Kitsap Kick-off Soccer Tourney Could Be Cancelled

Addendum 3:30 p.m. March1: Minutes for the South Kitsap Soccer Club can be found on the Washington State Youth Soccer Association Web site under information, then documents.

The South Kitsap Soccer Club Board of Directors is considering cancellation of the Kitsap Kick-off, annual soccer tournament, due to lack of volunteers, said club president Mike Kerr.

The Board will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 11 at Marcus Whitman Junior High School to discuss the proposal with club members.

Another proposal to be discussed at the meeting is switching the U9 teams for players 8 years old and under to randomized team assignment. In other words the rosters and coaches would change each year.

The KKO last year was moved from its traditional slot on Labor Day weekend to the week before, a move that Kerr said resulted in increased participation. The number of teams in 2009, 72, was up from 40 the previous year. Fees from the 2009 tournament generated $10,000 in revenue for the club.

The tournament appears to be a plus for the club. Additionally, with the KKO bringing teams from out of town for a three-day tournament, the local economy stands to lose out if the tournament is canceled.

The board went ahead and registered for the tournament this year, in the hope that volunteers will step forward from the meeting. If the KKO goes forward, the dates would be Aug. 27, 28 and 29.

Members of the board last year held roles in organizing the tournament, but “the executive board is stretched thin,” said Kerr.

Following a 2008 change in board organization, in which the number of board members was reduced from 21 to 13, a number of volunteers in key positions left the club. Positions that had previously been board positions became non-voting “committee member” positions. The change was made in part because the club was having trouble coming up with a quorum and had become “unwieldy,” Kerr said. Nevertheless, it appeared to have caused bad feelings on the part of some board members who left the club disgruntled.

I asked Kerr today if the club was having trouble filling volunteer positions. He said, no, only in the area of the Kitsap Kick-off. According to the SKSC Web site, one board position and four committee positions out of a total of 21 positions altogether are vacant.

Kerr who previously held the post of Vice President of Administration is now serving as club president. Former president Dick Morhrmann stepped down in December, 2009. Mohrmann was not available for comment. According to Kerr, he was “just getting tired.”

Mohrmann, in his late 60s, a former president of the Washington State Youth Soccer Association, was appointed in Jan. 11, 2008, as club president by SKSC’s parent organization, Kitsap Peninsula Youth Soccer Association, which stepped in at that time over what many called “dysfunction” on the board.

South Kitsap Soccer Club at one time had around 1,500 players. In 2009, there were about 1,200. That’s still a lot of kids and a lot of families who could potentially be affected if volunteer momentum that keeps the club going peters out, for whatever reason. If the executive board is stretched thin, that would suggest they are having trouble recruiting volunteers.

If you’ve been involved in the club, tell me how you think things are going. What do you think of the proposals on the table (No KKO; randomize team assignments for players 8 and under). Have you volunteered in the past? If you no longer volunteer, why?

Leave your comments here, or contact me at chenry@kitsapsun.com.

Thanks, Chris Henry

2 thoughts on “Kitsap Kick-off Soccer Tourney Could Be Cancelled

  1. Chris,

    I will step up as the Tournament Director for the 2009 KKO and tell you and the rest of the community, that yes. Volunteerism was very scarce for the 09 KKO. Which is quite unfortunate. This was my very first time hosting and directing any tournament or jamboree and can tell you that the experience has taught me a lot. I was fortunate enough to have some reliable help from board members that have helped serve on the tournament committees in the past. While I am sure that I didn’t get it all done right and there were a few glitches , I am positive the KKO was a great success and the feed back is mostly positive.

    Let me first start by telling you that I have 4 children ages 7, 11, 13, and 15. 3 of which play soccer at other clubs. SKSC is the only club that I volunteer for. I also am the director for last years and this years Great Root Bear Jamboree. A U11 and below tournament that has been around for as long as the KKO. In 09 we hosted 78 teams up from the previous year from 48 teams. Quite the growth.

    While not as big as the KKO, the RBJ does require volunteers as well. My time is just as precious as any other parents and both tournaments required much of my time and attention especially the last week before each event. I saw my children very little in prep for both events and in fact had my children out helping to set up for both events.

    In the past, it has been the same for anyone in my position. But with that being said, this past year the lack of volunteers was exceedingly down from previous years. Now while I can not say exactly what the reason behind the drop in numbers, it did greatly effect the KKO more so than the RBJ.

    SKSC Board members including former Pres. Dick Mohrmann, spent many hours lining fields, moving goals, and prepping for each tourney. We also heavily relied on members of SKHS Jr. ROTC putting in countless hours of community service both prior to, during and after each event. Board members, Jr. ROTC, and VERY few parent volunteers we key in the success of both events.

    I tried relentlessly to recruit volunteers via phone, and email, as well as approaching coaches and asking for them to ask for their parents help. But there was no success in getting the volunteers needed. Still with the help of a very supportive board, a handful of parent volunteers and the Jr. ROTC, we pulled of each event with only minor hick-ups along the way.

    I am the one who suggested that we do not hold the KKO this year, but continue with the RBJ as it requires less people to make it happen. The reason for the suggestion is the fact that we can not rely only on the board and the Jr. ROTC to put together a community event as big as the KKO. With out volunteers stepping up, I don’t feel that it is beneficial to continue even though the event did bring revenue to both the club and the community.

    I would also like to interject that prior to both events, I was dealing with vandalism of Honey Buckets and tents at each of the tournament locations. It caused me to have to take time away from things that still needed to be accomplished since there was not enough help. It also costs our club money.

    I believe that this would be a good year to put the tournament on hold and hope that enough volunteers would step up to form a committee that could look at overhauling the tournament. I think that giving ourselves a year to see what other clubs do and how they run their tournaments is an idea that should be taken seriously. I can tell you that with my kids playing in several different tournaments during the summer, I have seen volunteers at other clubs stepping up, due to club requirements. It is something that I hope will be discussed amongst our board and our membership.

    I have faith in the present board at SKSC and will continue to support SKSC and its efforts and attempts to make soccer in this community the best experience for parents and players as it could be. The continued work by all of the volunteers both past and present should be commended. All of us have families and are spread quite thin. I would hope to see the volunteers start stepping up not just to help with the tournaments, but with the day to day needs of lining fields and helping with equipment distribution and maintenance. Even if you only have one hour to donate, or can donate more time SKSC needs your help. They also need your understanding that they are just trying to be a soccer club to be proud of.

    I am proud to serve as a volunteer for SKSC and hope that many more will join me in my efforts as well as those who serve on our board. If you would like to know more about helping the club please feel free to come to our monthly meetings held 1st Thurs. of each month starting in May, and our special meeting held on March 11th.

  2. Well said Dawn.

    There does come a point when putting band-aids on problems only makes them worse and the fundamental reason for the problems never gets correctly solved. It is much harder to take a deliberate step back to prove and to show that something broken or failing so the reset button can be pressed and a full multi-level solution can be constructed and implemented.

    I have been where you are. Not in soccer, but for other organizations. It is not easy. The very nature and internal drive of those of us who are willing to take these types of commitments, also causes us to take the broken and the failure back upon ourselves instead of letting it be seen for what it truly is.

    Hang in there. Keep at it because you love doing it and not for any other reason.

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