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Digital expert adds English flavor to soccer sites

04/10/2017, 2:15am CDT
By Loren Nelson

Webmaster of the Week: April 10-16

Name: Lizzie Seedhouse

Site: United Soccer League

Position: Vice President, Digital

Use of platform: Branded mobile, League, Registration, Sitebuilder

Background: Seedhouse grew up in Sheffield, England, where her knowledge of the U.S. was limited to the usual stereotypes. “I didn’t have much exposure,” she said. “All I knew about was yellow cabs, big buildings, loud Americans, steaks.” An extended adjustment period was required, then, when an 18-year-old Seedhouse settled in small-town Florida (St. Leo, a far northern suburb of Tampa with a population of about 1,300). “I didn’t have a car for the first three years, and nothing was within walking distance,” said Seedhouse, who played on the Saint Leo University women’s soccer team. “It was pretty different.” Food, in particular, is passion for Seedhouse. “I just love to eat,” she said. Unfortunately for her, true home-style cooking has been hard to find. “I always find English food never lives up to expectations,” she said. Seedhouse spent the previous six years working in digital-focused roles for multiple companies in the Tampa Bay area before taking a Digital Director position with the United Soccer League in 2016. She now serves as Vice President, Digital for the USL, a 30-team professional men’s soccer league that was founded in 2011.

What she does: Seedhouse oversees the digital operations for the USL, which includes the league’s website as well as websites for the USL-sponsored Premier Development League and Super Y League. The USL site launched on the SportsEngine platform more than a year ago and is the realization of Seedhouse’s exhaustive research of other soccer league and team sites. “I looked at 20 different professional leagues and clubs,” she said. “What did we see most common in terms of widgets? What content did they produce? What did they have for statistics and where would they live?” While Digital Network Manager Adam Satz handles much of the in-the-trenches daily webmaster duties, Seedhouse focuses on bigger-picture website strategies and initiatives. She ensured that the league’s statistics, as provided by Opta, are embedded seamlessly on the site. She also monitors Google analytics to better understand how sections of the site and article types are performing. Seedhouse said the recent addition of a Player finder page, linked to in the main navigation, has been a big traffic driver.

Making her mark: Seedhouse routinely checks page load times, leading to a redesign of the formerly photo-heavy USL home page into more of a link- and text-based page loaded with content aggregators. “Page load speed was going slower because of the big images,” she said. “Now, from a user experience standpoint, it is better because it runs much quicker.”

Fun fact: Seedhouse served as a co-captain of the women’s soccer team at Saint Leo and in 2008 as a senior was a second-team All-Sunshine State Conference selection.

 
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    Loren Nelson

    About the Author

    Loren Nelson is Community Manager at SportsEngine. He is also the National Media Editor and has served in a variety of other customer facing and media roles since 2009.

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    Tag(s): Webmaster of the Week