by Carol McFarland McKee As discussed briefly in Part Two of Soccer605’s interview with SD State Soccer Association President Rich Jensen, South Dakota soccer player registration numbers remain fairly stable,
May 15, 2013 in Sioux Falls & Pierre, SD (Telephone Interview) – Soccer605 visited with South Dakota United FC President and Director of Coaching Chris Derry about the SD United
May 15, 2013 in Sioux Falls & Pierre, SD (Telephone) - Today South Dakota United President Chris Derry announced that his club will be affiliating with US Club Soccer in addition
Reprinted From SoccerAmerica’s Youth Soccer Insider - by Adam Tinkham, November 9th, 2012 12:49 AM Nearly all discussions in the soccer coaching community of the United States concerning how to improve
by Carol McFarland McKee
As discussed briefly in Part Two of Soccer605’s interview with SD State Soccer Association President Rich Jensen, South Dakota soccer player registration numbers remain fairly stable, but there has been an overall downward trend in the registration numbers in youth soccer across the country. According to Demosphere “In fact, from 2009 to 2011, US Youth Soccer player registration decreased by over 50,0001 and was projected to drop by an additional 164,590 in 20122, leaving an overall total of less than three million for the first time in more than 12 years.” As Demosphere3 noted on their blog late last fall, “It would be easy to attribute the decrease in registration to economic concerns or even a lower birth rate. However, when you look at organizations like US Club Soccer, they’re forecasting growth of more than 15%2 in 2012. Similarly, other sports like US Lacrosse, the governing body for Lacrosse in the United States, showed an increase in youth registration by more than 35,000 from 2010 to 2011 with further growth expected.”
While Demosphere and others noted a downward spiral and trend in player registrations in US Youth Soccer in 2011, at about the same time, Korrio, an integrated soccer registration software company, conducted a survey of youth soccer leaders across the country. The Korrio summary indicated that about 70% of the organizations they surveyed were experiencing growth.4
Demosphere concluded, “Clearly there’s a problem within US Youth Soccer.” Whether you agree with Demosphere or not, it does seem that something needs to change to reverse the trend. It seems intuitive that kids play sports because it’s fun, and stay with the sport as long as it continues to be fun. So it’s pretty self-evident that making soccer fun is key to recruiting and retaining players. Giving kids more choices may be another important piece of customer satisfaction and retention. Many State Soccer Associations are offering increasingly more registration options to the members they serve. Is it time South Dakota expanded the soccer choices?
The SDSSA Registration Rules state “A player may be rostered on one Competitive team and on one Recreational team.” This has been interpreted in South Dakota as “there can be only one” – one competitive and one recreational.
The US Youth Soccer Policy on Players and Playing Rules allows players to register on more than one roster under Rule 206. MULTIPLE ROSTERING - A State Association may allow a player to be rostered on more than one youth team each seasonal year. This is the basis of the SDSSA rule allowing a player to be rostered on one competitive team and one rec team.
In other State Associations, a distinction is not made with regard to competitive or rec. The majority of the playing rules reviewed from other states allow multiple rostering. The rules typically restrict players to no more than two competitive rosters in a given season – but do not limit them to one competitive roster and one rec roster. Nor do they limit them to one club or association. Michigan Youth Soccer, for example, has a whole policy on dual rostering, defining primary and secondary teams. Missouri Youth Soccer Association allows players to roster on a maximum of two competitive teams; to be on the team roster or list of an unlimited number of recreational teams; and allows players to register with two clubs. As with most states, Missouri does require a player to declare a primary and secondary roster for competitive play. Michigan and Missouri are just two examples within US Youth Soccer Region II. There are many more. For example, in Massachusetts and in New Jersey, the player declares one primary roster, and all other teams on which they play are considered secondary.
