Welcome to the NSC
The first day I walked into the National Sales Center I instantly recognized many distinctions from a typical office space full of cubicles and phone calls. A group of fifteen recent college graduates were sitting around a table listening to the Director of Sales for the New York Red Bulls while frantically writing notes. I quickly learned that I was surrounded by sales trainees with the competitive drive that will eventually take many of them to full-time positions with one of Major League Soccer’s nineteen teams.
The setting is unique. In one moment the trainees, accepted into the program after a highly selective application process, are ears open as they listen to their teachers and mentors Sean Ream and Jeff Berryhill. The next moment they are on the phone selling season ticket packages to loyal fans. There is no final exam in this student-teacher setting. Instead, trainees are given the opportunity daily to make real sales calls on behalf of Major League Soccer teams in hopes of increasing attendance for the sport and bringing the great game of soccer to more people across North America.
The jerseys and winter scarves of each team hang from the ceiling, generating a culture of passion for soccer. With every phone call made throughout the day, each trainee hopes to bring to life what MLS Commissioner Don Garber once said. “Our mission is to grow a soccer nation.” It does not feel like office work when you step into the NSC room inside the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota. For every phone call made, and they go into the thousands total each day, there is a laugh to equal that number. The National Sales Center has managed to find the perfect balance between effective sales and an environment that makes every individual excited to come back to work the next day.
After one’s time is done at the National Sales Center, the light at the end of the tunnel shines bright. In my one week on the job as an MLS Business Correspondent in charge of covering Blaine, Minnesota, I have already witnessed two trainees accept job offers from DC United. The NSC serves as a direct stepping stone to dream jobs, with people working for the teams they grew up watching. The system works. It didn’t take very long to recognize such.