A summary of the 2001-2002 seasonal year.
This past year was a year filled with contrasts - between the routine and challenges, old and new, and between sorrow and joy.
The year had barely started when we were hit by the tragedies of September 11. Many of our soccer family were affected either directly or indirectly by what happened on 9/11 and the many events that have taken place following that tragic day. The NYW Board voted to contribute $2,500 to the United Way September 1 Relief Fund. We also opened our 2001 AGM with a somber moment of silence for the victims of Sept. 11.
From the extreme sorrow of these events, we moved on to rejoice in the selection of our own NYW adidas Girls Coach of the Year, Daniel Shoniker, first as the Region I Coach of the Year and then as the National Coach of the Year. And we finished our year by co-hosting a very successful Region I tournament with the Niagara Pioneers, being at first thrilled with the Regional Championship of the Rochester Jr. Rhinos Elite U15B's team - only to later be overjoyed by their National Title at the Snickers National Championship in Maryland.
Our State Association became 20 years old this year, and we saw several of the "old guard" leave us, as long-time Board members Louise Freeman (Southern Tier Commissioner), John Galli (1st Vice President), and Karl Kretch (2nd Vice President), all decided to step down. Matt Dimas joined us as a new Commissioner, Teresa Doermer as the new Director of Risk Management, and Suzanne Messina was elected our new Secretary. "Oldies but goodies" Gary Acker and Bob Sokolinsky were appointed to fill the positions as 1st & 2nd Vice Presidents, respectively.
We also parted ways with another old friend - Striker West - when we published our last issue of the paper in August . . .only to replace it with a new and improved website and publications out of our State Office. We are also in the process of moving towards replacing our old Logical Solutions registration program with a brand new on-line program from Demosphere. Our old system for dealing with outdoor tournaments was replaced with a brand new one at our last AGM, and we are now among the very first to have our entire tournament program available on-line. Our Risk Management program - although not especially old - was also replaced with a totally new system of forms and required background checks, and it is now run out of the State Office. The office acquired two new computers, a copier and a printer, expanded its phone system, and replaced its old AOL internet service with a cheaper and faster Road Runner system.
Our recreational program is not only our oldest program, but also the corner stone of our Association and has operated quite routinely and well for a number of years. However, this past year we were challenged to not just follow national guidelines, but to actually take the lead in setting new standards for small-sided games for our younger players. As such we set new policies for the U9, U10, U11 & U12 players. This move towards more small-sided games and less competitive play will continue to be a challenge to us for the next several years.
ODP - another old and well established program - has also run along quite routinely for years. But again this past year we put great demands on ourselves to improve the program by making it a year-round effort. Under the tutelage of State Director of Coaching, Glen Buckley, and the watchful eyes of ODP Administrator, Millie Blaakman - and in spite of a few disappointments - we made some very positive strides in our training and selection program. A total of 15 players made the Regional Pool (7 girls & 8 boys), and two of these also made it into the National Pool (Laura Odorczyk - 85G, & Brandon Oot - 86B).
We have also had a long and very routine relationship with our old insurance carrier - Bene-Marc. This past year the company was sold to Pat Pullen, and we continued our relationship with the new Pullen Insurance Services. We actually were the beneficiaries of a very favorable insurance rate for 2001-02, but Sept 11 and the economic turmoil this past year have raised havoc with the insurance industry. As a result we were hit with a sizeable rate increase for all our policies this year. For years now we have routinely been able to count on sponsorship moneys from major corporations, but due to the economic climate, many of these are cutting their promotional programs. Finding sources to replace these lost revenues, or ways to operate more efficiently and economically, will again present us with a major challenge for quite some time.
But in spite of the sorrow of this past year, the loss of some old friends, and the changes to some long standing and very routine programs, the future is filled with opportunities to not just face our many challenges, but to grow and to improve our program for the youth soccer players and their supporters in New York West. We welcome these challenges and invite you all to join us in a united effort to make the 2002-03 year the best ever!