NCSL Board Meeting
November 10, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 7:35PM.
Roll call indicated the following clubs were not in attendance: Annandale, Baltimore Bays, MD Rush Bowie, Montgomery, Olney, Stafford, Waldorf and Woodbridge.
A motion was made to approve the minutes of the last meeting. Motion approved.
VA Commissioner-Maureen Dalbec- The date for the New Team Administrators Meeting is March 16, here at the Westin Hotel. There are two PCA workshops also scheduled for March 16 and March 19, also held at the Westin Hotel. A list is posted on the web site for coaches to check about when they need to attend a PCA course.
NCSL Administrator-Kathleen Sessions- Trophies have been ordered. All games have been played and the final standings are up. If you look at the U11’s, we still have some scores outstanding and need to get those in. This is the season where standings matter for the U11’s. Spring 2015 entries are due January 5th. Don’t hesitate to call me if needed.
R&D-Alan Paez- A quick reminder that R&D will be compiling the list of sit-outs owed. Be sure that you send in any cards for people who have completed the sit-out procedure. They received a lot of good feedback on referees. Maryland may schedule the same pilot program. There is a shortage of referees. There are only a few R&D items, a snapshot of the program will be emailed to the club reps.
President-Richard Smith- Now at the end of the season, I have a few areas in which I think it may be useful to provide some observations.
Referees-Looking back through the season we were surprised that we had a number of problems finding referees this season. There seem to have been several areas of misconceptions concerning the issue that we think it would make sense to explain:
First, NCSL does not employ referees. We contract with certified assignors, and they utilize databases containing all of the certified referees in the areas they assign. The databases show what games are available, and referees can sign up for games in that area. This season, we had a lot of referees that got sick, had car accidents, etc., but it also became apparent that we had a shortage of referees, especially in the western area of VA.
Second, we do not have our own exclusive pool of referees. Referees who sign up for NCSL games may also sign up for any other league. In fact, it all funnels into one database system. We do have some referees that we have banned from NCSL, but for the vast majority, referees can be assigned to any game in the system.
Third, because leagues do not employ their own referees, and because referees are not exclusive to any league, no area league can lay claim to “better” referees than any other, or to a “priority” system of assigning referees. I personally became certified to referee this season, and in my first season, as inexperienced as I was, I refereed games at the Center and AR positions in every area league and even in elimination rounds of prestigious local tournaments. I also sat on the sidelines at several games in other leagues where not a single referee was present, some of which featured visiting teams from several hours away.
Fourth, NCSL is working to try to help find solutions to the area’s referee problems, starting with recruiting more referees, helping to schedule more classes in strategic locations, and working with assignors to ensure impediments are removed to making assignments.
In short, referee problems are real, and not exclusive to us, but we are committed to help fix them. And as club reps, we need you to help spread the word, defend the league, and encourage people to keep using the new online feedback system. We also request that you help to beat the bushes to find the right people to get interested in refereeing.
Communications-A focal point for my tenure as president has been to soften the communications from the league to the teams and clubs. Opening up all levels of communications, but especially with R&D, has been a primary goal. Under Alan’s leadership, I think access has dramatically improved. I would ask, however, that we all please keep in mind that, for the most part, everyone involved in the R&D process (including both Alan and me) are volunteers. The level of anger and accusations in the email communications we receive from clubs can be quite outrageous. And we can promise that those types of messages are always counterproductive.
Structure- With respect to the U9 and U10 programs, we feel like we now are getting it right. The games are more competitive, club passes are used, and games are scheduled back-to-back-to-back within age groups. We are hearing nothing but positive feedback about the changes we have made. But, of course, this all continues to depend on club reps, and their submissions during the application process, especially their assessments of the relative strengths of the teams.
During the structure process, keep in mind the following:
U11-this will be the first season these teams are placed in structure. Please look at your results. If results are missing for your teams, please get them to us.
U12-U14- The up and down in these age groups is the most rigid.
U15-U19- We pay a lot of attention to comments in these age groups, especially in situations where teams may have sat out, or are new or returning to the league after a substantial absence. Where there are misplaced teams, it is almost entirely because the club/team elected not to submit any information about the team, and we believed them to be new.
Expansion- We have been asked on several occasions whether NCSL would consider bringing girls teams and divisions into the league? The answer is yes, but only if sufficient numbers desired to join. Unlike what we have seen from other area leagues, including the “WAGS for Boys” effort, we have no interest in expanding simply to increase league revenues, and in a way that is disruptive to soccer and, in our estimation, harmful to players.
New Club Committee- As President, and with Executive Committee approval, I have charged the committee to consider the new club application process and standards that were unanimously approved by the Board and to consider whether standards should be implemented with respect to existing clubs. Please let Howard Kohn know if you have any thoughts or comments. And if anyone would like to serve on this committee, please also let Howard or me know.
MD Commissioner- This position is currently “in flux” due to an adjudication decision that was decided months ago, but only recently made public at MSYSA. In the interim, while this is being sorted, Claire cannot and will not serve as MD Commissioner. Maureen Dalbec has agreed to handle those responsibilities and to respond to MD questions.
Region 1- As you know, I have been working to increase the profile of NCSL in Region I. I have been working hard to support the new regional leadership as they revamp the Regional Premiere League (now the Champion’s League), and have been selected as one of 6 Champion’s League Commissioners who are charged with the task of selecting teams, and organizing the League. Of the 6 Commissioners, three are state association Directors of Coaching, and all of the other five commissioners are from areas North of the NCSL region. My selection is an honor for NCSL, and confirmation that NCSL is considered one of the premier youth soccer leagues in all of Region I. If you have any further questions, you are invited to reach out to me.
Motion to adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 8:17PM.