A message from Tony Buiniskis
On Saturday July 24th, I was elected to the position of Secretary of the United States Youth Soccer Association and as such, I was required to immediately resign my position as President of the New York State West Youth Soccer (NYSWYSA). As I step down as President, I would like to thank all of you who have allowed me to serve in that capacity for the past nine years.
I would like to thank the Board of Directors of the NYSWYSA for their hard work, long hours spent in meetings, attendance at conferences and workshops all for the benefit of the 80,000 players of New York State West. I would like to thank the member clubs and leagues for the support of the changes we have tried to implement. During my tenure as President and Syracuse District Commissioner, we have seen some dramatic changes occur in the NYSWYSA.
A 45 % increase in player registrations from approximately 55,000 to the 80,000 registered in 2003.
Implementation of a computerized registration program. Initially Logical Solutions and now the next-generation RosterPro.
The opening of a State Office and hiring of an Operations Manager, which occurred in my first year as President. Since then, the office has expanded to keep pace with the needs of the membership and requirements of outside governing bodies. We now have a full-time Executive Director, a bookkeeper, a receptionist/secretary and an individual who handles the Risk Management work as well as assists the State Director of Coaching.
To answer the needs of the coaching community, we hired a full-time State Director of Coaching. Since he was hired, there have been over 5,000 coaches who have received either a Youth Module, E, D or C license. Through his efforts, and those who have been through the classes he has taught, our players are now receiving Regional and National attention. He has established a state coaching association that allows members free access to programs, seminars and workshops as part of their membership fee. He has become a leader on the National stage in efforts to improve coaching education and player development.
We established the position of Director of Recreational Soccer to provide the recreational player, who makes up the majority of our membership, the attention he/she deserves.
To make soccer The Game for All Kids, we have pushed each district to establish a TOPSoccer Program and established the Position of Director of TOPSoccer. TOPSoccer is the US Youth Soccer Associations outreach program for physically and mentally challenged youth who deserve the opportunity to participate in a wholesome activity. This program is now running in five of the six Districts, with the sixth due to come on line in the coming year.
We have partnered with and used our national exposure to assist those who are economically challenged as well, by providing assistance to inner city soccer programs.
We have become a leader on the national stage in the area of Risk Management, in the protection of our youth from those who would seek to do them harm. I am extremely pleased that our State Referee Association has agreed to join us in this effort.
We have established a website that enables us to post almost immediately news and information that is important to those involved in the game of soccer.
We have improved the process by which our teams travel. This was accomplished by the implementation of the E-Travel system. Now our members can almost instantly receive paperwork for travel that includes the insurance coverage no matter where they go or who they play.
Together, we have accomplished a lot. While I am pleased with what we have done and the opportunity I have been given to serve on the national governing board for youth soccer in the United States, I am concerned about the future of the GAME.
All too often, I have seen, or been told, about abuse of officials by both coaches and parents. The majority of time this occurs at the youngest of age groups. This is the wrong message to be sending to both the officials and players who are looking up to Daddy, Mommy and the coach as role models and teachers. It is a GAME, not life and death; relax, take joy in the fact your child can play at all.
Our children live in a very stressful world with terrible things confronting them everyday in the newspapers and on television. They do not need stress when playing a GAME. Let them play it for what it is - ENJOYMENT. Coaches who yell and scream during games and practices should be confronted and counseled regarding their actions because this just adds additional stress on the children.
Again, I would like to thank you all for the opportunities you have given me to serve the youth of our state and may God bless you all.
Past President of the New York State West Youth Soccer Association