Plummeting temperatures and first snowfall herald the end of the year and bring a chilly reminder that the holiday season is upon us. Let me take the opportunity to wish you the best seasonal greetings, whatever holidays you celebrate.
At DC Stoddert Soccer, we have much to celebrate this year. Inspired by Ian Dury’s classic song, here are my personal Top 10 "Reasons to be Cheerful" in 2010:
1. Volunteers: The club runs on the incredible energy, drive and commitment of more than 700 volunteers who give their time and share their passion for soccer week in, and week out. Each year, we recognize one individual from among these selfless legions for his or her outstanding efforts on behalf of our kids and club. It is my great pleasure to highlight Sholto Stewart, voted Volunteer of the Year for his work as a soccer coach, recreational Commissioner, D.C. United ticket manager and travel parent. Well done, Sholto! You can read more about him and the other 2010 honorees celebrated at the Annual General Meeting & Annual General Meeting & Awards Ceremony December 7 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center.
Photo, right : Sholto Stewart and children at Annual General Meeting Dec. 7, 2010
2. Fields. The new Jelleff turf field is a fantastic facility that has allowed the club to get increased access for our rec and travel players year ‘round to a fabulous, floodlit field. While some considered the development controversial, it already has proven a major improvement in the quality of the fields we are using. Thanks are due to the DC Department of Parks and Recreation and to the Maret School for their partnership to make this wonderful asset available to us.
Photo, left. With lights, players now can practice at Jelleff after school in late fall
3. Players. We had a record number of recreational registrations this fall with an unexpected jump of 400 players over last year. This of course put additional burdens on fields and referees, but they reflect positively on the interest in youth soccer in our area and the contribution made by DC Stoddert.
4. Weather Gods. After a soggy 2009, we had ZERO Saturday rainouts for all of 2010 – albeit with a handful of exceptions for individual fields that didn’t dry. Combined with record enrollment, that meant we played by far the most games in the club’s history, roughly 3,600 games.
5. Staff & Teamwork. We have great professional staff and coaches working for us, from Tom, Kate, Derek and Missy in the office to our travel coaches and referees. That plucky group helped ensure that some 99 percent of the rec and travel games we staged each week went forth without a major hitch—a triumph of logistics, volunteer hours, fields, referees and schedules that would be the envy of any client-focused commercial organization. While we did see an increase in the number of games not covered by an assigned referee this year, that reflects an increase in the number of games and we are working on resolving the problem.
6. Travel Program. We have an incredibly successful travel program that improves every year. We have teams playing at all levels in NCSL, WAGS and MSI leagues. When analyzing where our teams play, Division 2 is the most common division for our boys’ teams, with several D1 teams expected in the spring. We also now field several D1 and D2 girls’ teams as the quality of teams has improved. Our girls’ and boys’ teams win regular local tournaments, and this fall, two girls’ teams won a competitive regional college showcase in New Jersey while one U17 boys team finished a creditable third in the regional Atlantic Soccer League college showcase in Williamsburg, Va.
photo: Coach Andre Russo and GU18 Heat, champions of MAPS/MSSL college showcase at Ft. Dix, NJ, Nov. 21, 2010
7. High School Athletes. The recent DC citywide high school soccer championship in November featured many of our current and former boys and girls players on both the Wilson and Bell teams. You can see photos and read Len Oliver’s write-up of both games on our Web site.
photo: Bell (yellow jerseys) beat Wilson 2-1 in overtime to clinch the 2010 DCIAA championship.
8. Play space. We continue to improve the quality of the fields, thanks to our use of Jelleff and access to new private fields. Gaining access to D.C. Public Schools fields remains a challenge.
9. Partners. City FC continues to provide indoor futsal and outdoor programs for high school girls and boys combined with college preparation and academic support.
10. Scholarships. Thanks to the generosity of our members, our club has been able to cover more than $115,000 each year in scholarships for some 80 travel and 270 recreation players. We are committed to ensuring that all kids can play regardless of their family’s ability to pay.
The coming year undoubtedly will bring many challenges, including gaining access to D.C. Public Schools fields, helping the Department of Parks and Recreation improve the quality of public fields, increasing the number of referees and coverage of games and increasing the funds available for scholarship players. But if 2010 is any indicator, we can count on people rolling up their sleeves and working hard to provide the best possible soccer experience for our children and communities.
Thank you for being part of this success and for the many hours you put in to make it happen,
Chairman, DC Stoddert Soccer
posted 12/16/2010 by MCL. Last updated 12/20/10.