Chairman's Message

Charles Dickens started his immortal work The Tale of Two Cities with the famous line: "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." I think I know a little of what he meant. After 8 years and as of January 1, 2010, I will no longer be the Chairman of CYSA. Giving up that office does leave one with some mixed emotions. I have served during a tumultuous time and there have been a lot of ups, a few downs, and a couple of trips going sideways. To steal another line, this one from Frank Sinatra, "regrets, I've got a few, but then again too few to mention." And, while I am on a role of stealing quotes from others, I just have to say this one from Mark Twain: "We have been through a lot together, and most of it was your fault." Not all of these quotes necessarily fit, but they are all still fun to toss around and for the most part they fit the situation to one degree or another with the exception of the last one.

I started my journey as Chairman with the belief that the higher and greater purpose of youth soccer is to enable children to build positive character traits by acquiring social skills, forming lasting friendships, learning to work together as a team while recognizing the uniqueness of each teammate, learning to respect authority while promoting independent creativity, and obtaining the critical skills necessary to succeed in life. I am ending this phase of my journey with the exact same belief. All of my experiences in youth soccer as Chairman of CYSA and otherwise have confirmed the validity of this belief. If I were permitted only one piece of advice it would be to implore every one of you in youth soccer to always remember and to always act on the basis that this is all about the kids, every one and all of the kids at the same time, and only the kids. It is not about anything else.

One of the big advantages of being Chairman of CYSA is that you get rich, really, really rich doing the job. Although you actually do not make a penny off of it and it in fact ends up costing you a quite a bit of money out of your own pocket, you get "paid" in a much more valuable sense. Most important you get to know that there are a lot of kids out there that you were allowed to contribute to their growth and development as people and to making their life a little better and a little fuller. This by itself is richness beyond measure as there is nothing more valuable or enduring. All of my life I will remember the very young soccer player who asked me why soccer balls are filled with air and not something else. Dollars and cents simply cannot measure the value of that memory and a million other experiences.

Another big, big advantage is the people from all over the state and every walk of life that you get to meet and know. There are literally thousands of them and each and every one them has enriched my life more than I can count. I cannot identify them all as there just is not enough room here to do so. But there are two special groups that I worked closely and consistently with that I can try to express some small measure of appreciation. First, there is the CYSA Board of Directors, a group of people that as volunteers give and give and give for the benefit of the kids and do so too often in trying situations. It is not possible to make decisions that please all, accommodate all, or to give everyone everything they want when they want it. Yet each board member throughout my tenure always sought to reach the right result as they saw it to attain what they considered the best possible outcomes. The objective of achieving the greatest good for the greatest number is one of those matters that are far, far easier to say than it is to do. This is because those who occupy a position of putting all of the myriad of variables together to make it work and work fairly for all by definition do not have the luxury of trying to advance a smaller perspective without having to be responsible for the impact on others. The CYSA board members have always worked hard to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number while simultaneously striving to maximize the benefit to every player in every situation and for that I especially, but truth be told everyone, owe them a special thanks.

CYSA's employees, often collectively referred to as "the office," are the second special group of people to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude. A Chairman of CYSA not only works directly and constantly with these people but relies on them for so much. Every one of our hard-working employees provides the knowledge, experience, and information essential to the operation of CYSA and every one of them is critical to CYSA's continued well being and successful operation. Their ability, individually and as a team working together, is incredible and I cannot count high enough to describe the number of times that they delivered for CYSA and even for me personally. Based on long and detailed personal experience, I can assure everyone that CYSA's people are without peers – they are the very best and we are all very fortunate to have them. To each of them I offer heartfelt and abiding thanks.

Although I will no longer be Chairman, I will continue to participate in CYSA as a board member and will continue my position with US Youth Soccer as the Chairman of its bylaws and policies committee. For that I am very grateful. But as for the role I was privileged to occupy as Chairman, the most appropriate quote appears to me to be: "To everything there is a season."