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Roles & Responsibilities of Adults in Travel Soccer
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF ADULTS IN TRAVEL SOCCER
 
Introduction
 
DC Stoddert, at least currently for age groups G/U17 and younger, uses a “club-run” centralized model for sponsoring travel soccer teams.  Other clubs simply provide an umbrella club “name”, travel league slots and very minimal administrative support to sponsor independent teams entered into travel leagues.  Then each team is completely parent-run, with coaches screened, hired and paid for directly by individual teams, with league fees also paid individually by each team, but funneled through the club treasurer as required by the leagues.

DC Stoddert initiated a club-run model about six years ago, primarily to ensure selection and ongoing oversight of high-quality coaches, giving team families a mechanism for reporting and responding to coaching problems.  The goal of the Stoddert model is also to offer a more uniform and age-appropriate soccer curriculum, particularly in the younger age groups, via an age-group rather than a team-centered developmental program.  This system also prevents undue influence over teams by individual managers or parents with their own priorities, which in parent-run teams can result in coaching decisions, particularly regarding player selection, that are not in the best interest of the overall soccer development of travel team participants. 
 
This section will explain the roles of the various adults involved with DC Stoddert travel soccer programs.  Please read this section and refer your team parents to it because an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each person should lighten the load on you, the manager, and help you and your parents understand to whom to go for help with any questions or concerns.
 
DC Stoddert Employees

Director of Travel Soccer
Kate Samsot, traveldir@stoddert.com, 202-338-1910, ext 301

The Director of Travel is primarily responsible for the hiring, education, evaluation and oversight of the travel coaches as well as the overall soccer curriculum development and implementation.  Kate also organizes and runs tryouts for the developmental age groups and is involved in all club issues impacting on travel soccer participants within DC Stoddert.  All questions regarding coaching and player placement should be directed to the Travel Director.

Registrar

Brandon Benton,  registrar@stoddert.com, 202-338-1910, ext 302

The club Registrar is responsible for the registration and tracking of payment and scholarship applications for all travel players. The Registrar also fulfills this function for the recreational programs run by DCST. Parents and managers of travel players should contact the Registrar with questions regarding on-line registration of players with Stoddert, and payments to Stoddert.
DC Stoddert League Administrator
Tom Gross, 202-338-1910, ext 304
The DCST Administrator is responsible for all club administrative activities. The bulk of his time and effort must go to the much larger recreational soccer program, but Tom is very important for the DCST travel soccer program as well. He carries out the KidSafe background checks on coaches and managers, and is the contact for field equipment (goals, paint, wands). He negotiates the uniform contract with Soccer American, and he negotiates all field permits with the DC government and other entities controlling fields used by both recreational and travel soccer programs.
    League Registrar 
  • The League Registrar issues player cards for travel players in WAGS, NCSL and ODSL, and approves rosters at the beginning of each soccer year, as well as following any roster changes. He/she has nothing to do with Stoddert player registration or payment issues, only registration of players and their teams with the state soccer organizations as required by the travel leagues, and most questions about player cards and rostering should go first to the club representative (see below). 
Volunteers in Leadership Roles
 
·        Travel Commissioners: Bill Garcia (Girls Commissioner) and David Sarley (Boys Commissioner, dsarley@gmail.com) are the Travel Commissioners. They are responsible for the organization, oversight, and planning of all aspects of the DCST travel program, along with David Repka, the President of DC Stoddert Soccer. The Commissioners are responsible for all communication with managers, and any problems or questions arising with any aspect of the travel program needs to be brought to their attention. Almost all communications about travel soccer comes from the Commissioners to the managers, who pass it on to team families.  Coaching issues can go directly to the Travel Director, but all other issues should also be brought to the attention of the Commissioners.
·        League Representatives:
o       Cindy Dunbar (WAGS Club Representative, cedunbar@erols.com)
o       David Sarley (NCSL Club Representative,david_sarley@jsi.com)
o       Paul Brewster (ODSL Club Representative) 
o       The “club reps” represent DCST and our travel teams to the WAGS and NCSL travel leagues. They vote regarding any changes in rules or procedures, and thus represent consensus club preferences to the leagues. They also serve as the ONLY communication conduit between DCST, DCST travel teams, and the travel leagues. Because of the incredible numbers of teams and thus individuals involved (over 400 teams for WAGS, over 500 teams for NCSL and at least 250 for ODSL), the very small league administrative staffs simply can not handle questions and requests from individual parents, players, managers or coaches. Instead, all communications to the league, whether official in response to requests from the league for information, or individual issues such as game protests, field problems, cancellations etc are transmitted via the Club Reps to the league administrators.  So NEVER EVER contact WAGS or NCSL directly unless you are explicitly directed to do so by the club representative, otherwise you will be ignored by the league and get the administrators annoyed at you, your team, and your club! 
·        Fields Director: Charlie Myers, cmyers@eagletd.com. Along with the DCST administrator, oversees all fields, negotiates with DC and other field permit control bodies, makes decisions about field usage and closure, assigns practice fields and recreational division game fields, and works with Travel Commissioners and Travel Director to assign and “load” fields to be used for travel league games. Most questions about field set-up and layout can be answered by material posted on the DCST website under Fields, but any further questions or issues can be transmitted to Charlie.
·        Scholarship and Outreach: Jennifer Hillman, jhillman@usitc.gov. Jennifer heads the scholarship committee, which reviews and makes decisions about all scholarship applications for travel players. Any questions about the process of applying for or receiving a scholarship not answered on the DCST website can be directed to Jennifer.
 
