Executive Director Report

By Don Rawson

I am excited to be a part of the Mass Youth Soccer team. Having been born in Springfield and being the 11th generation in my family to have lived in Massachusetts (since 1634), I feel very much at home. I am anxious for my immediate family to join me here in the next few months — so if anyone out there wants me as a neighbor, now is the time to brag about your town and neighborhood!

I have now been sitting at the Executive Director's desk for about 45 days. I need to thank many people responsible for the trust, opportunity and responsibility afforded to me. First, I need to thank the Executive Director Search Committee, chaired by Ted Ritchie. I am indebted to Terri Filippetti for her leadership of the Mass Youth Soccer Executive Committee and full Board of Directors during my interviews and initial time here at Mass Youth Soccer. I am especially thankful to Skip Gorman for spending many hours with me to help ensure my transition here was as smooth as possible. I am also grateful to the state office staff for being very helpful to me and for being so professional during a year of change and uncertainty.

I am honored to be sitting in the same chair and same desk once occupied by John Burrill. I worked with John on projects as part of the US Youth Soccer Executive Director's Leadership Group; I enjoyed his counsel and appreciated his contributions to youth soccer over the years I worked with him. It is my sincere desire to honor John by respecting the work he did as Executive Director and finding all means possible to continue to improve and better the youth soccer environment here in Massachusetts.

I also want to recognize the tremendous strategic thinking, vision and planning of past leaders of Mass Youth Soccer, including Sid Bloom and Ray Robinson. Their leadership, with the help of many others, has ensured that Mass Youth Soccer provided outstanding programs, events and services for the membership of Mass Youth Soccer.

In particular, I want to mention that Mass Youth Soccer is recognized throughout the United States Youth Soccer community for several "best-in-class" projects:

  • The Attitudes are Contagious video
  • The Citizens Bank Fields at Progin Park
  • The on-line "G" course and commitment to Coaching Education and Player Development (spearheaded by Mike Singleton)

It is now my task to work along with the Mass Youth Soccer Board of Directors, Programs Managers, State Office staff and the entire Mass Youth soccer extended family to identify and prioritize areas that Mass Youth Soccer can and must improve to make a positive impact on youth soccer in Massachusetts.

Over the next 60 days, prior to the Mass Youth Soccer Annual General Meeting in mid-February, I will continue to work diligently in the following specific areas to find ways to Increase Customer Satisfaction:

  • Improve Communications
    • Review and improve several communication tools now available to the state office and the membership. A revised Communication Plan will be submitted to the Mass Youth Soccer Board of Directors no later than the February 2010 Annual General Meeting.
  • Improve Events, Programs and Meetings
    • I will work closely with all Program Managers and the state office staff to review every event, program and meeting offered by Mass Youth Soccer. It is important to be creative and find new and improved ways to deliver these member benefits to the Mass Youth Soccer membership. I will provide an initial assessment to the Mass Youth Soccer Board of Directors no later than the February 2010 Annual General Meeting, and will continue to evaluate throughout the spring season, then offer a revised assessment no later than July 2010.
  • Improve the effectiveness of internal systems, staff performance and volunteer utilization
    • Improve the Risk Management plan, including the process for completing background checks on adults
    • Improve player- and adult-registration system by utilizing best practices and best-in-class technology and systems
    • Revise state office staff job descriptions to improve its ability to manage day-to-day operations and maximize opportunities to deliver expected services, programs and events for the membership
    • Complete budget preparation, improve financial reporting, and review and revise fiscal policies
    • Increase opportunities to increase non-fee-based revenues, including sponsors and marketing partners
    • Create a timeline with the Board of Directors to revise the Mass Youth Soccer Strategic Plan
    • Create a plan to ensure that Citizens Bank Fields remain an outstanding facility, while watching overhead costs and improving areas such as parking
    • Review (with the Board of Directors) all bylaws, policies and procedures and recommend changes as necessary
    • Review (with the Board of Directors) the charter of all Standing Committees to ensure they are serving Mass Youth Soccer as intended

Please contact me at drawson@mayouthsoccer.org, if you have suggestions on how to improve any of the above areas. I welcome advice and counsel from any corner of the state and from any part of the youth soccer community in Massachusetts. I look forward to serving as Executive Director to help ensure there is a healthy, safe and fun environment for everyone involved in youth soccer here in Massachusetts.