SOCCER OVER EVERYTHING : Kim Tate’s Story
Written By: isps|
Dec 7, 2015
As you may have seen last week, we’ve started a series here on TOW called SOCCER OVER EVERYTHING that focuses on telling the great stories of people who are living and working in the soccer world, that in one way or another, came to it in not so traditional ways.
I told my story, and then reached out to a couple of people that we know, to tell theirs.
One of those people is Kim Tate, who you know from twitter at the handle @KimTateSports. As you will read below, she currently works in Torreon, Mexico with Santos Laguna and her story (and who she is) is one of the most interesting paths that we have ever heard and love that we have the space to tell her story here.
I first met Kim a few years back at an MLS Cup party that we hosted in Los Angeles and remained in contact with her via social media and email and she was kind enough to take some time for us to give us some background on how she got to where she is. I think you will enjoy this one.
Thank you Kim for sharing your story and if you guys and gals arent following her and Santos already, you should do that after you read this piece.
This is Kim Tate’s SOCCER OVER EVERYTHING story as told by Kim Tate
For me, I realized I only wanted to work with and in soccer about four years ago. I was an executive assistant to the VP at CenturyLink Field and was active in the Twitter soccer scene but didn’t work in soccer, per-se. I had made some contacts in the soccer world and had a couple of side-gigs, but nothing grand-scale at that point.
I quit CL Field after almost a year to take a chance and solely operate as a freelancer in marketing and social media for soccer. It was a big risk because I was giving up a full-time salary and some of the best benefits on the dime of Century Link Field, which was operated by the Seahawks and the Sounders. The risks far out-weighed the pros at the time, but they say the biggest risks have the biggest reward and so on. I loved my co-workers and the opportunities to contribute to some pretty large-scale things but I wasn’t cut out for the job. My boss at the time was a female VP, so take-charge and independent she didn’t need me as her assistant. I learned some great things from her, had some wonderful opportunities in front of me, but I wasn’t cut-out for it.
So, I quit.
I remember walking out of the Century Link Field parking lot scared out of my mind, because I had only just moved back to Seattle from San Diego right after my mom died. I had no one, at least when it came to family, so I was really roughing it and half of me had this great plan but the other half of me had no idea how that plan was going to pan out.
My contacts at the time helped me meet other contacts. Those contacts put me in touch with their contacts. I negotiated contracts for myself to become a freelance social media specialist for any team, person, or company in the soccer business who needed it. Pretty soon, I had enough to pay the bills and everything started coming together.
And they fell apart. Soccer is not a lucrative business, at least not the kind of soccer I was in. Checks came late, if sometimes at all, and the commuting and the hours really took a toll on me. I was juggling so many different things as one person and eventually took on more than I could handle but eventually, I found a way.
A year into my journey, I moved back to California, this time to LA, where I worked for about 1 and a half years. More struggle, but also, more fun.
A job I took initially as a social media consultant turned into a social media and writing gig. I’ve always loved writing. I wasn’t a great student, and despite pursuing science as a college choice, I always aced and did the best in English. I had a lot to learn, but I had a boss who told me nothing greater than to write for myself and everything else would fall into place.
Small backstory: I spent a good part of my most impressionable years with a Mexican family – my best friend’s family in Washington state when things got rough at home. I say those were the most impressionable because I was in middle and high school, where one’s sense of identity is on high-sensitivity. They looked out for me and kept me safe, but they also took me into Mexican communities for charity work and taught me things their way. The Mexican way.
I think that’s why embarking on covering Mexican football came so easily and interestingly to me when I started writing. It was easy, enjoyable, and it felt natural and like I was contributing to something great. Sport culture has always been interesting to me, and this was a happy medium for me to explore that, enjoy it, and pay the bills doing it.
When the Xolos in Liga MX became a thing, I seized the opportunity to try getting a season credential. Their head of USA press opened his doors to me and the team, over time, was very accommodating and provided great access for me. It was a win-win. They wanted American coverage in English, I wanted to make a name for myself in Mexican football.
I loved it so much, I once again took a big risk and moved to Tijuana full time. I signed a lease in September with only one more small paycheck coming in, not knowing what was coming next, but I had some money saved and trusted in my faith that it would work out.
I signed the lease on a Sunday.
By Wednesday, I had a job offer as an editor and content creator for Soccerly, which was conveniently located three quarters of a mile from my small, furnished condo in downtown Tijuana.
I stayed in Tijuana for a few months, leaving behind an apartment in LA and a way-too-expensive lifestyle that was ripping me apart. Being in Mexico with my friends and the sport made me feel whole again. Any reservations or fears I had of being treated differently because of the way I looked lasted but a minute. The people of Mexico have been extremely welcoming to me.
Another backstory: In March of 2012 when I was with Century Link, two months before I quit, I had tickets to the Seattle Sounders in Champions League. The opponent: Santos Laguna. I went because I recognized Herculez Gomez’s name after the World Cup, plus the tickets were free. Santos won and outplayed Seattle in that game, and I became an instant fan. My first real taste of live Liga MX, kind of. I watched the second leg on TV when they played in Torreon and won by a bigger score-line. I followed all the way to the final, and was sorely disappointed when they lost to Monterrey, but I have been an avid fan ever since that day.
My boss at Soccerly knew I was a Santos fan because I’ve taken great pleasure in telling people more times than I can count, so he assigned me a human interest story related indirectly to the club, which ownership found on Twitter — a platform which has been a fundamental part of growing my contacts and opportunities. A few Twitter DMs later and lunch plans were made for Santos’ next visit to Tijuana.
After three or four hours of lunch and great conversation, I was convinced Santos Laguna was (is) the best team in the league, if not one of the best teams in the Americas for many reasons. They’re forward thinking, they embrace diversity, and they believe in so much more than a winning team in first division. Everything I had wanted to see and experience more of in the Mexican league was and is embedded in Santos.
So, suffice it to say I accepted without hesitation when I was offered an opportunity to move to Torreon to work with the team.
I touched down in the small, desert city of Torreon on January 24 2015, three hours before Santos’ home game against its CONCACAF Champions League nemesis Monterrey. We won by a score line of 2-1.
And that’s that for now. For me, it was soccer over everything from the moment I knew I wanted to work in the industry. And along the way, I left many things as I constantly reinvented myself to finally get to where I am, where I want to be. It took a lot of months, a lot of moving, a lot of hard times and sacrifices, but I pushed through and now I can’t imagine a place more fit for me.