Individual Team Roles
 
  • Coach: The coach is responsible for directing all practices and coaching the team during fall and spring travel league games and pre and post-season tournament games, and arranging for a substitute or assistant coach to step in at practices and games if he/she is not available. The coach must work to help each player develop to their maximum soccer potential at practices and games, balanced by the need to achieve success as a team during travel league games. Playing time in travel soccer games is determined by effort, skill and team needs, particularly as players move out of the developmental U9-U10 program onto the older age group teams. Issues of playing time in games should be dealt with between the coach and the player, preferably not the coach and parents, and the coach should make it clear to the player exactly what they need to do in practices and on their own to improve and earn more playing time. Any player likely to be dropped from the roster at the end of a soccer year must receive adequate warning, and mid-season advice is important regarding what the player needs to do in order to avoid being potentially cut from the team at the end of the year. The coach should also be involved in marketing the team and doing outreach to recruit new players (within league recruiting guidelines). The coach should provide formal constructive feedback to each player at the end of each season, in writing or verbally. He/she should also provide timely and directed feedback to players throughout the season. A standard coaching contract from DCST is available from the Travel Director upon request.
 
  • Manager: The manager is the administrative head of the team, a good manager ensures the success of a team both competitively but more importantly as a satisfied and cohesive group of players and families, a poor manager can be extremely destructive, either actively or more commonly, by omission. The best managers delegate functions widely among team parents, always serving as the organizational and communication hub, but NOT trying to handle everything themselves, which is guaranteed to lead to burnout. The most important tasks the manager generally handles him/herself are the process of team registration and rostering with DCST and with the travel leagues, including carding of individual players and team officials, dissemination of all DCST, league and other information to players and families, communication with managers from opposing teams regarding arrangements for individual games, overseeing the actual game day process of checking player cards, submitting game report cards and reporting scores, and communicating with the Travel Director and the Commissioners regarding any team problems. An assistant manager would be helpful, but in terms of the leagues and DCST, only one person is the “primary contact” so the manager should not be someone who travels frequently or has little daytime access to email.
 
  • Treasurer: Works with the manager before each season or year to draw up a projected team budget for the year, covering all expenses not included in the DCST fees. Collects the team fee from each family, and pays team bills. May set up a team bank account for paying team expenses.
 
  • Field Czar: Responsible for ensuring that the fields being used by the team are lined and ready for use before the beginning of each season, in collaboration with other travel teams and recreational division commissioners using the same field. For each home game, responsible for checking the condition of the field and the lines mid-week, and arranging for re-lining as required. If the team is first or last on a home field, supervises team parents in the set-up or take-down of goals and other field equipment.  A fields committee is appropriate, it takes at least 4-5 people to set up goals, and even more to do initial field lining. This role is most critical for U9-12 teams, who will play on local DC fields such as Carter-Baron and Palisades, and thus need lining and goal set-up. The Soccerplex fields used for the majority of the older age groups require no parent setup or takedown, the facility handles all aspect of field maintenance.
 
  • Team Sportmanship Liaison: The TSL and alternate TSL are parents or other adults who agree to take responsibility for monitoring and providing guidance to parents and other spectators at games regarding appropriate behavior. Therefore the TSL and alternate TSL should be parents respected by other team parents, confident enough to intervene if behavior or vocalizing by spectators and parents becomes a problem, and likely to attend most if not all games. Any problems regarding behavior of the opponents’ spectators are addressed between the TSL for one team speaking to the TSL for the other team, not by direct confrontations between non-TSL parents. 
 