Per US Youth Soccer National Championships Policy Rule 224. PLAYER ELIGIBILITY – Section 2. A youth player may be on the National Championships roster of only one team at each level of the National Championships competitions during any seasonal year. This seems to be why many of the states that allow multiple rostering require players to declare a primary roster – the only roster on which the player may appear for State Cup play and other National Championships events. This roster becomes the “blue roster” for the State Cup. In most state registration rules we reviewed, the player’s first obligation is to this primary roster in the event of schedule conflicts.
There may be benefits to changing the SDSSA Playing Rules along the lines of Missouri, or at least Michigan. For example, players on South Dakota United FC teams are from all over the state. According to SDUFC Director of Coaching Chris Derry, players are encouraged to play with the local program when there isn’t an SDU match or event scheduled. If the local program is a rec program, there isn’t a problem, because the player can be on both a rec roster and a competitive roster. But if the local program is a club program, such as Brookings FC, then the player has to guest with the local hometown team. This requires guesting paperwork, transferring of player passes and other paperwork. The same scenario may be true for a player who wants to play with the local Yankton Club, but also wants to train and travel with a Dakota Alliance SC team to some events. Or for a Pierre player who wants to travel to some tournaments with an Oahe FC team and train with them, but also wants to take advantage of the opportunities that Rushmore SC has for training and other tournaments. And the same for a Hub City SC player who wants to play with a DASC or SDU team as well. What do you think? Is playing on two different competitive soccer club rosters any different for the player than participating in two different competitive sports?
There might be another upside for the competitive clubs. Instead of having to deal with guesting paperwork and figuring out how much to charge a player to guest with the team at an event, the secondary club would have all of the necessary paperwork and player pass for the player & could collect registration, training & event fees when the player registers. Players would most likely need to declare a primary roster and make their event commitments so that coaches can plan for events and know what the player numbers are.
Another example of increasing player registration options is the “Club Pass”. Many US Youth Soccer affiliated State Associations have adopted the Club Pass concept. According to US Youth Soccer, “The club pass concept’s core objective is to provide clubs and coaches with the flexibility to move players from team to team in their own club as necessary for the National Championship Series (“NCS”), based on player development and team needs.” Instead of being rostered to a specific roster, players receive a club pass. Unlike the current SDSSA player pass, the club pass does not designate a specific team, but simply the club name.
Missouri Youth Soccer not only allows players to roster on two competitive teams, roster on unlimited recreational teams and roster with two competitive clubs, but was also one of the first in the country to allow club passes after US Youth Soccer adopted the concept nationally in August 2011.5 “The (MYSA) Club Pass policy is geared to more easily allow for players to be rostered onto teams within their club for events that are appropriate for their specific player development needs.” The MYSA website has a Club Pass FAQ that explains the concept well. Basically, for any given event, the club createss a roster for that event that includes age-appropriate players from across the club who are available for the event. The club does not have to complete a guest form for intraclub movement of their own players.
What do you think? Should SDSSA allow players to dual roster on two club rosters – or more? What about allowing players to multiple roster on two or more recreational rosters? Do you think the Club Pass system would benefit South Dakota soccer players and clubs? We would really like to hear your thoughts – and more importantly, your reasons for your position on these issues.
As always, other viewpoints and constructive comments are welcome and encouraged. Open discussion is healthy! Play fair – no fouls, misconduct or offsides please. We reserve the right to not allow comments that cannot be attributed to an actual person and/or do not serve the game or the discussion, in the opinion of the referee.
2. 2012 U.S. Soccer AGM Book (PDF link near bottom of page)
May 15, 2013 in Sioux Falls & Pierre, SD (Telephone Interview) – Soccer605 visited with South Dakota United FC President and Director of Coaching Chris Derry about the SD United Club history and players. Derry addressed how SDU trains and develops their players, given that they are from all across South Dakota and in North Dakota. He also talked about the disappointments for the Club at the 2013 SD State Cup, and shared the news that the Club has just become affiliated with US Club Soccer. Derry confirmed that the Club plans to retain its status as a US Youth Soccer affiliated club through the South Dakota State Soccer Association.
