Creating Our Own Space
The news sent a shockwave through the lower league social media world. Some zealous Wikipedia editor was tagging all the Gulf Coast Premier League clubs’ pages for deletion. Big name regional clubs like AFC Mobile and Central Texas Lobos were being deemed ineligible for a Wikipedia entry due to their lack of appearances in the U.S. Open Cup (the rule was a carryover from English football). Up and coming club, Bugeaters FC (soon to join the GCPL) was also on the list. The backlash was aggressive and outspoken from all over lower league twitter, but the ingenuity of grassroots soccer also led some into taking a more creative approach to the issue.
For Bradley Deimar, the solution was in the synchronicity of the story and his own frustration with Wikipedia’s editing approach. “It happened to be the same day a major edit I had made to the Stockade FC Wikipedia page had been removed over a formatting error (I put in the entire 2019 roster only to have it taken down). I was frustrated about both, but I also wanted to find a solution to this problem. Making a wiki devoted to lower league soccer just made sense.” And with that, Bradley began work on creating the Lower League Soccer Wiki.
The Wiki will serve as a place for fans, supporters groups, coaches, players, anyone really, to give the nuts and bolts view of a lower league soccer club that a site like Wikipedia simply can’t handle or support. “How I’ve explained it to a few people is to compare Wikipedia’s page about the Simpsons to the Simpsons Wiki. On Wikipedia, you’ll get the details about the big characters, maybe a little info about the main writers and producers. On the Simpsons Wiki, there’s a page for every episode, minor character, writer, producer, etc.” So the LLSW will serves as a place to get the real texture of a club, from lineups, background information, club lore, local stories, etc.
For what it’s worth, Bradley didn’t create the LLSW out of hate for Wikipedia. “I understand Wikipedia’s take on it. Wikipedia tries to keep high standards on what they allow on the site especially when it comes to sourcing articles. And in terms of notability, some of the clubs may not be “notable” to the general public.” But he does think he site could fill the obvious gap of notability. “This is where we provide something Wikipedia can’t. Not every detail about smaller teams can be found on a website (ie. the only roster you can find is on a game program) and not every club will play in a “national cup”. But, this makes it even more important that we give these clubs a way to tell people about themselves.”
At this point in the site’s development, the big need is information - the site needs content. The best part is YOU can help! “Right now, the big way to help is just to get pages out there. We’ve seen a good response so far (10+ pages in the first week) but there are still plenty of leagues, teams, and supporters groups out there who need pages. Our wiki is hosted on Fandom, and the site is very user-friendly and has a tutorials page for those who need help learning the basics. If you’re not sure where to start, just take a quick look and see if the club you support has a page and make one if it.”
The creativity and activist approach to fandom by grassroots soccer people is always inspiring. It takes a crap situation and turns it into gold. Bradley idea of a Lower League Soccer Wiki is just more of the same positivity, and what it yields will be a permanent home for hundreds of pages on lower league clubs - safe from deletion! “I’m hoping the outrage many felt when the original Wikipedia story came out can be made into productive use.”
If you want to get involved, visit the wiki and make a page for your local club!
You can also keep track of the work being done by following the wiki’s twitter account.
- Dan Vaughn