When I first started helping to organize our soccer league, I remember thinking ‘there has GOT to be an easier way’ I was using an Excel spreadsheet to try and assign kids to teams and track average age. It was tedious, but I was able to do it. But that experience prompted me to start writing code like crazy to move the league administration online. I was able to add features each season with the hope that it would be easier each season and certain tasks like registration, assigning kids to teams, tracking scores, etc certainly are. But I think this season I finally realized that while we’re able to do many things much easier, the overall task of running the league is getting more complex. So any efficiencies we gain through online tools, better organization, more volunteers, etc is offset by the league growth and complexity. Not complaining, just an observation.
As always we had our last minute scramble to gets things ready in time. Late dropouts, late additions to waiting lists, trying to squeeze in as many matches as the calendar and fields would allow, etc. But we somehow managed to have things ready in time. OK so the new bigger goals for U10 and U12 didn’t arrive in time, but OTHERwise…
We ended up with about 550 kids playing on 47 teams in 4 age divisions (U6, U8, U10, and U12) Not bad for a small (< 10,000 people) city that didn’t have a soccer league 5 years ago. One things that stood out as opening day approached – the parents, team managers, and coaches were having a LOT of fun picking out uniforms. Our local sponsors have been outstanding, donating almost $20,000 for uniforms, equipment, and more. So many teams were able to buy nice uniforms instead of T-Shirts. Our local sporting goods store had gotten catalogs from a number of new uniform vendors and teams had much more to choose from. Our team got some really slick uniforms and they were VERY reasonably priced. The entire kit with upgraded shorts and socks cost about $30 per player. Our sporting goods store worked a LOT of extra hours trying to get the uniforms ready in time, even as some sponsors requested last minute changes in logos, etc.
Saturday morning was sunny and warm, but not unbearably hot like the previous few weekends. The kids had fun showing each other their new uniforms and were excited and nervous about their first matches. The kids sponsored by Wachovia looked really sharp in their blue and green uniforms. But there were many many others too numerous to mention.
We had a huge contingent of new officials who were clearly nervous. Our head referee did a great job recruiting kids this season. I chuckled watching the high school kids in their yellow referee jerseys walk into the complex with a look of abject fear on their faces. But they did a great job and the matches went very well. We had a number of very exciting matches and the parents enjoyed (and behaved) themselves. So here’s hoping things will continue to go smoothly. I think the worst thing we encountered was the mouthguards which I’ll write about later.
Course a bunch of coaches are trying to ignore middle age and are playing small side pickup games after practices/matches on Saturday. Great exercise though the heat in mid August almost killed us. But last time I collided with another guys shoulder and I Swear I cracked a rib. Hurts like hell a week later! Oh well, such is the price you pay for acting half your age!