May 15, 2013 in Sioux Falls & Pierre, SD (Telephone) - Today South Dakota United President Chris Derry announced that his club will be affiliating with US Club Soccer in addition to keeping its affiliation to US Youth Soccer.
Reprinted From SoccerAmerica’s Youth Soccer Insider -
by Adam Tinkham, November 9th, 2012 12:49 AM
Nearly all discussions in the soccer coaching community of the United States concerning how to improve youth soccer arrive at the conclusion that youth players do not spend nearly enough time pursuing soccer on their own and/or in a street soccer or pick-up soccer environment.
It does not take much research to discover that the world’s top players all have one thing in common: at a very early age and the subsequent years, they had a soccer ball with them at almost every waking moment and participated in pick-up games at their school, in the neighborhood or nearby park, almost daily.
The difference between an aspiring, American youth soccer player and, for example, a Brazilian or Argentine, amounts to thousands of hours and touches as early as the age of 10. With closer examination, it would probably be revealed that American youth soccer players often spend more time in transit — to and from soccer games and practices — than they do on the ball. As a coaching community we are not providing the necessary foundation at the earliest ages for players to have the greatest chance of success and discovery. So what can we do?
U.S. Soccer has tried to address this problem with the youngest players, called Zone 1 in their parlance, by issuing a well-researched curriculum to be used across the country by youth clubs willing to take the time to read it, understand it, and apply it. This is, no doubt, a step in the right direction but does not get the soccer ball out of the bag in between training sessions and games.
Training sessions must, again and again, return to working on the technical with the most fundamental aspects of the game still unlearned. So, under-8, players become under-9, and then under-10 with only limited passing and trapping ability. All of the money, time, and travel spent for what exactly?
This issue will not go away, is one that I take very seriously and would like to be a part of the solution, or at least working toward the solution. Technical mastery leads to tactical wizardry and thrills millions of spectators around the world. Jurgen Klinsmann took the U.S. national team job wanting to play a more possession-oriented style, and perhaps has done so, but also quickly learned the limitations of even our top players and was forced to return to a more athletic style that has been our ticket to success as far back as the famous win against England at the World Cup in Brazil in 1950.
We need to create artificial (lightly supervised), pick-up environments that are readily available for children of all ages and economic realities. The days of kids going out into the neighborhood for unstructured and unsupervised playtime are mostly if not completely behind us. Some would suggest futsal on defunct tennis or basketball courts, games at the local park district and after-school program, and these are all good ideas. The challenge, I believe, is to make it fun and consistent enough that kids and parents will come back time and time again, daily if possible.
We are attempting just such a program in Chicago that utilizes a field system that was imported from Europe. (To learn more, please visit www.fourplusone.net). It is portable and creates an ideal playing environment to maximize fun and learning in a 3v3 or 4v4 format. We have worked with schools to set up our field on their grounds, inviting children to use it after school, and later hosting 5v5 games for recreational adult players.
We have received positive feedback from the principal and local homeowners about the influence on the community, but we would like to reach many more youth players, in and outside the club environment, than we are. There is much potential and application for such a field system but the momentum has to be created jointly.
Our effort is one example of how we can move American soccer players along to the 10,000 hours required for mastery, or, simply discover at an earlier age that a child’s passion lies elsewhere, thereby potentially saving a family many thousands of dollars and hours spent driving on weekends. It can also serve in the fight against obesity.
There are many, many possible directions. Ultimately, this is an appeal to the coaching community, to soccer governing bodies, to youth clubs, to parents, to schools, to all interested in the welfare and good health of children to come together and create environments for them to discover just how beautiful the beautiful game really is.
