Michael Lahoud is a professional soccer player who currently plays for Miami FC in the North American Soccer League (NASL). He was born in Sierra Leone, where he escaped civil war when he was 6 years old. As a refugee, soccer helped him integrate in the United States, where he was drafted as the ninth overall pick in the 2009 Major League Soccer (MLS) superdraft. He is a community advocate who uses his sport to support charitable efforts such as the Wall Las Memorias project, the NoH8 campaign, and Schools for Salone. He was the MLS Humanitarian of the Year in 2010, and, together with Kei Kamara, he is the recipient of the 2015 FIFPro World Players’ Union Merit Award (a prize worth $25,000), which recognized their involvement in the Schools for Salone project that builds schools in their home country of Sierra Leone. His brand is Soccer can make a difference. This interview consists of two parts, with the first part being conducted in December 2015 when he was a player with the MLS team Philadelphia Union and the second part being conducted in July 2016 after two transfers within 4 months. The interviews provide an overview of his approach to athlete branding via social media and its impact on his career.
Kunkel is with the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management and the Fox School of Business, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. Scott and Beaton are with the Research Inst. for Sport and Exercise University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, Australia.