US Youth Soccer Streamlines Governance – Votes to Change Bylaws
The goal is to improve youth soccer and US Youth Soccer is changing the structure to enable greater quality and consistency in programming and streamlined governance.
US Youth Soccer members voted recently to amend the Association’s bylaws and adopt changes to the current governance structure at its Annual General Meeting.
“Our 55 member State Associations and Board of Directors have spoken and, through their vote, have given us a clear mandate to strategically transform our business model to become more growth-oriented and customer-focused in order to meet the evolving demands of today’s soccer marketplace,” said Chris Moore, CEO of US Youth Soccer.
In a near-unanimous decision, US Youth Soccer members voted to realign the structure of its regional operations by replacing the volunteer-elected Regional Chair and Vice-Chair positions with professionally hired staff.
Youth soccer is big business and needs to be run professionally
The measure, proposed by the Board of Directors and ratified by the National Council, did require a two-thirds vote to pass.
This landmark decision transitions all administrative, financial, programmatic and operational functions from the four Regions of US Youth Soccer to the National office and under the purview and authority of the US Youth Soccer CEO.
“This Bylaw change is the result of months of meetings with our members, listening to their concerns and common themes that clearly demonstrated the need for a change in direction,” said Jesse Harrell, US Youth Soccer Board Chair.
The goal was simple: the membership wants US Youth Soccer to have a more effective governance structure and be a higher-performing national organization.
“The youth soccer landscape has evolved and therefore our business model had to evolve, as well,” said Moore.
“Over the years, we have seen volunteer leadership in our soccer clubs and state associations throughout the United States give way to professionally hired staff managing their respective operations,” said Ric Listella, Region IV Board Representative. “In a similar fashion, the bylaw changes passed eliminates Regional volunteer leadership, professionalizes, and consolidates US Youth Soccer Regional Operations under a single management structure while maintaining the Regional Councils as an advisory body to our new professional staff.”
“Our customers are more savvy and sophisticated than they were just 5 years ago; they have greater expectations of us and place higher demands on the consistent delivery and quality of our programs in the marketplace,” said Moore. “In the end, our governance had to change in order to align with the goals and strategies directed by our 55 State Association customers.”
“Region IV was and remains fully supportive of these bylaw amendments and I personally applaud the US Youth Soccer National Council for boldly approving these bylaw amendments,” said Listella.
“These landmark changes to our bylaws proposed by the Board of Directors and adopted by our members represent a seminal moment in the evolution of US Youth Soccer,’ said Moore. “They signal a strong desire on the part of our 55 member state associations to belong to a strong national association who listens to their needs and wants, and enhances their ability to retain and acquire players.”
The National Council of US Youth Soccer also voted to maintain the Regional geography as defined in the bylaws, for competition purposes, and retain four Regional Councils that will serve as an advisory body to provide input and guidance regarding regional-level programming. The Regional Councils will also continue to nominate and elect a representative to serve on the US Youth Soccer Board of Directors.
“It is great that the states have united behind one idea,” said Derek Barraza, President of Cal South. “This change will help strengthen US Youth Soccer — which is the largest advocacy group in youth soccer. We will now be able to more effectively use our volunteers along with our professional staffing.”
“These changes promise to consolidate operations allowing professional staff in the new structure to take advantage of economies of scale, identify best practices between regional events, and focus on enhancing all US Youth Soccer Regional Events,” ssiad Listella.
Another bonus of these changes is on the financial side. “We will now have one national budget which will provide greater transparency in the allocation of resources,” said Barraza.
“As one of the largest members of US Youth Soccer, we voted for this change not only to enhance our programming from a state-to-regional-to-national level but to promote higher standards of excellence amid an increasingly evolving youth soccer marketplace,” said Dr. Pete Zopfi, Cal North Chairman. “We applaud these changes and are excited about the future.”
The decision reflects the organization demonstrating true teamwork, as Moore noted, “Following several rounds of meetings this year with our members, it was made abundantly clear that our call-to-action was to operate differently than we have in the past – more nimbly and with greater efficiency and consistency, irrespective of regional boundaries.”
From its humble beginnings in 1974 with just more than 100,000 registered players to its current registration of more than 3,000,000 players between the ages of five and nineteen, US Youth Soccer has always been recognized as a leader in youth sports organizations.
US Youth Soccer is the largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body for soccer in the United States, and is made up of over 600,000 volunteers and administrators, and over 300,000 dedicated coaches, most of who also are volunteers. For more information on US Youth Soccer and its programs, visit USYouthSoccer.org. Connect with US Youth Soccer on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
“These organizational changes effectively remove structural barriers that previously made it difficult to run consistent programming across the country. Going forward, they will allow US Youth Soccer to operate more efficiently and compete as the 900-lb gorilla that we are; thus, delivering on the promise of making youth soccer the preeminent sport in the United States,” said Moore, firmly supporting the decision.