When “06880” announced earlier this month that WWPT — Staples’ award-winning FM radio station — was streaming its broadcasts around the world, we never imagined we’d be part of the story.
But, wearing our other hat — as Staples’ varsity soccer coach — we quickly experienced the power of the internet.
Some of the 1st special streams were soccer broadcasts. Thanks to promotion on StaplesSoccer.com, hundreds of listeners tuned in to the Wreckers’ state tournament 2nd round match against Newtown.
They were fanatics to start with — they’d have to be, to huddle around computers during work to hear a high school soccer game — but they were treated to an amazing event. Staples — okay, we — blew a 2-0 lead, and the game was decided by penalty kicks. If you don’t know soccer, that’s like walking a tightrope without a net, blindfolded. Only far less fun.
We — okay, our kids — prevailed, when Newtown’s final kicker sent his shot sky high. Around the world — yes, there were folks listening in Europe and Asia — Staples soccer fans screamed in joy.
Wednesday night even more listeners clicked on the stream. They heard the Wreckers win another cliffhanger, this one 3-2 over previously undefeated (and #4-in-the-US) Glastonbury. Three goals in the 3 minutes before halftime stopped hearts around the world.
A mother with sons on the JV and freshman teams reported that her own mother listened in England until 2:15 a.m. — and chatted (a feature of the live stream) along with dozens of others. “Imagine what she would have done if her grandsons were on varsity!” the mother said.
A Westport native now living in Idaho — where her son is a high-level youth player — listened to WWPT’s live stream with her family. She said that her son wished he lived in Westport, and could play for Staples.
Tomorrow, the Wreckers meet New Milford for the state championship. The game will be played in Ridgefield, at noon.
Staples is shooting for its 12th state crown. I sure hope they — we — get it. But the outcome is not certain.
One thing is for sure, though: If WWPT-FM streams the game (technical issues remain to be solved), the Wreckers will set a world record for most radio listeners of a live-streamed high school soccer game.