In 1998, my wife signed up our nine-year-old daughter for AYSO. As newer parents, we had heard of AYSO but knew absolutely nothing about soccer. I initially managed to avoid any volunteer activities, but as our other daughter also started playing in AYSO and she and her sister moved up through the divisions, I was “voluntold” to be trained as a referee-“no referees, no games!”. Actually, as unconfident as I was about my ability to referee, I looked forward to finally learning the difference between a goal kick and a corner kick! It turned out that I really enjoyed refereeing, and I got more experience as my daughters played on tournament teams and in Spring leagues, in addition to the Fall season. I also started making some very special friends who were also AYSO volunteers. To this day, my best friends are or have been AYSO volunteers.
Eventually, I also got recruited to serve on the North Oxnard Region 304 Board, starting as CVPA (“whatever the heck that is”) and Safety Director. I was serving as an Assistant Regional Commissioner when the Regional Commissioner suddenly resigned and, viola! – I was now an acting Regional Commissioner. I was elected to the RC position by the Region 304 Board and served one term. That was my most fulfilling position in AYSO.
I was later recruited to serve on the AYSO National Development Commission, including serving as Chair for several years. This provided me an opportunity to observe the National Board of Directors meetings and meet our AYSO national leaders. The Development Commission worked to develop and promote programs to help grow our Organization and bring more soccer to more kids. In my tenure with the Development Commission, we introduced the President’s Circle, which recognizes Region player growth, as well as the AYSO Labs and AYSO Playground programs.
I also served on the National Nominating Commission. Apparently, I was a little outspoken and was recruited (there’s that word again) to run for the National Board of Directors. I was honored to have been elected to the NBOD at the 2016 National Annual General Meeting in Chicago. I was again recruited (!) to run for the position of National President and was elected in 2017. It was my privilege to serve as the leader of AYSO for two terms.
I now have the opportunity to continue to serve AYSO in a leadership capacity. Since May 2019, I have served as the Transitional National Executive Director. This transition period will provide an opportunity for the NBOD to review the position description for the NED position and evaluate the skill set and experience that is desired for the permanent NED. I greatly enjoy working with the dedicated and enthusiastic AYSO Office team members as we address the various challenges that AYSO has faced over the past several years and work towards developing new solutions and providing the very best service to our AYSO volunteers and partners.
I am very passionate about AYSO and the value it brings to our communities. I have seen the value that our volunteer training provides to develop volunteers and new AYSO leaders who have served in capacities that they never thought possible. I have seen how it can make a difference in the development of a child. My daughters both benefited from experiences with some truly special AYSO coaches who provided them with confidence and team experiences they never had with their club or high school sports teams. Staying involved with AYSO is my way of paying back the value AYSO has provided to my family.