Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Message from ECFC President, Steve Tanaka

As our 2012-13 season winds down, I want to take the time to pass on some information which you might find interesting. I am committed to keeping our membership better informed of upcoming events and how the club works, so this practice of sending periodic communications will continue at least through the next year. I believe that with increased knowledge, our members will offer the club more and better ideas and will have a greater willingness to participate in the future.

Club Performance
This past season, Emerald City FC truly added to the positive momentum we have been building. In almost all of the areas that we use to evaluate our club’s annual performance, we have shown very strong results. On the field, our teams performed tremendously: a full one half of our teams reached the quarterfinals or beyond in their Washington Cup divisions with the M95 Green, F96 Green, and F99 Green teams winning it all! This is truly a big deal as Cup champions receive an automatic entry to the US Club Soccer regional tournament in June and Cup finalists will receive an invitation to play in the Santa Clara Invitational tournament or the Mustang Stampede showcase tournaments where they will represent Emerald City FC and compete against some of the best teams in the nation. The fact is that we are very proud of all of our teams as each has shown tremendous improvement throughout the year giving further validation that we are developing players in accordance with our mission statement.

Another metric which we use is club growth. Since May of last year, we have increased the upper club (U11-U18) by 16 percent and participation in our Development program has dramatically increased by 93 percent. Based upon the number of players at tryouts for the U11 and U12 age groups, we expect to see our growth rate to continue into the upcoming season. While the numbers are impressive by themselves, we are most encouraged by these positive metrics because they illustrate that our player development philosophy is resonating with families in Seattle.

Innovative Programs
Yet, as our success continues, we are not content to rest on our laurels. Many of you may have recently seen in the Ballard blog and the Seattle Times that Emerald City FC had announced a partnership with the city of Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation to begin a recreational league that would be run out of the city’s community centers. Since this announcement, the city unexpectedly decided to delay the program’s implementation until a more thorough evaluation could be done. While it is disappointing that we will not be implementing all facets of this program as early as expected, we fully believe that the city will eventually realize that the many benefits of the program are too great to pass up.

There is one very positive aspect from the community center program which we will be able to implement immediately and from which we will continue to reap benefits: we hired a wonderful coach, Brad Agoos (‘A’-license and former head coach for Seattle University), as our Director of Community Soccer and head coach of two of our club teams. So, while the overall program has not yet gotten off of the ground, it still illustrates that we are committed to improving opportunities for kids, are continually looking for ways to improve our club, and are open to ideas that are not constrained by conventional thinking.

We are excited to announce the hiring of Todd Schilperoort, a highly experienced ‘A’-licensed coach who was most recently the technical director at another local club. Todd will be coaching two of our upper club teams and two development teams for the 2013-14 season. With Todd and Brad, that brings our complement of US Soccer Federation ‘A’ licensed coaches to eight and gives further credence to the fact that our club has one of the best and most qualified coaching staffs in the Pacific Northwest. Over 60 percent of our coaches have USSF ‘A’ or ‘B’ licenses (or their international equivalent).

From a club governance perspective, our board has accomplished several objectives which will improve our club, including:

  • Updated our club bylaws to be more consistent with the way that we operate and have changed our membership criteria to include Emerald City FC alumni and their families as non-voting members
  • Clarified board member roles and responsibilities so that we can be more effective and efficient in our duties
  • Recruited key volunteers to work with the board on many key projects and programs
  • Responsibly handled the club’s finances to end the year “in the black”
  • Refined a coaching education program which will help to improve the ability of our coaches to teach
  • Hired Ruth Nicholson, CPF, MPA to coordinate our scheduling and operations activities.

Current and Upcoming Events

As most of you know, tryouts are currently taking place. These tryouts have been advertised on our website for several weeks and the coaches have been advising their players about them and what to expect. I’d recommend that you go to for more information and to register for tryouts. Registration is free to returning Emerald City FC players. Players new to the club will pay a nominal fee. Coaches will offer positions to players within 48 hours of the conclusion of each team’s tryout. For those players accepting their offer, team formation meetings will take place the following week on Thursday night.

