Douglassmith_hexcontestguy Courtesy of Douglas Smith
Contest Results

Meet Douglas Smith: ASN's World Cup Winner

American Soccer Now and Ludus Tours hosted a Starting XI contest featuring VIP hospitality in Brazil and match tickets. Douglas Smith won. (He's the guy on the right, above.) Here's a bit about him.
BY John Godfrey Posted
October 23, 2013
11:09 AM
John Godfrey: Doug! Dude! You won the ASN Starting XI contest. Congratulations. You got 75 players right out of a possible 77, and you also submitted five perfect lineups. What is the secret to your success?

Douglas Smith: I would like to say it was about knowing the competition, following all the updates on Twitter, and listening to Coach Klinsmann carefully, but I know there is a good deal of luck involved. I visited ASN a lot and looked at other countries' rosters while also analyzing how the second half of the Hex may have been influenced by the previous match up. In many cases I waited until three or four hours before game time to submit my lineup so I could take in as much information as possible. In the end, there was still luck involved.

JG:I like that part about visiting ASN a lot—smart strategy. So tell us about yourself: Where are you from? When and how did you become a U.S. soccer fan?

DS: I grew up in western Pennsylvania before any kind of soccer boom in that area. It's nice to see how the game has grown in that area, and I think many are proud of Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh for the Riverhounds. I have bounced around the country spending time in North Carolina, Arizona, and currently Virginia.

I think like many in my generation, I became a fan during the 1994 World Cup. It was such a spectacle and it was one of the first major sporting events I saw unfold on television. Tab Ramos was one of the first players that put a face to U.S. soccer for me. Over the last several years my love for the game has grown immensely for several reasons, but I have followed the national teams and keep close account of the Bundesliga and MLS.

JG: Did you get to attend any of the Hex matches?

DS: I did not attend any Hex matches. I moved this summer and started a new job that limited my flexibility. I was in the pot to get tickets to Columbus, but decided to give them back to AO so another U.S. supporter would be guaranteed the chance with my status unclear at the time.

JG: Who is your +1 for the trip to Brazil? Have you decided yet?

DS: Yes my friend Ken will be going along. The World Cup is one of those bucket list items for us and we have known each other for 27 years. He has done a lot to help me out over the years and we have attended Bonnaroo and other major events together.

JG: Have you been to Brazil before?

DS: No i have not. This is a first in many ways for me.

JG: What are you most looking forward to in terms of this prize?

DS: I am grateful for the entire prize package. It is still a bit overwhelming to think about and the generosity of ASN and Ludus Tours is amazing. As much as I want to be a part of the World Cup, I am also viewing this as a chance to make a very small impact on Brazil. We cannot ignore the political and social unrest, so I have started a site to raise money for charity and to help me pull off a small bit of volunteering while there. I plan on enjoying the perks of the prize package and the World Cup and do something to show how much I appreciate this opportunity.

JG: Impressive. It seems like the first-ever winner of the ASN/Ludus Tours Starting XI Contest is not only a worthy lineup predictor, he's also a quality human being. We're very happy for you. Have fun!

Even though the Starting XI Contest is over, you can still win a free World Cup experience from ASN/Ludus Tours via our sweepstakes. The rules are posted here, and they couldn't be easier.

And if you're curious to see the final standings of our contest, they are available right here. The two second-place finishers, Jonathan White and Adam, will each receive an ASN T-shirt for their impressive showings.

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