The South Dakota State Soccer Association (“SDSSA”) has been around for almost 40 years, offering organized soccer opportunities for youth across the state through its member organizations. With a current
May 20, 2013 Rapid City police officer and well-known soccer coach Brian Pitts received the 2013 Community Service Award from Behavior Management Systems and the Crisis Care Center Staff this
by Janis Meredith Reprinted from Coachup Blog Annoying is a word that some athletes use to describe their parents’ behavior, and it is also used by coaches to describe some
Branding – it’s not just for livestock anymore. If you grew up on or have ties to a farm or ranch in South Dakota, you more than likely are pretty
Nominations for awards open June 1, 2013. Awards pictured are simply examples of similar type national awards and not intended to depict the actual awards that will be presented by Soccer605.
The South Dakota State Soccer Association (“SDSSA”) has been around for almost 40 years, offering organized soccer opportunities for youth across the state through its member organizations. With a current membership of 33 associations, SDSSA branded soccer is now available in every South Dakota town that has a population of 5,000 or more – all fourteen of them – as well as many of our smaller towns and communities in the state. That’s a good thing.
Last we heard, about 15,000 kids are registered to play soccer through SDSSA and its member organizations. According to South Dakota Kids Count and the 2010 Census, there were 167,119 kids between the ages of 5 and 19 in our state. These are the typical ages that kids play organized youth soccer through SDSSA. That means nearly 9% of all kids in South Dakota play soccer. While we’d love to see that number even higher, nearly one in 10 kids playing soccer? That’s a good thing!
Over these past four decades, many kids who started playing soccer through SDSSA have gone on to play college soccer. A lot of them received soccer scholarships. Add to those the other young adults who started playing youth soccer through SDSSA and are still playing today. Some of them are now coaching their own kids. Others have gone on to make a career of soccer – either playing or coaching at some level. We don’t have data to know how many of you there are or what percentage of you have continued in some aspect of soccer as a result of having played SDSSA soccer, but we do know this – after nearly 40 years of serving kids through youth soccer, SDSSA has had a tremendous, positive impact on a LOT of kids and adults who are still involved in the sport. And that too is a good thing.
A lot of things can change in the course of forty years. In the early years, soccer was considered pretty much a fringe sport, mostly for immigrants. Today, it is recognized across the country and, yes, even in South Dakota, as a mainstream sport. It’s offered at many high schools now – and will hopefully be fully sanctioned across the state within the next two years. That’s a good thing.
As little as ten years ago, you could count on one hand the number of higher licensed coaches – defined as those with a “C” license or above – in the state. Today there are several, plus a score or more of “D” licensed coaches, and lots of coaches with Youth Module licenses. Not so long ago there were very few Grade 7 or above referees in the state and not a lot of Grade 8s. Now we have several Grade 6 and Grade 5 referees. While there is still, and probably always will be, a shortage of both licensed coaches and certified referees, the number of those who have gone on to advance in their chosen area of contribution has increased significantly. And that’s a really good thing.
SDSSA started out as a small organization of committed volunteers and has grown into an even larger organization of still dedicated individuals, still almost entirely volunteers. (There is only one full-time paid staff member). The leadership of SDSSA and its member associations are facing new challenges today. Increasing numbers of people involved in soccer across the state have some soccer in their background and their own soccer literacy. There is no longer the well-intentioned “blind leading the blind” or a few knowledgeable individuals easily directing the course of action. The volunteers involved today each have their own knowledge base, ideas and opinions, and will be heard. Nor are they afraid to call each other out when they disagree. If it ever really existed in SDSSA, group-think is definitely now a thing of the past, replaced by frank discussion, negotiation and compromise. While not always the tidiest way of doing business, in an organization like SDSSA, that’s still a good thing.
The landscape has changed. introduction of the professional versus volunteer model of organization into youth soccer in South Dakota has brought its share of changes in approach, whether real or perceived. The current economy has forced soccer activities to compete with other family needs and wants. In addition to traditional sports, other “fringe” sports have cropped up and gained in popularity, adding more options for kids and families who may choose a different sport. The same budget crunches that cause families to reconsider their spending priorities around soccer also cause them to reconsider their earning priorities – and volunteering for soccer activities may not make the cut. Good, bad or indifferent, that’s reality.
