Regional Advisory Committees
While it may seem ordinary now, at one time the DOC’s input was rarely sought, in fact youth soccer was firmly in the clutches of those off the field rather than those on the field – DOC’s, coaches and even managers.
Not long after our first season, the NorCal Premier Soccer Directors began meeting with the Northern California DOCs for feedback as well as any ideas they might have for moving forward. It was refreshing to sit around with a bunch of soccer coaches and directors to discuss, for the first time, the state of Northern California Soccer. Leaving this first meeting, a few of us discussed in the parking lot, not only the enjoyment of putting our heads together but also how important these types of meetings could be to continue to develop the game and move our soccer structure forward into the modern era.
Around the same time, I met with a KNVB representative in The Hague while on a coaching education trip. I wanted to know more about their structure and how they ensured the development of their “voetbal” structure and environment. I learned they had two branches, administration and technical, and each had a role at the regional and national level. The technical side made decision about soccer and the administrative side carried much of it out. One of their guiding principles was not making meeting attendance too burdensome. Another was to ensure each region was given some autonomy in making decisions for their area – especially in regionally based competition.
As time passed, with the growth of Norcal Premier Soccer the importance of these feedback meetings grew as well. While we recognized some decisions should be reached at the state level we also needed DOC’s to assist in shaping their local environment – especially in the younger ages. We also knew we had to make this feedback and advice loop as easy as possible – in the end more local. It was with this in mind, we began to formulate the idea of the Regional Advisory Committees.
The Regional Advisory Committees are vitally important to our soccer community. One, it allows clubs a greater voice in the development of the overall direction of the soccer structure – locally, regionally and state wide. Two, it brings the soccer leaders together to sit around a table away from the field, away from the passion of the game and allows them to develop a different type of interaction – sometimes involving tough conversations but also involving laughter and face to face time. These meetings have a humanizing effect because behind the email address and phone number are fellow soccer travelers and seeing them in person, speaking with them and solving problems together helps create a better environment for everyone. The process is not always easy, nor are the meetings always 100% productive, but those regions with the highest functioning RACs generally have the most positive soccer atmospheres.
Today, feedback and collaboration is a part of the Norcal Premier Soccer’s DNA. Rarely, if ever, has a decision been reached in Norcal Premier without significant feedback. This is reflected in our first Core Value of Collaboration, and our belief in the collective intelligence of our membership.
Thank you very much,
NorCal Premier Soccer President