(April 9, WEB EXCLUSIVE) It was not the team’s winning record but the players’ unique method of preparing avocados for guacamole that won Team Dynamite of San Diego the grand prize in a nationwide contest sponsored by the Chilean Avocado Importers Association.

American Youth Soccer Organization teams were invited to submit videos showing how the players enjoyed Chilean Hass avocados for post-practice and post-game snacks, said Maggie Bezart, marketing director for the importers association. Team Dynamite’s video showed the players using their well-practiced soccer kicks to soften avocados for guacamole.

The association’s long-term relationship with AYSO has worked well, Bezart said.

“Soccer is our platform,” she said. “It’s a way that we are communicating the health benefits of avocados and adding them to a healthy, active lifestyle.”

The game is the highest participatory sport in the U.S. for families and children, Bezart said, and has the largest number of adult volunteers.

Nearly half of the players in the youth soccer program have Hispanic surnames, and most come from homes where avocados are a staple, she said. That has worked to the advantage of the importers and of retailers.

“To Hispanics, bigger is not necessarily better,” Bezart said. “They’re looking for value, and they understand the value of the smaller avocados.”

The retailers that have really seen major growth in their Hispanic community sales, she said, are the ones offering multiple sizes.

More than 2,800 stores displayed association-provided signage and entry forms, Bezart said. In addition, the association was given access to the AYSO’s e-mail list of members, coaches and parents, and each received an e-mail about the contest.

“Not only did we have advertising on television, radio, billboards and print, but we actually got to millions of homes," Bezart said.

Team Dynamite’s winning video earned the players jerseys, soccer balls and iPods. The association also provided funds for the team’s end-of-season party.

The association plans to continue its relationship with AYSO and other youth soccer leagues, but it does not plan to repeat the video contest this year. The association will be the major sponsor of the soccer organization’s national championship in Florida, Bezart said.

Plans also are in the works for consumer contests tied to retail promotions, she said. The contests are designed to permit the participation of all retailers, from national chains down to the individual independent stores.