For those who do volunteer at the local level or the state level (and in many cases both), they need to feel they are making a difference and are appreciated for the sacrifice of their valuable time. Youth soccer leaders understand that the decisions they make will impact not only the kids who are playing today, but the kids who are playing tomorrow. They realize that each and every one of the people working with them is also doing his or her best to make the right decisions for the kids and for soccer. They understand that sometimes they will make mistakes and must move beyond them. They know that they must approach each new issue with patience, and with respect for each other and the game. Each and every one of the SDSSA leaders, whether on the state board or on a local board, knows that ultimately, their responsibility is what is best for the kids. And that? That’s a good thing.
May 20, 2013
Rapid City police officer and well-known soccer coach Brian Pitts received the 2013 Community Service Award from Behavior Management Systems and the Crisis Care Center Staff this week. Pitts was commended for his steadfast dedication to being a helpful partner to the Crisis Care Center and a valuable resource in the Rapid City community.
Brian has served in many important capacities in South Dakota, including Director of Coaching.
You make us ALL proud, Coach Brian Pitts.
Crisis Care Center’s Teri Corrigan presents Brian Pitts with 2013 Community Service Award.
by Janis Meredith
Reprinted from Coachup Blog
Annoying is a word that some athletes use to describe their parents’ behavior, and it is also used by coaches to describe some sports parenting behaviors.
There’s a third twist to the annnoyances: parents annoying other parents.
After writing posts for Coachup on parents annoying athletes, and parents annoying coaches, I was reminded by readers that parents should be mindful of how they annoy other parents. So I asked for some feedback and this is what parents claimed to be the most annoying behaviors by other parents.
Coaching from the stands.
One parent said, “I’ve seen kids stop playing to try and listen to what mom or dad is saying in the crowd.”
“It’s one thing to cheer,” claims another parent. “ It’s another thing to yell and get pissed off with every little mistake. It’s it uncomfortable for all.”
“Parents should not give tactical or playing direction,” explains a mom. “Leave that to the coach; your job is to encourage only.”
Constant yammering at the officials, coaches, players.
“If you know so much, get out there and help,” says a frustrated sports parent.
Verbally putting down their child, especially in front of the team. It’s awkward for everyone witnessing this and embarrassing for your child.
Intimidating a child on the opposing team. “I’ve seen parents stand too close to the court and clap loudly about the opponent’s mistakes, trying to intimidate them, it seems,” recalls a dad.
In my opinion, that is a poor display of sportsmanship and a huge display of immaturity.
Criticizing the play of kids on your own team. One mom claims that she’d often hear another mom moaning and saying critical things to players on her daughter’s team who made a mistake. “Seriously? I so wanted to tell her to shut up! And on top of all that, she always blamed other players for her daughter’s ‘mistakes.’ Like if her daughter didn’t catch a basketball pass, it was because she was thrown a bad pass, not because she dropped it!”
When my kids played sports, I often sat away from the cluster of parents so I didn’t have to listen to their nonsense. I found it more than annoying; it often angered me and I was afraid I’d say something I’d regret to an obnoxious parent.
How about you? What do you do when spectating parents are annoying during your child’s game?
Janis B. Meredith writes a sportsparenting blog, http://jbmthinks.com. She’s been a sports mom for 20 years, and a coach’s wife for 28, and sees life from both sides of the bench. You can also follow her on facebook and twitter.
Branding – it’s not just for livestock anymore.
If you grew up on or have ties to a farm or ranch in South Dakota, you more than likely are pretty familiar with branding. For those of you that didn’t, branding is a process, typically done in the spring, where the offspring and new livestock are branded with the mark of the owner, using either the old hot-iron method, freeze-branding, lip or ear tattoos, earmarking or tagging or with the new RFID microchip. Regardless of the process, the purpose is the same – to clearly identify the livestock as belonging to the livestock owner.
