To all JAOSA and United Soccer Club of SEMO parents and players:
My name is Paul Kester and I am the Director of Communications for JAOSA and United Soccer Club of Southeast Missouri. My responsibilities include managing all of our communication platforms whether social media (Facebook and Twitter), our websites including registration, and our text messaging systems. As you have noticed, both JAOSA and United Soccer Club of SEMO have a new look. I thought I would take a few moments and explain where we have been and where we are headed with respect to our communications and registration platforms.
A few years ago JAOSA and Untied Soccer Club of SEMO voted that in the best interest of soccer in our area, we needed to combine forces and work together. The result is each organization now has the same members on each organizations board. While the boards operate separate of each other it lined up ideologies having common members and the results are evident. This was our first step in unifying our programs in a more focused approach to the development of soccer players in Southeast Missouri. We feel that education of both our coaches and our players is paramount to the success of soccer in our area.
Both recreational and competitive soccer programs are largely made up of volunteer parents as coaches. Coaches, just like players, come in varying levels of experience in coaching and in their own skills as soccer players. Rather than have every coach teaching a different experience to players, we feel that there should be a unified player experience no matter which coach and team the player is assigned.
In most area’s of the country, recreational programs fall behind competitive programs because of the availability of a Director of Coaching and high quality trainers. Competitive programs (Select and Travel teams) typically employ paid trainers who develop their players. Many players are pulled out of recreational programs at younger and younger ages to begin their competitive soccer journeys. We have laid the foundation to ensure that all players, no matter which path they choose, receive access to a higher level of individual soccer training.
This is where Academy training comes into the picture. JAOSA was the first organization in our area to offer club level trainers to all players, both recreational and competitive, at no additional cost. These trainers teach US Soccer based curriculum tailored to each age group according to what each individual player needs to know. It’s not a secret that the more touches on the ball that a player receives, the better their chances of improving. I encourage each parent to evaluate their schedules and consider sending their child to academy sessions.
The next crucial step in our goals was to hire a Director of Coaching, tasked with improving our coaching education and providing a unified vision for what our wonderful parent coaches would be teaching our children.
So how does this tie into the website looking different you might ask? This organization has a single vision to develop our local youth’s soccer abilities. JAOSA and United Soccer Club of SEMO is made up of a great group of volunteers. We have grown to almost 500 participants in our Fall/Spring seasons. Managing different areas of this organization takes tremendous amounts of time and effort. Over the course of the last few seasons you have seen us implement electronic registration, a text message system, and improvements to our website. We still had some areas of our organization that were very time intensive and were not optimized to get our volunteers into the most important area of JAOSA, coaching and teaching our kids.
This new platform, NBC SportsEngine, gives us a platform to register, communicate information via our website, and something entirely new, communicate at a team level. Over the course of the next few seasons we will push out a needed communication channel between players, coaches, and parents so that teams can communicate with each other. Parents can choose whether they want to get text messages, emails, or use the smartphone based app to communicate amongst themselves. Coaches can send out RSVP requests to parents and find out who will or won’t be available for each practice or game.
This commercial platform not only frees up our time to be coaches and fans, it allows for improved continuity as our volunteers change. It also has costs associated with it. Academy Sports + Outdoors has agreed to sponsor the platform at no yearly cost to us. We will have 2 days a year where they will give JAOSA / United Soccer Club of SEMO discounted shopping days. The first event is scheduled for the day before our Fall Tournament, October 14th. I encourage you to take advantage of those opportunities as this discount applies to almost anything you buy in the store, not just soccer gear. You will also notice Academy ad placement in certain places on the website.
This year we kicked off a new fundraiser in partnership with Bobo’s fundraising. Bobo’s also sponsored our teams this year providing funds to offset costs associated with upgrading our facilities. Many of you might not know it, but JAOSA is largely responsible for any improvements to our facilities and fields. If you look around at the soccer complex, you will notice new lights, new concession stand electrical improvements, and a playground for our younger players. We are in the process of laying out plans to upgrade our drainage issues with our fields. This year’s fundraiser is one step in that direction. We have partnered with the City of Jackson to provide these new improvements, but unfortunately we still have to shoulder some of the financial burden through fundraising and sponsorships. Know that we have plans to fix our drainage issues, reseed and rehab our fields, and transition to a first class soccer complex that our community can be proud to be a part of.
Thank you for your continued support and allowing us to take part if your child’s soccer experience. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Director of Communications
JAOSA / United Soccer Club of SEMO