To the SYSL community:
Hi, I’m Jake Wilson. I’m a coach and parent of Grade 2 and Pre-K players. And as of today, I’m your new SYSL President. It’s a daunting job that I would be reluctant to take on without a strong Board of Directors working with me. Fortunately, I feel great about the team we’ve put in place on the board for next year to lead this league forward.
I want to thank Andrew Platt and the outgoing board members for everything they have done for our league and its families and volunteers. From my work with the board over the past year, I know exactly how much time and energy they have given to keep SYSL running. Andrew in particular has worn so many hats this past year, serving as SYSL President, Registrar, Travel Fields Director, and a Girls U12 coach. We all owe him an immense debt of gratitude.
I hear consistently from parents that our league is well run by youth sports league standards, and that’s a massive credit to prior SYSL presidents and boards. Still, I believe there’s always room for improvement and innovation. I never stop looking for better, easier, smarter, and more efficient ways to do things, and that’s the approach I’m bringing to this role.
My background is in communications and social media. As the league’s Communications & Social Media Director this past year, I’ve striven to make better use of social media and sought to communicate earlier, more frequently, and more effectively with coaches and families. We’ll continue to look to improve our communications and social media presence this year. As part of that, we’re transitioning to a new, state-of-the-art website and introducing a mobile app. I expect this to be a game-changer for our league and make all our lives easier.
Above all, I want to see SYSL fully embrace a culture of respect. We’re a volunteer youth sports organization after all, so respect should be central to all we do — at every level and between everyone. I value our partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) and want to see us cultivate this relationship even further, adopting their core concepts. Our coaches will continue to participate in PCA Double-Goal Coach workshops at preseason coaches meetings, and we’ll be holding more PCA Second-Goal Parent workshops this year. I strongly encourage you to attend one of these parent events.
We’ve developed a new Parent Code of Conduct based on PCA materials that we now require parents to sign during registration. A new Coach Code of Conduct inspired by PCA principles is on the way, and we’re also working on our first-ever Player Codes of Conduct, tailored to kids of different ages. These are important documents that clearly map out expectations for all of us.
I also consider transparency to be a core principle of SYSL. We want everyone to understand what is happening at all levels of our league. In addition to communications best practices, this requires clear policies, protocols, and procedures that are followed by everyone: from the board to parents. We amended our by-laws in May to bring clarity to a number of areas, we created a New Travel Parent Orientation program that we held for the first time last month, and we’ll continue looking for ways to make SYSL more open and transparent.
This also means listening to you, our volunteers, coaches, players, and families. We’ll be continuing the new trend of surveying coaches and families after each season, but if you ever have a problem, compliment, complaint, suggestion, story, or question about anything to do with SYSL, I want to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a message on the league’s voicemail at 617.684.5737.
Never forget that this is your league. We’re always looking for volunteers, so if you’ve got a particular skill you’d like to put to use for SYSL — or simply some time and energy to give — we’d love your help. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re not experienced enough with soccer or with our league to volunteer. As a parent of younger players and someone who didn’t grow up playing soccer, take it from me that we want and need everyone involved.
Thanks for entrusting me with this great responsibility — and here’s to an amazing 2018/19!