How well are you branding your soccer association? The concept is still pretty much the same – clearly marking your activities, events, products and services as yours, so that there is no doubt about their ownership. And the visibility of spring soccer is a great time to make sure you are doing it well.
Branding your soccer association or club is simple, but does require attention to details. Detials such as – Do you have signs at your fields that clearly display the name of your club or association, along with your logo? Is your association name and logo prominent on all publications – both print and online – that your organization produces or shares with the public? This would include not only your registration paperwork, but your website, Facebook and any other social media your organization participates in. If you offer online registrations, whose name is more prominent on the registration page – your association’s, or the name of the registration software company? When you host tournaments, do you have signage with your association and tournament logos in prominent places throughout the fields and other venues? Are your tournament staff clearly identified with shirts displaying the association or tournament logo? What about your tournament programs? Do you have your logos where they will be seen frequently? Do you have information about how to join your organization readily available at all tournaments, on your website, on your Facebook page, etc?
If you have ever been to a US Youth Soccer regional or national event, they are quite adept at branding the US Youth Soccer logo – Stickley – in a variety of places. There are pop-up banners scattered all over the venue, along with the tall blade flags. There are pop-up team tents proudly displaying the US Youth Soccer logo. Even the water coolers at the benches have the US Youth Soccer logo. It’s hard to take a photo or video at any of the regional or national US Youth Soccer events that doesn’t include a US Youth Soccer logo in at least one area of the picture. That’s what branding means – there is no doubt who “owns” the event that you are attending.
Having your logo prominently displayed reaffirms your members in their decision to choose you and your soccer brand. It instills brand loyalty. It also tells other visiting soccer people who you are. And just as important – possibly more importantly – it visibly informs the nonsoccer people, who may be your potential sponsors, just who you are. It says, “This is our brand of soccer. We own it. We’re proud of it.”
Speaking of sponsors (and potential sponsors), how well are they co-branding with you? The reason most businesses will include soccer funding in their marketing is not only that they want to demonstrate that they give back to the community. They want their business associated with healthy activities like yours, and want to “rent space” in the minds of your soccer community and others who attend your event. Just like you, business sponsors want to build loyalty for their brand – and they know that having their images, name and logo prominently displayed at your events and in your publications will help do that for them. They want to borrow a corner of your brand to show off their brand. An article last summer in MediaLife Magazine1, a publication for media planners and buyers, urged marketing professionals to look at soccer sponsorships for their clients. The article noted:
- The number of youth soccer players in the United States has doubled in the past 20 years, and youth soccer tournaments have become as popular with advertisers as more traditional youth sports like baseball and basketball.
- Advertisers at youth soccer tournaments reach large family audiences, including parents who have money to spend. A third of adult soccer fans make at least $100,000 a year.
- Soccer tournaments also target the young players themselves, who require a lot of soccer-related equipment like balls, shin guards and cleats, making it an ideal venue for sports-related brands.
MediaLife provides additional demographics in the article, and indicated that “recent or current youth soccer sponsors include sports equipment/apparel, consumer packaged goods, airlines, hotels, fast food, sports drinks and telecom.” Is your association reaching out to the potential business sponsors in your community with an invitation to co-brand?
Perhaps one of the best examples of co-branding with youth soccer has been adidas®. The German company sunk a considerable amount of money and product sponsorship into making sure that when kids think of soccer apparel and equipment in the US (and in other countries), adidas® would be the first thing that came to mind. It worked so well that when our sons were playing youth soccer, they wouldn’t even consider looking at any other brand of soccer boots for quite some time. Another great example of co-branding was with Snickers® and the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series. Many of us who have been involved in youth soccer for a number of years may still slip up and occasionally include the word “Snickers®” when referring to the State Cups, Regional Tournaments and National Championships – even though their sponsorship of the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series expired over a decade ago. There is still a tournament in Wyoming called the Snickers Bighorn Soccer Cup – yet Snickers doesn’t even appear on their list of tournament sponsors! (Some state associations and clubs are still sponsored by adidas®.) Both adidas® and Snickers® invested a lot of resources over an extended period of time to establish themselves so well with the soccer community. Neither brand continues to sponsor youth soccer on a national level – but old, well-established branding dies hard. Your potential sponsors would do well to remember that. Investing for just a season may lead to some short-term, temporary gains –but investing well and sustaining the investment over time will yield much better, long-range results.
