Social in Soccer: Analyzing the rising influence USWNT and USMNT players on social.

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After nearly 9 months away, The U.S. Soccer Men’s and Women’s National Teams returned to the field with multiple matches in November. The USMNT played two matches: a respectable draw against Wales and a 6-2 victory over Panama. The USWNT defeated the Netherlands 2-0 in their lone match.

While the USWNT is reloading after a dominant 2019 World Cup campaign, the USMNT is looking to rebuild after not qualifying for the World Cup in 2018. Only two players (Christian Pulisic and Tim Ream) from the squad that lost to Trinidad & Tobago in 2017 attended training camp for the USMNT this November. Multiple players made their U.S. Soccer debuts in the two games this month as well.

When comparing the current team to the social media performance of the 2017 squad in October 2017, the current roster outpaced them on social in every key metric on Instagram, outperforming former USMNT mainstays including Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, and DeMarcus Beasley, among others.

 *Twitter and Instagram Posts Engagements Avg Eng Rate Following Growth

USMNT – October 2017

50 402K 6.08% 3 million 82K

USMNT – November 2020

84 4.4 million 25.66% 7.4 million 349K

Many of the top USMNT athletes on social have elevated their status through their performance on notable European clubs, including Pulisic (Chelsea), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), and Weston McKinnie (Juventus). Their inclusion on these clubs puts the players in the international spotlight, exposing them to a much larger and more diverse audience than those who remain stateside. 

Other notable team members playing in Europe include Konrad De La Fuente (Barcelona B), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich II), Yunus Musah (Valencia), and Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig). 

The future is bright for the USMNT, as all the players mentioned above are 22 years old or younger.

Although USMNT athletes are rising on social, they still have some work to do to catch their USWNT counterparts. Last month, Alex Morgan personally generated nearly as many Instagram engagements (3.37M) as the entire USMNT squad combined. Kelley O’Hara, Juile Ertz, and Tobin Heath all generated over 350K total engagements as well.

*Twitter and InstagramEngagementsFollowingGrowth

USMNT – November 2020

4.8 million8.6 million478 thousand

USWNT – November 2020

5.9 million22.3 million
87 thousand

One area where the USMNT has a significant advantage is growth. However, many of the USWNT athletes gained massive followings during the 2019 World Cup and a majority of those players remain on the team today.

After seeing how the squads stack up, here are the top-performing athletes on Twitter and Instagram during the month of November.

1. Alex Morgan

Engagements: 3,640,266

Followers: 13,261,799

2. Sergiño Dest

Engagements:   2,071,661 

Followers:  1,265,476 

3. Christian Pulisic

Engagements:   809,444

Followers:  3,941,634 

* Pulisic attended USMNT training camp with the 2017 team, but withdrew and did not play due to an injured hamstring.

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4. Weston McKinnie

Engagements:   715,353

Followers:  641,786 

5. Christen Press

Engagements:   454,856 

Followers:  1,296,835

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