Meet the Staff:
Kelly Ward, Director of Administrative Services
Briefly describe your pre-OYSA soccer history.
I have worn all the hats: player, referee and coach. I played soccer for as long as I can remember, starting with Hillsboro Soccer Club and then Aloha Youth Soccer Club. I decided to focus solely on soccer in high school and joined a club team to play year round. While I was never the star player, this is where I really saw my skills develop. I decided not to play in college, but continued to play at the intramural level. After graduation, I returned to Oregon and volunteered as a recreational coach. I coached a girls' Jackson Soccer Club team through junior high, which reminded me that I never wanted to be a young girl in junior high ever again. I think that I learned just as much from my team as I taught them.
What was your most memorable moment as a player? As a coach?
As a player, I would have to say traveling with my team to compete at a tournament in Corvallis. It was so much fun staying in the dorms and bringing home the trophy. As a coach, I always giggle at the memory of a player showing up to practice wearing "pleather" pants and a blouse. My co-coach asked her politely if she should practice in that and she responded, "Don't even start with me coach, I have had a rough day." She then joined her team on the muddy field and I could see that her rough day turned into a fun time at practice.
If someone had told you in college that you would one day work for OYSA, what would your reaction have been?
What is OYSA? Should I still be majoring in Economics?
What was the most shocking thing about coming to work for OYSA?
The response I get from friends when I tell them that I work for a youth soccer organization. I run into them years later and they ask me if I am still "doing the soccer thing." They don't realize that youth sports can be so administratively organized and a profession. Maybe they just picture me in my camping chair on the sidelines cheering on teams.
If your boys end up playing youth soccer, what advice will you give them?
Have fun, make friends and respect the game! The state offers so many levels of play, so find the right place for you to develop and enjoy.
What is your claim to fame in the office?
Staff members call me the "penny pincher." I like to keep the Association on-budget and I guess I can get a bit extreme in cases. I think that the nickname is probably appropriate.
Do you look forward to coming to work?
Honestly, yes! I am fortunate to work part-time. I get to spend two weekdays at home with my energetic 2 ½-year-old and then the rest with a great group of co-workers. I look forward to my days at home and my days at the office for each of the challenges they present. Now ask me that question again in four months when our second son (and new challenges) arrives and my answer might be different!
SECRET BONUS QUESTION
If OYSA were Noah's Ark, which animal would you be? Why?
A penguin because they are cute and I am starting to waddle like one.