Read why these five CCCU journalism students just featured in the NEW YORK TIMES
Five football mad Canterbury Christ Church University student journalists have featured in the New York Times – after their Major League Soccer website topped 1m visitors.
MLSGB.com was launched in May 2014 by journalism third year Louis East to cover the US game for British fans. The 21-year-old, from Dartford, Kent, runs the site with fellow undergraduates Ben Ashton, Lewis Addley, Jamie Ives and Zack Walford.
Photo credit Andrew Testa
Their news stories, match reports and stats analysis have racked up a whopping 1.2m visitors.
The site was spotted by New York Times (NYT) sports reporter Ken Belson – a previous Pulitzter prize finalist – who visited the trio during a recent trip to the UK to cover NFL at Wembley.
He joined Louis, Ben and Lewis at their city centre “apartment” where they enjoyed “sodas” while discussing “rosters” before watching an evening of MLS games.
His feature on MLSGB.com , ‘ In England, Embracing M.L.S. for What It Is, Not What It Isn’t’ , was published on the NYT website on October 27.
Ken was amazed by their understanding of the American game.
He said: “I was immediately struck by their encyclopaedic knowledge of MLS soccer."
“Their banter never stopped in the three hours we were together."
“It would be fair to say they know far more about MLS soccer than 90 percent of the fans in the United States."
“Some would say obsessed. I'd say impressed.”
And he had high hopes for the trio on landing journalism jobs when they graduate next year.
“Louis, Lewis and Ben also described their course work at university and how they were applying it to their website – writing, editing, posting photographs and so on,” Ken added.
“They said their ideal was to work in the soccer world. But I suspect they would be employable at any number of news outlets.”
The coverage has sparked a surge of transatlantic interest in the site.
Louis said: "I've been amazed with the positive responses we've had from MLS fans since the New York Times article was published.
“To gain such great recognition for 18 months of voluntary work is incredibly rewarding.”
And he called on UK fans to give the less fashionable US league a try.
"We just want to continue to link fans of the game from the US and the UK. I'd urge anyone who hasn't watched MLS here in Britain to give it a chance,” he added.
“The entertainment factor can't be beaten and the quality is growing dramatically each year.”
Lewis says the experience has made him even more determined to work as a sports journalist after university.
The 21-year-old, from Broadstairs, Kent, said: "It was a great experience to meet a leading journalist from one of the world's biggest news outlets.
“Ken’s stories about his own experiences only furthered my desire to work in the field of sports journalism after university.”
Thank you to freelance photographer Andrew Testa for use of his image of Louis, Ben and Lewis.
See more of his work here
See the New York Times article here .
Visit MLSGB.com here .
Follow MLSGB.com on Twitter here .