In my last entry I posted an overview of Washington Youth Soccer’s Constitutional Convention process: where it came from, what the goals are, and how we evolved our structure to meet these goals. A process that started over four years ago continues on today into the next phase of our organization’s growth cycle as we move from major changes in board structure and bylaws to supporting the work of the Soccer Operations Committee and its subcommittees for levels of play, operating documents, and rules of competition. Part of this work includes a new decision-making process that puts the direction of each level of play with the member groups that are direct participants.
Today, we’ll wrap-up the background on the Soccer Operations Committee formation, with our next post covering the committee’s work on the Operating Documents. Next week, we’ll finish up our WA Youth Soccer structural overview with a conversation about the subcommittees of the Soccer Operations Committee.
A major goal of the Constitutional Convention was to better harness the expertise of our soccer administrators across the state by moving competition-related decisions to a committee outside of the Board of Directors, as the Board of Directors now focuses on the long-term strategic planning and nonprofit aspects of the organization. The Soccer Operations Committee (SOC) was created for this purpose as a standing committee of WA Youth Soccer in the new bylaws adopted at the 2009 Annual General Meeting.
The new committee was populated with each of the District Commissioners, WA Youth Soccer staff, WA Youth Soccer Board of Directors members, and local Club/Association/District administrators. The committee composition reflected the stakeholders in WA Youth Soccer, enabling the organization to bring diverse perspectives of geography (rural versus urban), competition (from TOPSoccer to Regional Clubs), areas of expertise (Directors of Coaching to local and state administrators), and other qualities that represent our members, to the committee that makes soccer decisions on behalf of the membership. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, the Soccer Operations Committee is of the members, by the members, for the members.
To be fair, implementing the SOC was an adjustment for members of the Board of Directors as well as the SOC. District Commissioners had previously served on the governing board and were now focusing solely on soccer issues, which better suits the roles that Commissioners are elected for in their local Districts; still, it was a cultural shift that has become easier over the past two years and has resulted in a revitalization of the organization.
The exciting change this transition allowed was bringing an operational understanding of our competitions to the committee via state committee chairs, experienced local administrators, and the participation of WA Youth Soccer staff members. In one room we are able to bring together volunteers and staff, coaches and administrators, allowing for a healthy discussion of the impact of decisions on all levels of the membership. Decisions made by the SOC are informed by people who are dealing with competition issues on a daily basis and put the direction of WA Youth Soccer directly into our members’ hands.
Tomorrow’s post will dive into the Operating Documents process and explain why it was necessary to move from the Administrative Handbook to the new document format, and how you can get involved in policy/procedure changes for Washington Youth Soccer.