This is a time for investment, growth and learning. No one involved in these complaints has said, “how may I help?” If none are willing to invest, develop and train than I must ask that they trust. Trust in those who are doing the work.
I would like to first start out by saying that I really do appreciate all of your hard work and dedication that all of you had put into this club, and up until this point I could not have been happier with how our club is ran and I could not say enough positive things about URU. I am not sure how or why things have changed. URU Mission talks about: introducing the game of soccer with purpose and providing opportunity to each player. It also talks about core values, leadership, respect, integrity, community spirt and promoting self confidence. URU Vision states: To promote healthy enjoyment and participation in the sport of soccer URU Philosophy: All children can learn, should have fun and feel united. All children can benefit from playing, learning social skills, learn valuable life skills. The DLSO rules state ( and yes I understand that these rules can be very gray with how they are stated) UR United players will notify your coach as early as possible that you will not be attending a team function UR United players arrive prior to scheduled games, practices, team functions as requested by coach. The concerns I have is that we have a very big U12 division which is fabulous. since we have such large teams we have plenty of substitutes for our games ( I mean the whole starting team gets pulled and the next set of kids go in and thats fine.) I am not understanding why we are having kids from other teams playing for our players in their game. I can understand if we did not have enough kids, or our kids were hurt, or even way to tired to play. I could understand having them on the sidelines as a back up. I do not feel it is fair to ANY of the boys to be bumped by another child that is not on their team. I have heard rumor that it may have been because of the skill level, I am not sure if that is true or not, but I feel that we still had enough of our own experienced boys to help out the newer ones on our team. This showing them team work, respect, leadership, patients and communication skills. My other concern is I understand that it is up to the coach to play whatever players he/she would like; however I do not understand what it is that URU is trying to teach our children by being okay with kids being late or not practicing at all but still allowed to play in games. I also do not understand how that is fair to the kids that have shown up to every practice and game on time. I do not understand how this is teaching any of our children life skills first of all and nor do I see the mission, vision or philosophy being followed. I also have heard that URU was trying to prepare the kids for high school soccer. I was completely unaware that a high school coach would allow kids to play in games that do not participate in practice, and that kids can play where ever and with whom ever they want to rostered or not. Please understand that I feel URU has developed into a wonderful program and makes a difference in many children's lives. My children in particular have benefited so much from this club, they have gained confidence, playing skills, leadership skills, communication skills, teamwork, most of all the passion for the game I can go on with the list. I do not want to see these things go way and this is why I feel that I needed to speak up. I would greatly appreciate some feedback addressing the concerns that I have so I can better understand why things are happening in our club that really does not seem fair to our children.
Thank you Sincerely
Dear URU Parent,
What a surprise it has been for me, with only one game played in this fall season, to have such unhealthy emotion surrounding children’s developmental soccer at division 2; boys aged 10-12. If this is how our club has touched your family than you are right to be upset. Upset at your inability to trust and believe that those who are doing all the work, all of the volunteering, working in countless ways unseen by spectators, those taking all the risks and negative words and pondering them into the morning hours. We have not lost sight of the vision or mission of this club and those volunteers are upholding those values every waking moment. To name just one major result of those people, is to site that for the first time in many seasons the girls high school soccer program was able to produce a JV team this fall in addition to the varsity team.
There is no point in arguing perception. Spectators can speculate all day on why a coach did what they did, played who they did, it’s easy to form perception from the sideline. It’s easy to criticize, to destroy faith, to gossip and second guess. It is a bold choice to believe in the coaching decision, to support it, to live it, and only tell your child, “I loved watching you play!”
At the 12:30 game last Saturday, your coach, chose to play varying U12 skills team players to aid new and developing players and to give breaks to players who simply did not want to play because they were “hot” and not running on the field. I know, because I asked the coach what he thought of the game and his response was “no one gave me anything, we will train more.” My own son said he didn’t want to play in the game very much because he was not feeling well in the heat. If Eli didn’t want to play, you can bet several boys felt the same way. My response to Eli was, “I was glad to see you smile when you were in, and was that big kick on goal a left?” I don’t think he played 25 minutes in a 60 minute game, but, he was happy, and so was I. Last season in U10, your sons coach often x-rostered players from his tournament team that he played as substitutes into his second U10 teams games. Why didn’t this outrage you? Children on the U10TT were getting play time on the U10 recreation team, while children from the recreational team sat on the bench. Both of these talented coaches do the same thing, but the parent perception is skewed to only see the inequity for their child. Not the reality of what is happening on the coaching side, what the coach is trying to accomplish with the players, or, how beneficial it can be to have newer players supported by returning players. This is fall, and we have a lot of players pushing up from U10 who need a little extra support on the field, a little direction and the opportunity to bond with established players. Offering teams the best support during competitions is a common practice among talented, skilled coaches who know how to train players and push developmental skill sets to new levels thus preparing players for upper division play.