New branding opportunities are surfacing all the time – you just have to look for the natural connections. Just ask Washington Youth Soccer, and Golazo® All Natural
Beverages. In an announcement last fall2, Washington Youth Soccer stated that it “has partnered with Golazo, Inc., the soccer passion brand from the Northwest, to make its family of All Natural Sports Hydration beverages the Official Drinks of Washington Youth Soccer. The partnership unites the state’s preeminent soccer organization with a fast-growing, local passion brand to celebrate healthier choices for their 150,000 youth soccer
players, coaches, and referees.” Golazo® is branding itself so strongly to soccer that it has a soccer ball in its logo, along with the trademarked slogan ” We Fuel Fútbol™”.
When you brand your association prominently at your events and on all of your publications, you are demonstrating to potential sponsors how well they, too, could be co-branding with you. Business owners and marketers can begin to visualize how their own logo and slogans would look alongside yours, being seen by all of your members, spectators and visitors. It may not happen overnight, but you probably aren’t looking for short-term, temporary gains. You will need to establish and promote your brand in big, visible ways over an extended period of time – investing well in your branding and sustaining your branding over time will yield much better, long-range results. Your association leadership would do well to remember that too.
Nominations for awards open June 1, 2013. Awards pictured are simply examples of similar type national awards and not intended to depict the actual awards that will be presented by Soccer605.
Is your soccer organization doing a brilliant job of keeping connected with your members? Amazing work at letting the community know who you are and what you are doing? Recognizing your volunteers and sponsors in creative ways? Strengthening your soccer culture with quality content about activities? We want to know about it!
The mission of Soccer605 is to strengthen the South Dakota soccer community by sharing soccer news across South Dakota and serving as an advocate for everything soccer in the State. We have dual goals that work quite well together. First — keeping the statewide soccer community up-to-date on what is happening in soccer across the State by providing a one-stop-shop where players, coaches, referees and fans can keep on top of South Dakota soccer news. Second – to provide a forum where youth and adult players, and coaches across the soccer spectrum are recognized for their efforts on behalf of their schools, their clubs and the region.
We realize that this all happens FIRST at the local level – and we want to recognize those that are making that happen! That is why we are introducing four new Soccer605 awards. We encourage you to give yourselves some recognition by nominating your organization for one or more the following awards – open only to state and local organizations/clubs serving the soccer community in South Dakota.
What a Soccer Fan! Award –
Are your supporters FAN-tastic? Do they represent your local soccer culture with style? This award is for the best fans – nominations must provide photos and/or videos of your fans to prove the point, and sign a statement to affirm that your fans uphold the integrity and spirit of the sport with sportsmanlike behavior toward officials and to opposing players, coaches and fans. Must also affirm that your fans leave the pitch sidelines in as good or better condition than it was when they arrived to show that they are good stewards of soccer facilities and resources. Check out this site for more information – http://whatafan.com/
Soccer Shorty Award –
Do you have a social media wizard working for your association or club or a member of your association or club? This award is for the best use of social media to promote South Dakota soccer – Innovative use of social media to build local soccer culture – Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr, et al. Sample documentation needs to be provided in the nomination, along with links, twitter handles, etc. For a better understanding of this award, check out this site – http://shortyawards.com/
Soccer Webby Award –
Is your webmaster building your local soccer culture and keeping your followers up-to-date with interesting and informative content? This award is for best website – informative, up-to-date website for your members and prospective members that is full of good content, linked to other social media. The domain name/link to the website must be included in the nomination criteria, along with the reasons that your association site should receive the award. Check out this website http://www.webbyawards.com/
Ink & Air Award –
For traditional media to give great coverage of your local soccer activities, someone has to feed them the stories and the information. Does your organization or event public relations committee do a great job of getting press releases out to the radio, television and newspapers to let them know about your soccer activities in advance? Are they getting scores, results, pictures or video to the local media? This award is for the best outreach from a soccer association to traditional radio, television and newspaper media outlets. Keeping other media informed of your association/club activities and events to make it easy for them cover your local soccer players, coaches, fans and administrators. Nominations should include sample copies of actual press releases and copies of or valid links to the published/aired media – copies of newspaper stories, audio files from radio, video files from TV. This award is not for the media outlet itself – to nominate the media outlet, please use the SD Soccer Association’s “Friend of Soccer Media Award”
Who is eligible? These awards are NOT for the media outlets, but for the local, regional and state soccer associations/clubs and their committees, both adult and amateur, in South Dakota. As an example, a tournament committee might do an outstanding job in utilizing social media for your tournament, or in keeping local or statewide traditional media informed about your event. (Please note that Soccer605, as the presenter of these awards, is not eligible for nomination.)
