Thursday, November 25, 2010

Frustration and Shifting Snows

According to some reports Randy Ragan has resigned as Technical Officer of the Ontario Soccer Association after just seven months in the position to return to the legal profession.

Sad but really not unanticipated as at the OSA's coaching conference earlier this month Ragan had a very low profile which seemed a little strange at the time since it was a technically oriented event and he was the OSA's technical face.

That a very intelligent man, a member of Canada's only World Cup team and a general all round good person has left the governing body of the sport in Canada's largest soccer province after just seven months shows, once again, the sad state of the governance of the game here in this country.

While no official reasons have yet leaked or been given out one can guess that sheer frustration sits right at the top of the list. One can plot, design and plan ways forward but if you are constantly stone-walled and don't see even small amounts of progress or hope it leads to frustration on both the personal and board side of things.

This issue strikes close to home personally as well because after two years as the Technical Director of a club here in Ontario I was told last week my contract would not be renewed at year's end and led to my resignation from the position. As I reflect a week later on my decision and a job left unfinished I have come to the conclusion that one of the major contributors to the decision was frustration on both sides.

Frustration with communication (both ways), frustration with change and the pace of change (too fast for some, too slow for others, too much for some, not enough for others) and frustration with differences in philosophy (player oriented or team oriented development) and finally frustration that both sides were both basically making it up as we went along.

In both Mr. Ragan's case and mine (if I can be so bold to compare them) it's not a question of being right or wrong on either side - it's the result in my opinion of not having specific developmental targets and defined pathways of development for players and coaches laid out so there are targets to strive for and goals to be measured.

The much talked about Long Term Athlete Development plan is a step in the right direction but if the governing bodies (from the CSA on down) do not provide developmental plans, guidelines to work to and expectations to measure and then reinforce them everyone is left basically doing their own thing and trying to find their own way forward.

The end result is everyone, players, parents, coaches, technical staff and clubs are left stumbling in the dark and more time, energy, effort and resources get wasted as everyone is left spinning their wheels in the shifting snows that are Canadian soccer.

Bill Ault

PS - After a long hiatus from writing due my duties as Technical Director I'll be searching for a new approach for CanadaKicks as the blogosphere has more than enough sources for Canadian soccer news unlike 1995 when we started this thing. Thanks for your patience while we reorient ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:07 PM

    Why everyone waits on the CSA (NSO) or the PSO to get things going, the Districts and Clubs could join together and develop their own development pathway plans and programs together. This can only happen if everyone believes in development before revenue competition.

    The saddest part of our system is that inexperienced admin's run it all. PSO should make it a requirement for all club BOD's and admin to be certified just like coaches. After all some of these clubs have $1 - 3.5 Million dollar budgets. Concept was suggest to BCSA and they didn't want to get it. Yet hundreds of thousand of $ goes missing from some club every 5 years.

    I really feel for good TD and coaches who work for clubs that operate with not master development plan and only on egos with little or no sports admin experience. Same for sports admin types who have the same battle. I've seen the challenges from bottom positions. The sad part about it is when you hear from the kids and their parents that things have good from great to I'm not playing anymore.

    Kids deserve better but the bigger kids have to get humble to do what is right but whether that happens will depend on when those that pay the fees see what's going on and how their money is really being spent. What's going on with Alberta Soccer is a all too often battle that has nothing to do with servicing the kids.

    Good luck Bill and I'm sure you will bounce back with greater success.