On The Board salutes the people that run the great clubs we serve.
This month, YESsoccer honors the dedication and hard work of outgoing Lyme Old Lyme Soccer Club, CT President Marco Kroes, who finishes his term at the end of the Fall Season.
New England Regional Director Tom Butler recently sat down with Marco to discuss his time at the helm of LOLSC:
Marco, when and why did you take the position as LOLSC President?
I had coached for LOLSC for 5 years with various teams and age groups prior to assuming the Club President Position in 2010.
When the position became vacant, it was a natural progresson as I wanted to get more involved and serve our club, community and sport at the next level. I also wanted to ensure that the good work done by the board members who proceeded me did not go to waste.
Being a President of any youth sport organization is often a thankless task. What have been some of the challenges your board has faced over the past 3 years?
As a Board it was a challenge to review, change, clarify and carry out a new club approach/protocol where required. Status Quo or doing something simply because that was the way it was done in the past was not good enough. This required vision, tenacity and follow through from club leadership, and buy-in and trust from the membership.
Although change often seems daunting and it may be easier to simply '"go with the flow," I was keen to change that mentality and ensure that we consistently reviewed our processes and evaluated where we were, and where we wanted to be.
What have been some of the highlights of your time in charge at LOLSC?
Without a doubt, walking out on the field and seeing our young soccer players and their parents with smiles on their faces, enjoying our beautiful game within the framework of a well organized soccer club.
In my role as President, I have been fortunate to meet many people within the Old Lyme community, but also the Connecticut soccer community, too. I have made friends for life and we will continue to keep in touch after I step away from the club, due to our passion and love for soccer.
So Marco, why are you stepping away from your position as President?
I feel through the hard work of our volunteers and support of our fantastic soccer community, LOLSC has been raised to the next level. I also feel it is important for new board members with fresh ideas to come in and build on the success of previous boards.
In addition, two of my three daughters have graduated from club soccer and are now HS soccer players, with my youngest soon to be. It's simply time to pass on the reigns and enjoy being a parent.
So after three successful years as President of LOLSC, what advice would you give to a parent who is thinking about becoming a President of a youth soccer organization?
1. Surround yourself with smart, motivated and dedicated club officers and volunteers, and partner with a quality coaching provider like YESsoccer.
2. Create level expectations via solid club protocol.
3. Be an active, approachable and hands-on club leader.
And I think it's critical for anyone on a soccer club board to hold post and pre-season meetings with their coaching provider to implement and monitor a club development plan. You and I did this, Tom, and together with YESsoccer we even developed a trainer profile that would best suit the structure and goals of our club.
YESsoccer and Amanda, our current YESambassador, have delivered in every respect. She is able to positively connect with each player, coach, parent, and club officer at multiple levels. She is personable, knowledgeable, thorough and responsible. She makes my job easier.
The bar is set high for 2014 and beyond.
Thanks for your time, Marco. And thank you for being such a fantastic partner to YESsoccer over the past three years. I've enjoyed every second of our partnership and look forward to seeing you at your daughters' games soon!