Happy New Year and hopefully this email finds you warm and comfortable during this cold spell. I am writing to further update you on progress made since our Strategic Summit this past October. As you already know a Governance Taskforce has been appointed and has begun their work. There was also a group appointed to collect and review applications for the Chairs of the eight (8) Implementation Taskforces called for by our Strategic Plan. This group will report its recommendations to the Executive Committee at their meeting next weekend in Philadelphia. Once the chairs are in place we will begin the process of populating the Taskforces so they may get to work.
Referee development for the Adult game was an important focus of the Summit and I am pleased to report that John Motta and the USASA Referee Committee have been working with the US Soccer Referee Department to begin a partnership to establish the goals below with two initiatives already in the works.
First, US Soccer will provide USASA with a list of promising young referees who are ready to work higher level games, we will provide this list to the States to make sure they are working Adult leagues and receiving appropriate mentoring. From this list approximately 16 referees will be invited to work Regional Cup tournaments and from that list 12 will be invited to National Cup Finals. US Soccer will provide Staff Inspectors to the finals and appropriate Inspectors for the regional events. Most importantly Adult soccer will be a step in the progression from youth soccer to the professional game; we will again be a priority.
Second, US Soccer and USASA will jointly develop a curriculum for the transition from youth games to the adult game. This will be available to State Associations to teach at adult tournaments, state cup tournaments, and other appropriate events. This program holds great promise in developing successful referees for out adult games. Much thanks to John and his committee for their proactive efforts to help with implementing our plan.
Two of our most debated services have been insurance and online registration, I would like to update you on progress in these two areas. An ad-hoc insurance committee has been serving for the last several years they were successful in significantly lowering our premiums on our last renewal cycle. The take away from the Summit was that we need a plan with more flexibility in coverage levels and limits. The committee has been working with our broker and insurer to make this happen. They are in final discussions and should have some positive news to announce at the AGM. As we all know universal health care appears to be on the way, this would greatly change the landscape as our policy would be a true supplemental policy and would drop the rate to the $2 to $3 area. Currently the percentage of claims where there is no primary coverage negatively impacts our rate. I would like to thank Fritz Marth and his committee for their efforts and I look forward to their report.
This past summer a Technology Taskforce was appointed and charged with reviewing USASA’s online registration and database requirements. They were then asked to prepare a Request for Quote (RFQ), the resulting RFQ was approved by the Executive Committee and posted and sent to interested companies. USASA received about a dozen proposals which have been review by the Taskforce, online demo’s were held and they are currently in the process of narrowing the pool down to the best 3 with a recommendation for the top company. Those companies will attend the USASA Executive Committee Meeting in Philadelphia and make presentations and demo their programs, based on this process the Executive Committee will select the company that best fits the needs of USASA. The company that has been chosen will be present at the AGM to demo their product and give you an overview. From the Summit recommendations, a new Task Force will be formed and they will then take over the process.
As a footnote when the Taskforce began its work they reported that they needed more time to properly do their task and recommended an extension of our current contract, this was done and approved by the Executive Committee. The original target date was the mid-year in October but was postponed to the AGM.
The Consultants Management Letter strongly recommended a transition to an Executive Director model in which the Executive Committee would no longer be an operating committee but would serve as a National Board of Directors operating as a governance committee. Currently, work is underway to develop a job description for an Executive Director position for USASA. This should be approved at the meeting in Philadelphia. The Governance Taskforce will propose changes to institute that position as well as changes in how the Executive Committee functions. Their target date will be the 2010 mid-year meeting.
I would like to briefly cover two programming areas, the Elite Program and a Women’s Tournament. There is currently a Women’s Taskforce that has been discussing what type of programming would be effective in the women’s side of our game, the focus being both significant participation as well as a catalyst for growing women’s soccer within USASA. Angela Radke attended the Competitions Committee meeting in Chicago several months ago. Their recommendation is a National Women’s Tournament open to any registered woman’s team. There is money in the proposed 2010 - 2011 budget for a women’s tournament, if approved we will move forward with developing and conduction a woman’s tournament. Thanks to Marti Bevins the Chair and to the Taskforce for their hard work.
The final program I will discuss which has caused some controversy over the last few years and that is the Elite Program. First Mike Maloney has returned to be the Region 4 Cups Commissioner and will no longer serve as Chair of the Elite Program; I would like to thank Mike for his service as Elite Chair. We all know the issues; cost, impacts only a few of our members, low relevance to State Association Membership. Funding has been reduced and parts of the program have been eliminated by the National Council. If we are to continue this program we need to re-invent it as such that it is cost effective, touches more of USASA’s membership and resonates with our State Associations and their Members. Ultimately it will be a National Council decision that determines the future of this program. I will propose to the Executive Committee that the soon to be formed Competitions Committee review the program, survey the membership for suggestions as to how to build a better program and then develop a proposal to present to the Executive Committee for review to then be presented to the membership at the mid-year in 2010. I will also propose a pause to the program until the National Council decision. If we continue this program it should be with a significant majority of our membership supporting the proposal. Please be clear, I am not saying we end the Elite Program or continue it, I am proposing a brief pause while we have the Competitions Committee work to bring the membership to a consensus as to the future of this program. As a National Organization we need quality programs for our members. But those programs need to resonate with our membership.
As you read this please feel free to email or call me with your questions, comments or concerns. I was extremely pleased with the Summit and the way our membership responded and came together. I look forward to the next two years and the opportunity to implement your Strategic Plan. The work has begun and I am excited about the future of USASA. Together we can build the organization we envisioned at the Summit.
Tag(s): January 2010