopt the product and then all the players and the parents, the coaches, managers that really play the sports and watch the game will benefit from it without any charge.”

(Q: What are some of the long-terms goal you want to achieve with this? Are you going soccer first and then looking at branching out to other sports?)

Jackson: “We’ll use soccer as the first sport to roll Korrio out for many different reasons: gender neutral, it’s played across all areas of the country and it’s incredibly fast in terms of its growth. We feel like Korrio can help with structure and the infrastructure on the technology standpoint and certainly our product has been designed with other sports in mind. Families that have multiple kids playing on multiple teams and sports can certainly benefit from the integrated platform and solution that we provide. Again, that’s with the goal being in the mind that we keep things easy, integrated, mobile and incredible safe and secure. We have a patent pending on our technology for the safety and security aspect of it. Certainly with technology of 2011, the mobile device is incredibly important to people’s lives. We’ve really leveraged that technology platform to use with the mobile technologies that are out there now.”

(Q: What are the some most pressing challenges to you face right now? And how do you plan to overcome those?)

Jackson: “I think change of behavior is something that will be one of our challenges that we hope to overcome with just proving the model, proving that our technology will service the needs the needs of the sports community, that will make people’s lives easier. I think obviously getting the word out to all areas of the country and also just to educate people on how technology can be something incredibly beneficial, can help them in many different ways and really create that community both on the field and off the field. The way the world is now, people expect good communication, good access and we can provide with a safe and secure environment — where we recognize who you are, what you do and we provide what you’re allowed to see. First of all, we want get a kid on the field safely and securely and put a smile on their face. In doing that, again, the four pieces that we really focus on each day is we want to make things easy, integrated, incredibly safe and mobile.”

(Q: Where do people go with questions that they’ll have?)

Jackson: “Korrio.com has all sorts of information about the company and our team. Certainly we’ll provide opportunities to connect with our group. We’re based out of Seattle. You can call our office number at 206-333-2400. We’re ready and available to answer any questions regarding our product and the way we can help the sports community and the soccer community in Washington state and beyond.”

(Q: On to some personal stuff, how is post-retired life treating you and how much does soccer still play a role in your life?)

Jackson: “As a player, somewhat. I think it’s focused now on my coaching side. [From his online bio: Danny currently coaches youth soccer at Eastside FC and the Sounders FC / ODP youth development program and speaks to high schools and youth clubs regarding the far reaching impacts of youth sports.] Again, being a coach and being able to pass along my experiences and things that I’ve learned about the game is something I really enjoy now. I think soccer can be a great vehicle in teaching great characteristics that kids can take off the field as well. I think that’s what I really enjoy now is being able to combine the two passions that I have, which is always going to be sports and also technology. I love coaching the kids and educating them about the game.”

(Q: How much do you still keep up with the Sounders?)

Jackson: “Certainly I have some friends on the team, guys I played with on the old Sounders and also guys I know from being in camp with the Sounders at the very beginning. I think they’ve had a successful draft. It sounds like the players they got were people they hoped to get if they could pencil those names in. I’m sure Sigi will do a great job of bringing those guys into the squad. I think his track record of success in bringing guys out of the draft is proven. I’m sure that Seattle will benefit from the guys they picked up.”

(Q: Does the off-the-field success of the organization surprise you as someone that experienced the pre-MLS soccer community here?)

Jackson: “I think the franchise, starting with Adrian Hanauer and working down, has done an incredible job marketing and pulling in and generating such excitement about the team. I think the support was always there. We could always feel that being out in the community, whether it’d be coaching or just talking to people. Everybody resonated with the Sounders of old. There’s always some kind of story or connection to the teams that played in the ’70s and ’80s and even my time in the last 10-15 years. The passion and the support were always there. Now there’s a product on the field that can generate excitement. The way the club itself has been designed to really create this fantastic European-style experience where the fans come in, watch an exciting game, and the buzz and the excitement and the atmosphere in the stadium is really second to none.”

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