You may have seen announcements of some of the changes we have made so far, including to the upper levels of our soccer training and coaching structure. The changes actually go far beyond training and coaching. As change can be unsettling, we thought it useful to provide a comprehensive explanation of the changes, why we decided to make these changes and how we believe they will improve the soccer experience for all of our players and families.
WHAT CHANGES ARE BEING MADE?
RSC is undergoing a complete modernization. Previously, we outsourced coaching for the travel soccer program. That has changed. RSC has now hired a Director of Soccer, Alan Mezger. While he will select and supervise three Directors of Coaching (Boys Travel, Girls Travel and the Radnor Soccer League), RSC is contracting with each directly. RSC will also contract directly with individual trainers for each travel soccer team. We will hire a Master Trainer for each age group and gender that will coach the most competitive team in the fall, winter and spring. He or she will also oversee the trainers for the other teams to make sure training concepts are consistently applied and that the needs for each player in the age group are being met. We anticipate this new system will result in a more flexible, integrated and effective program.
We are devoting more resources to the Radnor Soccer League athletes, from the K-3 group that makes up our future to the older RSL kids who love to play the game. In addition to a Director, we are also hiring an Assistant Director of the Radnor Soccer League. These will provide support and direction to our parent coaches that did not exist before. They will also interact with our RSL athletes to help them develop a love of soccer. We anticipate a RSL program that helps develop the skills of the younger and older athletes while still generating the fun factor. After all, the more success, the more fun any sport is.
We are refreshing our look. With your help, the club will select a new logo. We will have new uniforms this year, although we are keeping the red and black colors for which Radnor is known.
The changes do not stop at field edge. We will shortly launch a new website that will be far more modern, informative and engaging. Our Facebook presence will increase, as we have found Facebook to be an extremely effective way to communicate with our friends and families.
We will launch a new registration system and email system that are major backend upgrades to the Team Snap systems we use now.
IS ANYTHING STAYING THE SAME?
Absolutely. Our first and primary focus remains the children. We are parents and neighbors ourselves. Some of our kids play on our most competitive teams, some play just for fun and some play on teams in the middle. It is as important to us as to you that the kids find the right balance of fun, competition, sportsmanship and growth.
We remain devoted to being a community based program. We will continue to welcome kids who live or go to school in Radnor Township and will accept others only rarely.
We remain committed to all skill levels and age groups. The improvements to the RSL programs for the K-3 and for the older athletes might reflect this commitment best. In fact, we believe the changes will allow us to fulfill this goal better than we did before.
We still want kids to participate in multiple sports. Many studies, our own experience and common sense underscore that kids should enjoy more than one sport or activity. Overspecialization leads to injury and burnout. While we do strongly urge our most competitive teams to play a three season schedule and while we may adopt a requirement that players on those teams commit to all three seasons, we do not now require three season participation.
We also remain a volunteer run and volunteer driven club. For-profit clubs of varying types have popped up in recent years. We have no interest or intention of moving to that model. We are proud to be the club of our friends, colleagues and township. Of course, we will need your help as we help bring your kids and your neighbors kids to a love for the “beautiful game” and we thank you in advance for your continued commitment and volunteerism.
Finally, we remain committed to delivering a quality soccer program at a reasonable price. Neighboring clubs charge fees exceeding $2,000.00. Even as we increase the quality and qualifications of our soccer personnel, we remain conscious of our responsibility to deliver value and keep costs as low as possible. For the first time, we are actively seeking sponsors and corporate partners. Any sponsorship arrangement will be entered into with an understanding of our place in the community.
WHY MAKE SO MANY CHANGES?
These changes mark the culmination of a three or four-year period where we tried to improve the existing soccer structure. We had some success, but not enough. At the same time, other clubs (both for profit and not) expanded their offerings. The soccer landscape changed at all levels, but our basic structure did not. Ultimately, we realized that we were not delivering the product our families wanted and deserved at many levels of the club.
As we got to know Alan Mezger over the last year, we saw an opportunity not just to effect change but to effect change that would bring meaningful improvements for our travel soccer and RSL athletes alike. Uniquely, Alan combines first class experience at building soccer programs with an understanding of Radnor gained from growing up here, coaching the varsity at Radnor High School and teaching at RHS for more than fifteen years.
But we were also looking at the other parts of the club and asking whether we could do better. Those initiatives also began to bear fruit. With the improvements to the soccer side, we decided to take a fresh look at our brand as well. We found room for improvement there, too. The easy decision would have been to keep the status quo. But we decided the time was right to make the difficult choices that ultimately would benefit the children. We will continue working hard to deliver the benefits we believe lay ahead.
WHEN WILL I KNOW HOW THE CHANGES WILL IMPACT MY CHILD?
We will announce the Master Trainers for each travel soccer age group for each gender as soon as possible, probably within a few weeks. The Master Trainers will coach the most competitive team in the age group and will train the same team in the fall, winter and spring. The Master Trainer will also have responsibility for developing all of the players in that age group and gender.
We will announce as many of the trainers for the other travel teams as soon as possible. We hope to be able to name all of the trainers for at least two teams at each travel soccer age group by or shortly after travel soccer registration – and before tryouts start in mid-April.
You will also have the opportunity to meet, hear from and speak with myself, Board members, Alan Mezger and hopefully both Directors of Coaching for the travel teams on March 30, 2017 in the Black Box at RHS. More to follow on that.
We are already working on the practice schedules for the fall. We will have those nailed down before travel teams are formed so that you know well in advance.
Registration for the RSL athletes occurs later and, of course, there are no tryouts. We will continue to provide as much information as possible as soon as possible. For example, we expect to be able to announce the hiring of the Director and Assistant Director of the RSL shortly.
Thank you for your attention and for your support as we move Radnor Soccer Club to its next stage!
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
February 24, 2017