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Reflections and Progress

This is the time of the year when we reflect on what all of us have accomplished this past year, and look forward with fresh enthusiasm for what the New Year will bring. As Washington Youth Soccer reflects on this past year, we eagerly look forward to improving our existing programs and services to our members, and establishing new programs that will continue to add value to you as our "customers."

This past year brought us many new programs, one of them being the Regional Training Centers or, "RTCs," as they are commonly called. One of the benefits of our partnership with Seattle Sounders FC was the creation of these training centers. They have been set up across our state and have been a hub of activity since September of '09. Darren Sawatzky, our Director of Youth Development, has had tremendous success in finding the top coaches in our state to assist us in developing a training regimen that is second-to-none in the youth soccer world.

This program has not only created local excitement, it has also attracted national attention to our state and has brought us recognition as being a leader in youth development. With the funding assistance from Seattle Sounders FC, these programs have been brought to you at no cost to you or to any player that was recommended to attend. We have seen hundreds of our athletes attend these sessions and the reviews from the players and their parents have been outstanding. We will start our RTCs up again in the coming month; if you have not had the opportunity to learn about them, I encourage you to contact Darren at darrenS@SoundersFC.com to discuss this program and join the fun.

While we are talking about Sounders FC, we were also fortunate to be the recipient of their partner program and reap the rewards of their success. In December, we received a check for $6,000 that was garnered from memorabilia sales during Sounders FC games. Myself and Amy Wallsmith, from Washington Youth Soccer, were welcomed to the Virginia Mason Athletic Complex by a number of the Sounders staff to receive this recognition.

We thank Sounders FC for this contribution! This money has been dedicated to our Diversity program, Soccer Across Washington, to further promote the issue of identification and inclusion of the underserved areas of communities where we continue to give children of all backgrounds the opportunity to play soccer. Thank you, Sounders FC.

In 2010 we will be launching new programs that directly impact the developmental players in Washington Youth Soccer. These players make up the bulk of our membership and we are preparing to roll out a coaching curriculum that will impact every coach in the state. Since we hired Gary White as our Technical Director in November of 2009, he has assembled a group of highly qualified coaches that will assist him in developing this program. Gary's fresh approach to youth development centers on these four key areas:

  • Growth & Retention
    Increasing the number of players/coaches from all cultural backgrounds and addressing retention in the game, no matter what level of play.
  • Raising Standards
    Creating a safe and positive educational environment for all players and coaches. Club and coach development initiatives.
  • Better Players & Coaches
    Focusing on improving the quality of developmental programs, courses and workshops available, especially at the golden years of development (5-11 year olds).
  • Developing Career Pathways
    Support mechanisms for players and coaches that aspire to excel at the college, professional and National Team levels, players who can use their youth soccer careers as springboard to their success and can be re-cycled into youth development upon their return.

We want more players and coaches achieving their aspirations, no matter what level they desire, more players returning to the game upon their playing retirement and to set higher standards of coaching education, performance and development for all levels of play.

I would also like to introduce you to our newest Board Members, Mr. Bill Hurme and Mr. Bill Nuttall. Both of these individuals bring a wealth of soccer and business experience to our organization. With the change that the Constitutional Convention has brought us, we now fill our board positions by their skill sets and what a board member brings to our organization. These individuals are veterans in our soccer community and have garnered tremendous respect in both the soccer and business world. Bill Hurme, in addition to his background as an owner of multiple professional soccer teams, is well respected in the real estate world. Bill Nuttall has also served at all levels of soccer, from a professional player to a long-time executive in all aspects of the soccer world. I encourage you to go to our website and read about their informative history of participation in our community.

The number of our successes in this past year is too many to list here in this article. Many of these are due to the Constitutional Convention and the new organization that has allowed us to create these types of programs. Terry Fisher, our Executive Director/CEO, continues to push our staff to develop top-quality programs under his direction. With the implementation and continued development of the Seamless Soccer initiative that was identified in our strategic plan during that process, we are continuing to work on programs that bring multiple benefits to each of you as participants in our programs.

I wish you the best that the New Year can bring and I thank you for your continuing support of Washington Youth Soccer.

Washington Youth Soccer

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1-877-424-4318 (Toll Free) • (253) 4-SOCCER (476-2237)

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