Oregon Youth Soccer March 2015

A New Year Brings Exciting Advancements to OYSA

by John Madding
CEO & Technical Director, Oregon Youth Soccer

The world of youth soccer continues to mature, grow and change regionally, nationally, and here in Oregon. Over the past year, we have worked to position the Association as a leader in the areas of Education, Communication and Collaboration.

Since 2012, OYSA has developed a nationally recognized coaching education program. Our relationships with US Soccer, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), the Portland Timbers, and US Youth Soccer allow us to offer educational programming that we can tailor to fit the needs of all coaches. We feel that we now need to focus our energy on finding new and creative ways of engaging the volunteer coach. The use of online educational platforms is the future of coaching education. Both US Soccer and the NSCAA are introducing new online educational tools that we can use to interact with our member coaches at any time they choose.

Moving forward, we will also be developing educational programming for parents, club administrators and players. These programs will be used to assist in the growth of our game. There will be more information about this available on our website in the coming months.

In order to help us strengthen our position in the area of education, we have added a new position to the OYSA staff. Bob Bigney was hired in August to be our new Director of Education. Bob has been an educator both in schools and on the soccer field. Coach Bigney has served as the State Director of Coaching for New Mexico Youth Soccer Association, as a third-grade teacher in Las Cruces, N.M., and most recently as the Director of Coaching for the Arlington Soccer Association in Arlington, Va. We are excited to have Bob join our team.

OYSA’s role in the state has evolved over time. We now have the flexibility and time to communicate on a more regular basis with our growing membership. We have been researching the best ways to communicate with our membership, and have found that digital media is the most effective tool to reach our members. With that information, we have started to develop a multi-pronged approach to communication.

We have already invested in a new website that will allow us to provide content in a manner that is attractive and easy to navigate. We have also invested time and energy into our Facebook page. Over the past few months, we have seen our numbers skyrocket. We have gone from 36 page likes to over 2,000 in just a couple months. We are also able to see what content we post is most-liked by our membership. This allows us to get people the information they want.

In the coming months, we are bringing back a digital version of the Goal Lines quarterly newsletter, starting with the issue you are reading right now. We are excited about this opportunity to provide our coaches, players, parents and administrators with a consistent source of information on OSYA and youth soccer in general.

Along with the e-newsletter, we will also be conducting bi-monthly town hall webinars starting in April. These webinars will allow us to cover a variety of topics while allowing for a question and answer session at the end. We hope that this communication method will allow a larger group of interested parties to hear what is going on within our association.

The Oregon Youth Soccer Association believes that we are only as strong as the relationships we have. These relationships are with our member clubs, our governing bodies, and our program partners. We have been fortunate to cement some pretty exciting partnerships over the past year.

As you know, we have entered into a 10-year agreement with the Portland Timbers. This groundbreaking agreement gives us access to Timbers resources that allow us to supplement our current programming. As part of the agreement, we will also have permanent office space for two of our staff at the adidas Timbers Training Facility. At least two days a week, our technical staff will work out of this space so that we stay connected to the Timbers technical staff. We will be able to interact with staff members from the Timbers First Team, T2, the youth Academy and the Thorns. The insights gained from those interactions will allow us to integrate current player development trends in our educational programming.

Our relationship with adidas has never been stronger. We recently renewed our multi-year agreement. The new agreement includes access to some of the key partners for adidas. One of these partners is adidas International Training (AIT). OYSA will be working with AIT to provide our coaches an opportunity to participate in a coaching education trip to Madrid, Spain where the coaches will interact with the Real Madrid CF system. This is an exciting opportunity that we hope to offer on a consistent basis.

Another key partnership for us is with the NSCAA. We have recently developed a relationship that allows us to coordinate and deliver NSCAA programming directly from the state office. From the four-hour Level 1 course to the 50-hour Advanced National Diploma, we can now schedule, staff and administer all NSCAA course offerings. This allows us to tailor the courses to fit the varying needs of our membership.

As you can see, we have been busy over the past year. While we have a lot of work to do to achieve our goals, I do believe that we are quickly becoming the leaders we strive to be.