Secondly, our Development program has kicked off its Year Around signups and its registration for the Mid-May/June Tournament season. The Year Around program offers our younger players the opportunity to sign up for a one-month Tournament season in addition to the regular fall and spring “Dev” leagues, and to do so at a discounted price. The Mid-May/June Tournament season begins on May 16th and is a stand-alone 4-week program with twice weekly training that culminates in a local tournament. Many of our current Dev players use this as a continuation of their spring Dev season, but get to experience the fun and competition of a tournament too. For those players interested, there is information available on our website at .

Awards Night:
The club will have its annual Awards Night from 4:30-8:30p on Sunday, May 19th at the Shoreline Conference Center, 18560 1st Ave NE, Shoreline. This is a fun event where the club and its coaches get to recognize the achievements of teams, individual members, and the key volunteers who have provided critical support throughout the year. It will begin with a picnic social followed by a presentation in the theater of the community center. All Emerald City FC members, from the Development teams to our WPSL team, their parents, and alumni are encouraged to attend.

Emerald City Poker Shootout:
On Saturday, June 1st, we will host our second annual Emerald City Poker Shootout, a social event and fundraiser which benefits the club’s scholarship program. This event is a Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament in which players can win some tremendous prizes by placing in the tournament or by periodic door prize drawings throughout the evening. The $100 entry fee to the event provides free food, drinks, and a stack of chips with which you can play—no further money is necessary! (However, since it is a fundraising event, we welcome any additional donations and encourage you to be generous!) Players must be 21 years of age. For novice players, we will have knowledgeable dealers and cheat sheets which will help you to play well. In fact, in the several years that I have run the tournament, beginners have reached the final table in almost all of them! To help many of our busy parents for the evening, we also will offer childcare to allow those of you with smaller children to still participate. The cost is $20 per child. So, for less than the cost of a babysitter, your kids will be supervised by our F96 girls’ team while having pizza, soft drinks, and several wonderful activities, from the Arena Sports Fun Zone bouncy houses to a movie to some soccer time on the indoor fields. It will be a lot of fun for everyone and I highly encourage you to register early as the space will be limited.

Emerald City FC Women’s Premier Soccer League team:
On June 2nd, our Women’s Premier Soccer League team will begin their home schedule with a game against the Westside Timbers at Rainier Beach High School stadium at 3:00p. This year there will be five home games for which season ticket packages are available. These ticket packages have been priced to be very affordable, so we’d encourage as many of our members and their families to participate. For those of you who do not know much about our WPSL team, it is an Emerald City FC team comprised mainly of college-age players from the US and around the world. The team’s focus is player development which will better prepare our players for their college season or the continuation of their careers on the professional level. In the process, they will compete for a national championship in a league that is the highest amateur level available. Our team is very competitive and last year’s team sent two players on to play in the professional leagues in Europe. The soccer is excellent and these young ladies are wonderful role models to our players and ambassadors for the game. Come out and support the team!

Board Elections:
Lastly, our election for the Emerald City board of directors is also coming up. This is a crucial event for the club as the board of directors is charged with handling the club’s strategic, financial, and legal direction as well as supporting the club’s coaching and operations staff. The board is made up primarily of parents who want to contribute. This year, we have four positions for which we will be looking for candidates. Three of those four positions carry a two-year term, while the fourth is the Vice President of Membership which is a one-year term. Please consider taking on one of these unique leadership roles. We invite you to come and talk with one of the current board members or to attend our next upcoming board meeting at Arena Sports Magnuson on Monday, May 13th at 7:00pm. We will be requesting statements from candidates to be posted on our website, with the formal election tak ing place in June. Results of the election will be announced at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Sunday, June 9th. Serving the club as a board member is an extremely rewarding venture. I highly encourage you to run.

In closing, I must emphasize one more aspect which often gets forgotten: Emerald City FC is your club. You have a stake in its success as does each of us. While the board, our coaches, our operational staff, and our volunteers have worked hard to provide the programs, activities, and events to fit the needs of our members and to help bring our community together, we also need you participate. Please actively join in on team activities, club activities, or simply communicate your ideas, thoughts, and concerns, so that we can continue to make this club into what you want it to be.

Emerald City FC exists to develop each of our players to his or her fullest potential, competing at the highest possible level while demonstrating exemplary teamwork, sportsmanship, and a passion for the game.