January 2nd, 2018
Dear GS Surf Members
The last few months have seen the club plunged into a chaotic period with a number of allegations and accusations being leveled against the club, club directors and members of the board. Up until this point the club, under advice of counsel, has remained relatively silent regarding the allegations and accusations that had been made anonymously by parents and/or coaches in the club. While the club is not perfect by any means, we do not believe that the challenges that we face have warranted the vitriol being leveled against employees and volunteers of the club. So, we are using this statement to note some of the initiatives that are underway and address some of the more egregious allegations so that members of the club have a more complete picture of the state of the club.
We invite you to attend the Surf Parents meeting tomorrow night at 6:30pm at the Brightwater Environmental Education and Community Center. Until then, we want you to have information on the following topics immediately in the remainder of this email:
• Club goals and initiatives
• Racism and Sexism
Club Goals and Initiatives:
The club was focused on a lot of goals this year that were either delayed in launching or sidelined due to the agenda of a few people who wanted to take control of the club, here are just a few of the projects that were and are being worked on
o New organizational structure
o New Compensation scale
o Discounted fees for coaches’ children
o Increased Coach Support & Accountability through education, licensing, reduced team loads so Directors can spend more time with coaches
o Technical Curriculum Development
o GS Surf Tournament
o New communication tools/processes to encourage more Parental Engagement (Teamsnap, Zoomreports, monthly team meetings, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
o Volunteer program that allows opportunities for our players to give back in the community
o Fully funded scholarship program via donations and sponsorship (continue to make sure that no child that has the desire and commitment to play is unable to play due to financial reasons)
These are just some of the initiatives that have been initiated to continue to build a club that we can all be proud of.
Regarding Racism & Sexism:
Until these emails started being sent to members of the club and the larger WA soccer community, neither the board nor club leadership has ever had a substantiated or unsubstantiated report of racism or sexism in the club brought to our attention. The club views these allegations especially seriously and it was these allegations in particular that led us to seek the support of WA Youth Soccer in order to investigate the claims.
WYS appointed an attorney, with no connections to anyone in the club that we are aware of, to evaluate the allegations and provide a report detailing their findings along with recommendations. Their investigation found that there was no evidence to support claims of racism or sexism. The report is available here.
The board fully supports the coaches in this club, the Associate & Coaching directors (boys and girls) are the conduit to raise concerns to the Coaching and Technical Director or the Board in order to solve issues that arise. We value the feedback that many coaches have that can make this a better club and have been heard. But many of the more inflammatory claims made by a small group of people in the club have taken away from the ability to devote time to addressing the issues that everyone agrees need to be addressed.
Coach pay was an issue addressed in these anonymous emails as well. This topic has been a priority for the board for some time and the report noted that “there is an assumption that coaches pay remains different between coaches from FC Alliance and NW Nationals, even though the board has developed an equitable compensation package for all coaches”. See report here.
We understand that some people are upset about the decision to part ways with some long-time coaches in the club. Anyone who has been in business or part of an organization understands that sometimes you must part with employees and that no individuals should be bigger than the club. Unfortunately, it’s been made clear over the last year that certain individuals are no longer compatible with the direction of the club, and this has led to an inhospitable work environment. The current technical staff are not comfortable in their work environment as they fear any utterance will be pulled out of context and emailed around to members of the soccer community. This has led to a poorly functioning leadership team and slowed progress on many of the key areas that we know are important to coaches, parents and players.
This disruptive agenda was also supported for quite some time by former members of the board and violated basic code of conduct and fiduciary responsibilities of board members which was noted in the report from WYS. See report here.
The WYS report supports the hiring of an Executive Director and a search committee has been determined which does not include any current board members and the club will begin accepting applications shortly. This appointment will also enable the board to further remove itself from the day-to-day operations of the club. Performance improvement plans have been developed for current directors and they’ll be accountable to the new ED.
We hope this statement addresses some of your outstanding questions. The club town hall will offer more details and we have engaged the services of an independent facilitator to ensure that it is productive. Unfortunately, we do expect to lose families and teams for the 2018 season because of everything going on right now. Our goal is to make sure that we continue to build a program that everyone can take pride in and feel good about. We encourage you to read the full report submitted by WYS as the board intends to carry out all of the recommendations put forward in the report. See report here.
The duty of your board is to look out for the best interests and financial well-being of the entire club, not individual people, teams or programs. San Diego Surf views GS Surf as the most successful Surf affiliate in the country. We remain committed to building upon this achievement.
Surf Parents Meeting:
Date: Wednesday January 3, 2017
Location: Brightwater Environmental Education and Community Center