(Adam Tinkham is a USSF “A” licensed coach who has been working in youth soccer in the Chicagoland for more than a decade. He coached at the Division I collegiate level for six years and is currently a staff coach at Team Evanston in Evanston, Ill. Tinkham was a member of the U.S. team that finished fourth at the 1989 U-20 World Cup and earned all-ACC honors at the University of North Carolina.)
Opinion Editorial by Carol McFarland McKee
When it comes to youth soccer, there are rules other than just the FIFA Laws of the Game that are important. There are playing rules, tournament event rules, player registration rules, roster rules, player definitions and so on and so forth. LOTS of rules – a virtual smorgasbord of rules. Not only those of South Dakota State Soccer Association, but also those of the US Youth Soccer Association (of which SDSSA is a member), and those of the US Soccer Federation, which governs all soccer in the United States.
The rules are designed primarily to protect the players, both on and off the field, and to protect the integrity of the sport. And if they aren’t, they should be. After all, in US Youth Soccer it is called “The Game for ALL Kids” – not the game for all associations or the game for all coaches or even the game for all parents. It’s about the Kids and the Game. Rules should be regularly examined to see if they are relevant and appropriate. Under scrutiny, some rules won’t pass the litmus test of protecting players and the integrity of the sport. And in some situations, a rule itself may pass the test, but a misinformed interpretation of the rule can go off course. One must review any given soccer rule in the context of all the guidances of the governing bodies – SD Soccer, US Youth Soccer and the US Soccer Federation. If you don’t, you could end up with a mess. This story is about one such unfortunate situation.
It all began long ago, and far away . . . well actually it was less than two weeks ago – the first weekend of May – down at the Yankton Trails Soccer Complex in Sioux Falls. The South Dakota State Cup, SDSSA’s premier competitive tournament, and the first step in the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series, was held. Club teams in the U13 to the U19 age divisions competed for the right and responsibility to represent SDSSA at the US Youth Soccer Region II Regionals. The last games of the State Cup ended and all State Champions were crowned by about 2 pm on Sunday, May 5th. Everyone went home. Some teams to prepare themselves for Regionals, other teams to find replacement events since they had lost their bid to the Regionals in Des Moines.
Mid-afternoon of Monday, May 6th, an email was sent to the South Dakota State Soccer Association office inquiring about the protocol to file a protest concerning an ineligible player “used” by a team. Later that same afternoon, a similar email was sent to the SDSSA’s Competitive Committee. The email charged that a named player was ineligible to compete at the SD State Cup and had “attempted to unfairly gain an advantage to compete at Regionals and/or on two competitive teams at the same time.”
In the playing rules for South Dakota State Soccer Association, it is implied that a player can only play for one competitive team and one recreational team. Specifically, there are three definitions of teams in the rules – Rule I-A. Club (“Competitive”); Rule I-B. Recreational (“B) Division, and Rule I.C Recreational “A” Division. Tryouts are permissible in the Club and Rec A divisions, but not in Rec B (sometimes called “pure rec”). Under all three definitions, the rules state “A player may be rostered on one Competitive team and on one Recreational team.” So one can see where the understanding might be that a player cannot be rostered on a second competitive team in South Dakota State Soccer Association. (Although a kid-friendly argument might be that the rule doesn’t say “only” one Competitive team and “only” one Recreational team, but clearly indicates that a player cannot be prohibited from playing on both a rec team and a club team.) The SD State Cup is an event for SD competitive players and teams. Our research indicates that the alleged ineligible player was and is properly registered with the club team competing at the SD State Cup and properly registered on only one team – competitive or recreational – with SDSSA. One might think that would be the end of it. Clearly there was no violation of SDSSA registration rules.
