From Scoring Goals To Scoring Coverage

Victoria joined Codeword after graduating from Menlo College in the summer of 2015. She’s had to hang up her soccer cleats since, but has found many parallels to the beautiful game in PR.

At six years old, I fell in love with the most beautiful game. By middle school, I knew I wanted to be a collegiate soccer player. After surviving freshman year at my chosen institution, I was named team captain and was living my dream. When my four years ended, I was forced to permanently hang up my cleats and tend to my never-ending knee problems. I’ll always have the glory days.

I’m in the process of redirecting the passion and energy I poured into 17 years on the pitch to my career behind a desk. There’s constant overlap between playing sports and working in an office (we’ve all seen at least one listicle on that), but there are a couple of areas in particular that have been imperative to my understanding and success as a PR professional.

Always keep your head on a swivel. Soccer is a layered game of strategy and creativity. To be an effective player, you have to flex both muscles at once, being proactive and reactive at all times. You must see the game two or three passes ahead, anticipating your next move while simultaneously reacting to teammates’ and opposing players’ movements.

It’s the same in PR. We recommend moves or initiatives to clients to help position them as thought leaders and gain visibility in their respective spaces. It’s common to readjust strategy on the fly when competitors make announcements, other news breaks, or negative press arises. This can sometimes require an incessant amount of perseverance and endurance from the team, so our focus always needs to be dialed in like we’re down 1–0.

It’s how you respond. Contrary to popular belief, practice does not make perfect. You’re going to make mistakes. My dad always told me, “Have short term memory on the pitch, and remember that what you do in the first ten seconds after the mistake is what will define you as a player.”

Once I learned the art of the ten-second internal tantrum (be frustrated, get over it, move on from the mistake and take the lesson with you), I was a better player, teammate and leader.

As dedicated PR folks, we would love to land a slew coverage on every little thing our clients do — but it doesn’t usually happen that way. It’s about how we readjust and refocus on the bigger picture of the ongoing relationship and learning between client and agency.

Win as a team. If your team doesn’t function as one cohesive unit, your team doesn’t function at all. Every player has a different role to fulfill, and success hinges upon their devotion to that role. A team with unwavering commitment toward the end goal (pun intended) is a championship team in the making.

Again, it’s the same for PR. Each person on a team has a set of tasks they own, but our success is dependent on the agility and fluidity of the team as a whole. When we gear up to assist our client with an announcement, each member of the team is assigned a set of tasks that will directly contribute to the success of that announcement.

Although my premature retirement from soccer has left me in a constant state of reminiscence, I’m thankful that I’m still able to use some of the skills I have been fiercely perfecting over the years. As someone who started out bright-eyed and emerald green in the PR world, these skills have helped me quickly climb the learning curve.

Like what you read? Give Victoria Piazza a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.