OYSA Goal Lines

The Good of the Game

With the 2010 youth soccer season well under way, it's a good time to stop for a moment and review our goals, accept the changes that have affected sports for children, and make sure we are all pointed towards and end goal that's mutually accepted and beneficial to our kids.

Every association, club, coach, administrator and volunteer has the same goal — to promote and enhance the soccer-playing experience of our children. Even though there is healthy competition within our state with different associations and different clubs who employ or use different coaches and teams, the end vision for all is to give our kids the opportunity to grow, mature and engage through the vehicle of soccer. At the end of the day, it really is "all about the children."

In a vacuum, this paper statement would be easy to accomplish. However, like all other aspects of life, youth soccer does not operate in a vacuum. We all have to deal with the economic conditions that apply pressure on expenses and operational costs. There is a universal shortage of facilities that often require contracting with municipalities and schools for the use of fields, and we all know that our governmental operations are short on funds as well. As costs go up, the cost of running the office, or the switchboard, or the salaries to pay the coaches go up. These costs are passed on to the end user — the parents of the children who are playing soccer. For many, this increase in cost adds to the already hard economic times which we currently face.

In the end, what does this all mean? Actually, the answer can be found in the second paragraph. What it all means is that there are many different circumstances pulling and tugging and affecting the world of youth sports today.

That's why it's more important now than ever before that we keep our focus on the one given, the one common goal and aspiration of all who work in and around youth soccer, whether that be the paid head coach for the large competitive club, or the volunteer parent who gets up early Saturday morning to line the fields for the six-year-olds in town.

What we all have to work towards and remember at the end of the day is that we must all proceed with the best interests of our children first and foremost in our decisions, actions and operations. As long as our children are afforded the best youth soccer experience possible, all of the other differences we face today will become secondary.

On behalf of our children … let's offer this for "the good of the game."

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