Not quite, as the filer of the protest saw it. This specific player may (or may not) also be registered on a US Club Soccer roster. US Club Soccer, though considerably smaller in numbers, is much like US Youth Soccer in that it has programs for all ages (including youth and adults) and has both rec and competitive programs. It is unknown whether the named player, who played for a US Club Soccer program at SDSSA sanctioned youth tournaments in South Dakota over the winter, was or is rostered on a US Club Soccer competitive roster or a rec roster. But it doesn’t matter. US Youth Soccer is not US Club Soccer and vice versa. Neither has jurisdiction over the other, nor rights to see one another’s rosters. SDSSA registration rules state that “A player may be rostered on one Competitive team and on one Recreational team.” The filer of the protest maintained that competitive is competitive, regardless of whether the registered player is on a US Youth Soccer roster or on a US Club Soccer roster. But SDSSA is a US Youth Soccer organization. It doesn’t have the ability to write or apply rules that govern the registration of US Club Soccer players in South Dakota.
After consulting with US Youth Soccer Region II Director Bill Podewils and US Youth Soccer Region II Cup Director Bob Hart, and back-and-forth email discussions, late in the evening of Tuesday, May 7th, SDSSA President Rich Jensen shared their opinions and his own position – that there was nothing to protest – with the Competitive Committee. Later that evening, or the morning of Wednesday, May 8th, the Competitive Committee seems to have correctly decided that they did not have cause to proceed. The protest would not go beyond the first step of the process, as laid out by Competitive Committee Chair Mark Glissendorf – “Step 1: Competitive Committee decides whether to hear and consider the protest or not.” As SDSSA President Jensen ultimately pointed out near the end of the debate: “Our rules simply do not apply to this situation. It only would apply if the player were on a roster of two competitive teams within our organization.”
A protest was filed, and the Competitive Committee found it was without merit and the matter was closed. The process worked, right? Not really. Remember, the tournament concluded by 2 pm on Sunday, May 5th. The email inquiring about the protest procedure was sent to the SDSSA office on the afternoon of Monday, May 6th. And the 2013 SD State Cup Rules, as posted on the SDSSA website, clearly state that the time for filing any kind of protest about the event had long past. Here they are, in brief:
PROTESTS AND APPEALS
Section 1. All questions relating to the qualifications of competitors, to interpretation of the rules, or any dispute or protest concerning the South Dakota State Cup competition, shall be referred to the South Dakota State Cup Committee regarding games at the state level.
Section 2. Eligible and Type – A. To be valid and eligible for consideration, each protest — 1. Must be orally lodged with the referee and with the opposing coach at the game site before entering the field of play or leaving the game site, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section; and 2. Must be filed with the South Dakota State Cup Committee within 1 hours (sic) after the completion of the game being protested . . .
There’s more to the State Cup Rules, but that’s the pertinent part. It seems that the only real rules violation that occurred here was that the protest was even considered – more than 24 hours after the last game of the State Cup had concluded. The protest should never have been accepted by the South Dakota State Cup Committee. (As a side note, we searched all available documents online and in the 2013 State Cup printed program, but were unable to find a listing of who serves or served on the South Dakota State Cup Committee.)
The deadline to file a protest had passed under the State Cup Rules, so the protest was filed in a slightly different manner. Instead of the South Dakota State Cup Committee, it was the SDSSA Competitive Committee that considered the protest. Committee Chair Mark Glissendorf, who received the protest, indicated to the Committee that the protest was “not in reference to the State Cup event rules. It is based on the ‘South Dakota Soccer Registration Rules’ which are posted on the SDSSA web site.” The Competitive Committee again missed the mark in considering the protest.
Since the protest was not about the State Cup directly, but about the SDSSA Registration Rules, then those Registration Rules should determine who would have jurisdiction over such a protest. Per SDSSA Bylaw Article VI-F, the State Registrar (not the SDSSA Competitive Committee) is given the responsibility for “the registration/rostering of players in regard to the State “A” and “B” tournaments and of the Challenge Cup”. Unless the SDSSA Board of Directors clearly carved out this responsibility from the State Registrar responsibilities, the Competitive Committee does not have authority to review club player registration protests. Since I could find no record of that action, and no committee has specifically been given that authority by SDSSA, it would appear that the applicable guiding document would be the SDSSA Conflict Resolution Policy and Procedures – which were also not followed in this situation.
