North America's top soccer marketing firms combine; 'For Soccer' to deliver innovative and comprehensive opportunities for brands, fans, and players
21 February 2023
For Soccer Ventures today announced a definitive strategic acquisition of Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing, combining two of America's foremost soccer-specific firms into one industry-leading marketing, media, and experiences company. Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing founder and president John Guppy will join the executive team alongside CEO Ernesto Bruce and Heath Pearce. The new company, "For Soccer," will provide the marketplace with an innovative offering that includes best-in-class soccer marketing and media services alongside a portfolio of unique owned and operated soccer properties.
For Soccer's principal owner is Richie Graham, the founder of For Soccer Ventures and managing principal of Striker Partners. Striker is a private investment firm and member of The Graham Group, which manages approximately $8 billion in private capital deploying investments in industries that range from industrial technologies and advanced manufacturing to software development, healthcare, education, sports, and related media. Richie leads the Graham family's investment in Major League Soccer through the Philadelphia Union, where he was actively involved in building the highly regarded Union Academy program and where he founded YSC Academy — an innovative and first-of-its-kind soccer-specific school for elite soccer players from grades 6 through 12.
"For Soccer Ventures has seen tremendous growth since we launched the business a little more than three years ago with a deep commitment to help to accelerate and grow the sport of soccer in North America," Graham said. "Together with Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing — which has unprecedented research and fan activation capabilities — we are better positioned to support brands and soccer organizations who wish to authentically connect with the rapidly growing American soccer consumer base."
Since 2008, Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing has operated as North America's original soccer-specific marketing agency, providing strategic consultation and activation services to more than 60 clients. Those clients include major corporate brands Alcatel, Bimbo Bakeries, Heineken, Microsoft, Pepsi, PUMA, Unilever, and Volkswagen as well industry partners Chelsea FC, Girls Academy, Liverpool FC, Major League Soccer, Paris Saint-Germain FC, and the Premier League.
"We disrupted the sports marketing industry with the launch of a soccer-specific marketing services agency and have witnessed soccer's exponential growth ever since," Guppy said. "Combining our companies is a natural evolutionary step in providing differentiated soccer-specialized services to the marketplace as an alternative to the mainstream general sports marketing agency offering."
Under the direction of Bruce, For Soccer's leadership team includes FSV co-founders John Parker, Burke Cherrie, Marc Horine and Aaron Maines as well as Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing's Scott Hutchison and Danielle Prior.
"As a region, North America is entering a defining moment in respect to its blended sporting and social culture ahead of the highly anticipated 2026 FIFA Men's World Cup," said Bruce. "What For Soccer Ventures has built in such a short amount of time is remarkable. I'm honored to lead the team as we continue investing in a growing portfolio of owned soccer properties like Alianza de Futbol, while further growing our portfolio of best-in-class soccer marketing services."
For Soccer Ventures was founded in 2019 and has developed a portfolio of media and experience properties. Alianza de Futbol — FSV's most prominent property — is the leading grassroots Hispanic community platform providing events and media. Other innovative properties include Black Star (a platform accelerating the growth and popularity of soccer in Black American communities), FootyCon (a curated experience where soccer and culture collide), The Association (an experiential soccer league celebrating the sport and culture), and The Soccer Collective (a proprietary network of social media accounts and creator communities).
"We believe, to create truly great experiences for players, fans and brands, you have to understand the culture of the sport," Pearce said. "Our 'From Soccer, For Soccer,' mantra has helped guide us to create unique, authentic, and innovative opportunities for all constituents, with many brands looking to jump on the soccer wave with this summer's 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, Copa America 2024 in the U.S., and the lead up to the 2026 FIFA Men's World Cup in the U.S., Canada and Mexico."
Combining the two firms immediately increases the scale and influence of the company. For Soccer clients will benefit from a broader and deeper array of expertise and services. For Soccer's more than 50 full-time employees include a multicultural and multilingual roster of marketing and creative experts located throughout the U.S. and Mexico. For more information on For Soccer, please visit ForSoccer.com.