During the Monday meeting I apologized to parents for a rostering error that effected about 10-13 minutes of play time in the 60 minute 9:30 am game. This did not affect your 12:30 game.
Honestly, only the coach and the players know what is happening on that other side of the field. We don’t. You do not know that kids are not over there feeling exhausted from heat, having cramps, bleeding, needing water, complaining about not wanting to play, or wanting to play, messing around and not being ready when asked to sub. You know nothing about sideline management of the team because you are not a coach. You choose to watch from the spectator sideline and not put yourself in a position to have people presume what you are and are not doing. You have that right and I support it, but, I will not support or tolerate anyone presuming, speculating or gossiping about our highly skilled volunteer coach who is by far one of the most supportive assets to the structure of this club. Every volunteer in URU is valuable and an asset to the future of soccer in the Upper Rogue and I will support their efforts every day of the week if it is in the best interest of children.
In regards to attending practice, you as an adult, should know by now, that there are exceptions in life to just about everything imaginable. The URU statement of player’s code of conduct lists the attributes we hope all players to possess by the time they are trying out for high school soccer. If a child arrives as a masterpiece, there is nothing for them within URU. Inside the walls of URU everything about our mission is to teach, to support, and to help develop the character of children. How would any spectator presume to know what has been communicated between the coach, the player and the parent about attendance or other matters? What ethical coach shares every communication, often of confidential natures, to the parents on the sideline? Would you like coaches at any division to disclose every discussion you hold with them so that there is complete transparency to the team? That would be unreasonable. That would not be supportive of players, families or of URU values. Every coach within URU has the ability to determine player game day eligibility on their own, without a written policy. They are the ones working with and developing these players and know best how to motivate and inspire each personality. The directors of URU have offered supportive training to these coaches to ensure they have the ability to reach kids and the opportunity to ask for help.
We have found that a football coach was telling players they may not play football if they play recreational soccer with URU. Kids are upset, confused, hurt and anxious. As URU takes this difficulty up with leaders in the football program, we have taken the stance to support the player and not punish based on a coach trying to recruit and retain players. This will be fixed, but, not today. It will take continual effort to get football and soccer working together towards a common goal for EPHS, and that will only happen by supporting players through many things that may come up.
Remember football and soccer both play in the fall and we all pull from the same pool of talent. URU is being patient, supporting players, not punishing them and adding pressure to their very young lives with unrealistic practice equals play time expectations. We are not other sports programs with strict rules that come before developing a child into a responsible person. We are URU, supporting players even though the perception is a lack in fairness to kids on teams. We will not change this stance.
To sum up I would like to emphasize the need for support from all parents. Throughout your note you stated several times “I do not understand.” You will understand if you become involved. Become invested. Become a volunteer. The directors of URU are asking you to make a bold choice to support the coaches, support the volunteers, and support the club through positive interactions. Gossip creates rumors, which are of no use and are of no reason to consider as evidence for factual conversation. I had asked the parents at the meeting on Monday to stop the gossip. It carries across the field, it lingers for days and weeks, it hurts others.
Upon reviewing your letter and reflecting on the Monday night meeting, I simply do not see the inequity suffered that has caused such emotional outrage. This outrage, fueled by gossip only touched a few families. Families who have voiced angst in the past when they felt their needs were not being met. This is a time for investment, growth and learning. No one involved in these complaints has said, “how may I help?” If none are willing to invest, develop and train than I must ask that they trust. Trust in those who are doing the work.
After the meeting I received multiple texts and messages of support and thanks. Thanks for being direct, consistent and clear. I have been stopped in person by those who wish to separate themselves from the anger, hostility and frustration. Those who see what can be if we all work together and push fear and insecurity out of our lives.
We are accomplishing great things within URU. As you stated in your letter, your own children are proof of that. Please be bold and choose to enjoy watching all children and the many communities of our school district develop and grow with URU. Anything less is simply a choice to not be united with the vision and mission of URU.
President, Upper Rogue United Futbol Club