How do you nominate an association, club or committee for an award? Nomination forms will be posted on Soccer605.com on June 1, when the process opens. Some of the information needed to make a nomination will be the name of the nominator, the name of the nominee and the title of the campaign, along with room to describe why that organization or committee is being nominated. Up to three letters of support from other persons or organizations will also be accepted as attachments. Nominations for the 2013 Awards will open June 1, 2013 and close October 1, 2013. Nominations will be accepted at any time during the four-month nomination period.
Where and when will the awards be made? Awards will be announced after October 1. The specific date and location will depend on who the recipient is for each award. If available, we will ask for time on statewide soccer event agendas to make the award presentation. For example, if the award is going to a member association of the South Dakota State Soccer Association, we will request to make that presentation at the SDSSA Annual Awards Banquet. If the award is going to a different type of organization, such as an adult organization, we will work with the South Dakota Adult Soccer Association as to the best time and place for that presentation.
Seven Reasons You Should Nominate Your Association for An Award – ANY Award! (This is based on a general appeal to marketing groups and companies. We have attempted to modify it to fit the soccer membership industry. Please note that the SD State Soccer Association also has some great awards.)
1. Learning Process
Entering awards for your association isn’t just about winning. You get to learn more about yourself and your association. The awards process itself can be quite grueling and difficult. Once you have all the right information, it will make it easier further down the line. You will need to create a spreadsheet with all of the awards you are eligible to enter so that you don’t miss any of the deadline dates.
2. Helps Re-evaluate your association
Every time you enter your program for an award, there may be something new worth mentioning. Entering these awards helps you re-evaluate your association so that you are always on top of what is going on. It is worth mentioning that when your association hits a milestone, you need to document it so that it is ready to be included in your awards entry.
3. You need to be in it, to win it
If you don’t enter, you won’t win. Just because your association may not be as large or as established as another association, it doesn’t mean you won’t come away with something. You may not win, but you may be highly commended. Don’t let the size or professionalism of your competition put you off nominating your association for awards.
4. Make important connections
If the awards you are entering have ceremonies, make sure a representative of your association or club attends them. This is very important as you could meet very influential people that you will be able to connect with. Don’t forget to take business cards with you as you never know when you may need them!
5. Brand Exposure
Entering Awards and having your association shortlisted is one of the best ways to gain the right kind of brand exposure. It may not happen straight away but the more awards you enter, the more your association’s name will appear in front of people and this can only be good exposure for your association brand.
6. Build Relationships with Volunteers and Members
Entering awards and winning will help build relationships in your organization and strengthen your local soccer culture. It is always nice to be acknowledged for the work you put into your organization and your other volunteers and members will feel the same way. It may also be a nice gesture to have your volunteer team at an awards ceremony to enjoy the company of each other in a social environment – which also helps fortify your soccer culture.
7. Get to know the Soccer Community and other Associations
The more awards you enter, the more likely you are to see other associations – who are not only your colleagues but may also be your competitors for members. Learn what they do well – take what will work for your program and leave or tweak the rest!