  • Uniform Coordinator: Handles the placement of team uniform orders with Soccer American before each season, and then picks up and distributes the uniforms upon arrival. 
 
  • Tournament Coordinators: For each tournament entered, a parent should take on the organization of all aspects of team participation in the tournament, such as  filling out entry forms, arranging accommodations and transportation for distant tournaments, coordinating T-shirt orders, checking the team in the night before the tournament begins, and organizing social events either pre-tournament or while at the tournament. These are great jobs for parents that travel a lot and can not commit to jobs that involve being available every week, but instead can commit to intensive activity for a short period of time.
 
  • Social Director: Plan and carry out team social events, very important particularly at the beginning and end of each season.
 
  • STARS: Each team in the GU12 and GU13 age group playing in WAGS, and in the U12-U14 age groups in NCSL must list three Step-In Assistant Referees at the beginning of each season. The requirements and details of this program can be accessed on the WAGS and NCSL websites. STARS must have current FIFA level 12 or better certification, or have completed the STAR courses given by the leagues. STARS should be parents able to physically perform the Assistant Ref function, along with having enough knowledge of the game to successfully complete the ref courses, and be willing to be present at and perform as a STAR if needed at both home and away games.  Generally each team must supply a STAR for every game, home or away, in the relevant age groups. The leagues sponsor STAR courses before each season, lasting approximately 8 hours. The teams receive payment for services of their STARS, and this generally goes into the team budget to help pay for STAR training courses, STAR uniforms, and other team expenses, instead of being paid back to the STARS themselves, figuring other team roles listed above are unpaid, and thus payment for this team function should benefit the team as a whole.  
 
There may be more roles for team parents to assume, but this is the minimum!
 
 
Communication
 
  • Communication to the team: The Manager is the central communication hub” for information going to parents and players about all aspects of travel team activities. Most communication is via email, and keeping a file of archived emails you have sent and received about the team is important. The manager should check email regularly, and forward any important messages from DCST and the travel leagues as indicated. Most coaches use the manager to transmit all material other than specific player evaluations to the team, it works best if all coaching communications are sent by the coach to the manager and then onto the team, since the manager can then archive these messages, troubleshoot with the coach if there are errors or problems in the email regarding schedules or other issues, and ensure that the communications from the coach get to the correct contact email address for each player and family. 
 
  • Communication from the team: As much as possible, all issues and problems should be brought to the manager for action and resolution. Team parents in general should contact DCST administration or the Commissioners via the manager.  Communications about individual player performance or physical/emotional issues should go directly to the coach, but notification of players missing practices and games generally should be communicated both to the manager and to the coach via email. 
 
  • Concerns about the coach: Serious problems or concerns with the coach, regarding any inappropriate or abusive behavior, lack of responsibility regarding attendance at games and practices, or inability to perform as specified in the coaching contract MUST be communicated to the Travel Director promptly, preferably via the manager, in terms of writing an email to the manager to forward to the Travel Director. Any concerns that are too sensitive for email can be communicated in person or via phone to the Travel Director. The oversight of the coaches is her primary job, so please bring any problems to her attention quickly so that appropriate interventions can occur. 
 
  • Concerns about the administration of the team or the manager: These issues should be brought promptly to the attention of the Girls or Boys Travel Commissioner as appropriate.
 
  • Communication with the Travel Leagues (WAGS and NCSL or any other travel league such as ODSL):  Absolutely all communications must go to the league via the Club Representatives (see above), not directly from an individual travel manager or parent. THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE RULE, and breaking it will result being ignored, and worse undermining the club’s standing with the leagues. The only exceptions are specific requests from the league for score reporting from the manager after each game to the division coordinator, and completion of all the on-line forms such as scheduling request and team contacts. To access the required portions of the league websites for entering team information and requests, each team manager needs the league team number and PIN. These are distributed by the Club Reps each season, or can be obtained by contacting the Club Rep.
 
  • Communication with League Registrars/VYSA:  Problems with the VYSA or MSYSA registration programs should first be directed to the Club Reps, going directly to the VYSA or MSYSA league offices is likely to be ignored and most questions can be answered by the Club Rep or a more experienced manager. Our league State Registrar may also be able to help, but please funnel questions through the Club Reps instead of directly to the resistrar. 
 
 
 
 
 

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