I fully understand that the majority of our state youth soccer leaders are volunteers. Having walked in those shoes, I understand that volunteers may not always have the time and resources to do all the necessary research to respond in a timely fashion and get it right the first time. In this situation, I feel they got it wrong twice. First, in considering the protest after the deadline established for the event, and second, or alternatively, in considering the protest through a committee that lacked authority to do so.
At the conclusion of the protest consideration process, a member of the Competitive Committee urged the committee “to meet and discuss the verbiage of our present rules to see if we need to redraft the documents.” Great idea, to at least review and discuss the present rules! To help keep something like this from happening again and hopefully get it right the first time, youth soccer leaders – especially those who have the privilege and honor of serving on the State Competitive Committee and State Board – need to become more familiar with the youth soccer rules that are already written. We would urge the Competitive Committee Members, before re-drafting the rules, to become more familiar with at least this section of the SDSSA Bylaws:
ARTICLE II – RELATIONSHIP WITH USSF – A. Priority of USSF Rules – The United States Soccer Federation articles of incorporation, bylaws, policies and requirements take precedence over and supersede the governing documents and decisions of the Corporation and its members to the extent applicable under state law and the Corporation and its members will abide by those articles, bylaws, policies and requirements.
Also, these specific bylaws of SDSSA’s national membership organization, US Youth Soccer:
US Youth Soccer Bylaw 105. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY -Section 1. USYSA shall provide an equal opportunity to athletes, coaches, trainers, managers, administrators, and officials to participate in youth soccer competitions. Section 3. USYSA may not have eligibility criteria relating to amateur status more restrictive than those of the Federation.
US Youth Soccer Bylaw 214. STATE ASSOCIATION RESPONSIBILITIES – Section 1. In addition to other requirements of these bylaws, each State Association shall— (5) comply with requirements pertaining to regional, interstate, national, and international competition and other competitions approved or sponsored by USYSA and as required by the Federation.
And finally, study carefully this bylaw from the US Soccer Federation, the national governing body for South Dakota Soccer Association –
US Soccer Federation Bylaw 603. INTERPLAY – Section 2. An Organization Member (other than a Professional League) shall not discriminate against the participation of players, teams, coaches or clubs on the basis of that player, coach, team, or club’s membership in, or affiliation with, another organization. The Federation encourages its Organization Members to allow teams of all other Members to participate in tournaments sponsored by them or any of its organization members when the teams otherwise comply with the tournament eligibility requirements.
The lack of understanding of all of the relevant rules is one source of my frustration with this situation. But what bothers me most is that this whole process seemed to have not been about finding a way to let this kid play soccer, but about finding ways to NOT let a kid play, or at least to disqualify the SDSSA roster the player is on and set aside all games the team played while the kid was on the team’s roster – specifically, the State Cup matches. (Fortunately, that did not happen.)
If you are looking for ways to include more kids in more soccer opportunities in South Dakota, FANTASTIC! You will find other rules and bylaws to support you in the official documents of US Youth Soccer and the US Soccer Federation. But if some members of the Competitive Committee are looking to make a rules change in SDSSA soccer so that it’s the Game for ALL Kids, EXCEPT those kids who also choose to play with any other brand of youth soccer, including US Club Soccer . . . well that’s unsporting behavior, at the expense of the kids you serve. You will be on the wrong side of history. And most likely on the uncomfortable “business end” of the United States Soccer Federation.
Please remember why you undoubtedly originally got involved with youth soccer – first, for the kids, and second for the good of the game. The rest is just details.
Opposing viewpoints and constructive comments are always welcome. No fouls, misconduct or offsides. We reserve the right to not allow comments that cannot be attributed to an actual person and/or do not serve the game or the discussion, in the opinion of the referee. Which is me.