SK Soccer Leadership: Speak Now (as in today)

The South Kitsap Soccer Club will hold its annual general meeting today (Dec. 2) to elect officers for positions with terms expiring and to consider proposed changes to the bylaws. The meeting is at 6 p.m. at Marcus Whitman Junior High School.

It’s been a rocky year for the youth soccer organization … again. It seems like I’ve been covering or hearing about discontent within ranks of SKSC membership since I took over the South Kitsap beat.

Complaints I’ve heard in 2010 from several corners stemmed from an incident at the 2009 Kitsap Kickoff involving parents, coaches and at least one board member. Late in 2009, Brain Yarbrough, vice president of administration, was suspended by Washington State Youth Soccer from serving on the board, coaching, or even attending his children’s games for his alleged involvement in a general melee at the tournament. Documents I’ve read that mention the incident indicate it was an argument among adults that turned ugly but nothing that would constitute criminal behavior on anyone’s part. Yarbrough appealed the suspension to the United States Soccer Federation. Since he is listed on the current board and posted documents to the SKSC website as early as July and as recently as late November, it appears he prevailed in his appeal.

Board minutes from Dec. 30, 2009, indicate the board approved a payment of $2,700 to an attorney on behalf of Yarbrough. According to Suzanne Coffman of Guidestar, to whom I spoke in February, an expenditure such is this may be an allowable expense under “directors and officers insurance.” Although Coffman could not speak on this specific incident, she said it is not unheard of or unlawful for a nonprofit organization to provide legal protection to people, including volunteers, acting in an official capacity.

In other issues, the bylaws of the club were changed late in 2009, reducing the number of voting members on the board. There were complaints about this in comments on the Kitsap Sun website and elsewhere. A number of volunteers left the organization, which put out appeals for help earlier in the year. According to President Mike Kerr, they had regrouped and the organization was doing well as of this spring.

In May, SKSC created more waves by proposing to change the way it assigns young players to its recreational teams. The SKSC board got pushback from some parents (and threats to take their children to other clubs) for proposing to randomly assign players 7 years old and younger to teams, but they earned praise from others with an interest in youth soccer for being forward thinking.

Well, now, another soccer season has come and gone. Presumably members have been advised of tonight’s meeting, which would be an opportunity to voice one’s sense of satisfaction or discontent with the club. SKSC also has posted a survey on its home page seeking feedback on the 2010 season, including the policy of randomly assigning younger players to teams.

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