2014 General Meeting
Valley Soccer Academy held its annual general meeting with parents on Saturday November 01, 2014 at the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School. The meeting was attended by over 35 parents and guardians and chaired by Ersher Delauney-Daniel, President of Valley Soccer with assistance from Lisbeth Chevrier the Vice President.
The meeting started at 10 am with an initial introduction and brief overview of Valley Soccer Academy activities by the President. This was followed by a number of questions and issues raised by the parents and guardians present. Ample discussion ensued around the following:
- The start of training sessions
- The syllabus for youth players
- The discipline of members
- The technical ability of the young coaches
- The utilization of social media
- Assistance from parents for PR and Facebook page
- Training sessions at and transportation to and from the Beausejour Indoor Facility
- The exposure of the Under 6, 8, 10 divisions to outside competition
The start of training sessions
Parents questioned the actual start time of training sessions as it had been observed that some players arrived after the stipulated times when sessions were supposed to officially start and that this may have had a disruptive effect on training sessions. Ersher ensured all that start times were set and all involved were aware of the start times. First morning sessions on Saturday started at 9:00 am sharp. Effort should be made by parents and guardians to ensure that players in all age groups arrive on time to ensure they all obtained full benefit from the sessions.
The syllabus for youth players
On the matter of syllabus for the youth players, everyone was assured that all training did in fact follow FIFA training guidelines, from the Orange Kindergarteners to the Under 16s. This was not only to ensure that players “followed the rules”, but rather to ensure that Valley Soccer activities followed international guidelines
The discipline of members
Valley Soccer executive members present were adamant that the matter of discipline was one near and dear to their hearts as they reminded all that that their motto was not based on the best footballers or better skilled players but the whole player. The motto is “building character one goal at a time” and discipline is very much a part of building character in Valley Soccer.
The technical ability of the young coaches
While the general quality of instructions to the young players was not questioned, the matter of the apparent youthfulness and technical ability of the younger coaches was raised by a number of parents. There were times, according to some parents, when it looked like the young coaches had little control or were being playfully manipulated, especially by the under 6’s, and perhaps the coaches needed to be more strict. In response it was highlighted that training sessions, especially for that younger age group, was supposed to be stimulating and fun and so the young coaches were supposed to ensure that this was so. However, as they coached the higher age groups, the level of discipline increased and the applicable rules were gradually enforced. Coach Parry did highlight later on, that utilizing young coaches was an international practice as this built their skill and technical levels as well as allowed them to give back by teaching the budding players. It was noted that Valley Soccer has trained senior professionals such as coach Mike, Carson, Moffat and Deaver, and that Coach Parry himself spent time with each group to ensure Valley Soccer’s philosophy i.e.” players stand a better chance of learning when practice sessions are pleasant, easily understood, and stimulating” along with ensuring that technical abilities continued to be developed and were well enshrined. Coach Parry also indicated that in-house workshops for coaches are geared to disseminate information and support discussion to elevate the quality of service provided by the organization. Parents should rest assured in the abilities of the coaches.
The utilization of social media.
Social media cannot be disputed as one of the best ways to get your message across to a wide audience. Valley Soccer was encouraged to utilize social media to inform the public of, and to promote their various activities. One of the parents present who had expertise in such matters offered to assist Valley Soccer in this matter.
The assistance from parents for PR and Facebook page
The matter of the currency of the information on the Valley Soccer web site was raised by a number of parents as they pointed out that some of the information was outdated. Ersher explained that while every effort was being made to keep information on the site and the Face book page current, there was a dire need for articles, and even pictures of the sessions, to populate the sites. Parents and guardians were encouraged to assist the effort of Valley Soccer by contributing articles for the web site, assisting in maintaining the web site, as well as providing pictures for the facebook page.
Training sessions at and transportation to and from the Beausejour Indoor Facility
The training sessions at the Beausejour Indoor Facility have become a welcome and enjoyable break in the usual training regime. However, there is a cost for the use the facility which parents are asked to contribute to through the individual small user fees. Valley Soccer Academy supplements the remaining portion of the cost. Transportation to and from the facility was offered but its disuse means that such service would have to be discontinued. If parents wanted to utilize this service, then Valley Soccer would need to be informed ahead of time to ensure it was available.
The exposure of the Under 6, 8, 10 divisions to outside competition
While competition is not discouraged in Valley Soccer, it is encouraged within a framework of positive self-development ensuring that the players enjoy the game and develop a sense of self-worth and comradery. As the website says” competitions should fit their level of physical and mental competence” and so children should not be pushed into unhealthy competitive situations that negatively affects their physical, mental, or psychological states. Recent examples were provided by the management and coaches to highlight some of the traumatic effects of exposure to other clubs whose manners of engagement were contrary to what was practiced at Valley Soccer, and almost resulted in the players being discouraged from playing the game. This should not be allowed to happen, and so Valley Soccer tends to discourage external competition with the younger age groups but rather encouraging internal friendly matches within the age groups that foster the principles of good character, sportsmanship, and fun.
At this point, the Technical Director, Coach Parry who had been asked to attend to provide some insight into the Valley Soccer’s technical objectives, extended an offer to those present to view a video which would highlight the involvement of parents in the overall sporting life. He also offered to provide additional information on the syllabus for the various age groups.
The meeting ended on an expectant note with the date for the viewing of the video presentation to be announced.