Tag Archives: South Kitsap Soccer Club

South Kitsap Soccer: Take the Poll

In March, I wrote about a brewing brouhaha over South Kitsap Soccer Club’s proposal to switch registration for younger players to random team assignments. Today, the Kitsap Sun ran a story on the trend toward randomization. At issue is whether is it better for younger players to stay with the team they played on the year before or to be reassigned randomly to level the playing field, so to speak.

I was copied on more than 30 e-mails from parents who disagree with the soccer board’s policy. Mark Strombeck, a coach and parent who encouraged peole to sound off to the board, said that was only about a third of the 100 or so e-mails to board actually received. At that, said board president Mike Kerr, the naysayers represent about 10 percent of the club’s membership (there were about 1,300 players last year). In the interest of allowing all SKSC families to weigh in, I have posted a poll on Speaking of South Kitsap.

If you’d like to weigh in, you can take a poll on the home page of this blog (scroll down, the poll is on the right.

For the Good of the Game

Two items related to youth sports in South Kitsap.

Act I: Can Pee Wees and Little League Play Nice?
The Port Orchard City Council on Tuesday agreed to allow South Kitsap Western Little League to take over the remainder of the Babe Ruth Association’s lease on the baseball field at Givens Community Center.
With the demise of Babe Ruth, SKWLL had hoped to occupy the field, thereby giving a better play venue to their older players than the junior high school fields they’ve been using.
SKWLL representative Bob Showers was there making his pitch, along with Art Mikelsen, a long-time supporter of youth baseball. The Little League season is just swinging into gear and will run through July. The South Kitsap Pee Wees take the field from August through November.
Pee Wee representatives were not at the meeting. But the city attorney had determined that the lease could be altered with out consent of the leasees.
Fred Olin, chairman of the public property committee, was the lone council member voting against the lease transfer. Olin said the two uses aren’t compatible, and although Pee Wees and Babe Ruth have shared the field for several years, there’s been friction.
“They can’t play in the sandbox together,” he said.
Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola seconded that observation saying much of his first year as mayor of the city was occupied by “playing referee” between the two groups.
“We’re not going to get in a he-said-she-said, ya, ya contest with you and the Pee Pees,” Coppola said to Showers. “There’s been costly staff time fighting about how fields would be maintained and who’s going to maintain them. We’re not going there about this.
“What I told them then and what I’m telling you now is, you will make this work and you will get along with Pee Wees or you’ll both be gone.”
Showers pledged that, whatever has gone on in the past, his organization will prove themselves good stewards and good neighbors.
“We are willing to work with them,” Showers said.
Rocky Huff, Pee Wees vice president, acknowledged on Friday that there historically has been conflict over field maintenance. The problem is that his group can’t reseed the field in the depths of winter. So the re-growth of the grass — chewed up by hudreds of Pee Wee cleats — sometimes encroached on baseball season.
The problem has not proven insurmountable, however, and with some recent changes in leadership on the part of both groups, the scuffling has died down, Huff said.
The lease transfer is only until the end of April, when the Babe Ruth/Pee Wee lease is up for renewal … or not. Terms of the lease are identical for both groups. The next month-and-a-half could be considered a trial period during which Pee Wees and SKWLL can prove they can share the sandbox after all.

Act II: Should Soccer Teams for U9 Players Be Randomly Assigned?
The South Kitsap Soccer Club met Thursday night to discuss whether the Kitsap Kick-off Soccer Tournament would die for lack of volunteers. About a dozen folks responded to a call for show-of-hands, so it looks like the tournament may come off after all.
A knottier issue was the proposal by the SKSC board to randomly assign players eight years old and under to teams. This would mean that, except for players whose parents are coaches, kids would play on a new team with a new coach each year.
This model is seen by board members as better for player development. Under the current system, some teams with adept players and coaches become dominant, resulting in lopsided matches that don’t serve anyone well, board members said. The focus is on the team and its record, not the development of individual players. Coaches and players stagnate.
The proposal has been met with strong resistance from parents, especially those who have invested time to coach their child and other children. They say randomizing teams would disrupt any consistency or momentum they’ve managed to generate among team members. One of the most important benefits of soccer, especially at a young age, is the socialization kids get from being part of a team. Kids don’t like or tolerate change, they say.
The observation was made that qualification and training of coaches should be more uniform if the club moves to this system. Board members agreed and said they would provide more opportunities for training.

South Kitsap Soccer Club last year had about 1,300 players. OK, you 1,300 families out there, I’ve got a challenge. Help your KIDS find the poll on the homepage of this blog and let them have their say. Should the club move to randomized teams for players 8 years old and under? (I’m OK with players old than 8 taking the poll.) The choices are:
Yes, I think it would be fun to play with different kids every year.
Yes. Then some kids wouldn’t get stuck with a bad coach while others get to keep a good coach.
No, my teammates are my friends. I would miss them.
No, my coach rocks. I want to stay with him/her.
I don’t care. I just want to play.

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