2016 was a historic year! I would like to thank our membership for their hard work and contributions this past year. It is important ASA strives to provide an environment for positive interaction, good culture and chemistry between ASA and its members.
From 2014 through 2016, ASA has doubled youth membership, from 11,939 to 23,344. This is a significant achievement, as we have been ranked #1 out of 55 State Associations in largest percentage increase of youth player registration numbers two years in a row! This is our third consecutive year of growth, as well as breaking the record of our “all-time high” for player registration. ASA appreciates all you do to bring the game of soccer to your community!
Certainly, this has been a year of change for US Soccer. Field/roster size changes, build out lines and new heading rules all challenged our clubs. As the state association, we tried to ease the burden and assist our members for this change as efficiently as possible, while considering all of the different issues and potential disruptions involved. We were careful and methodical in our communication to membership. Our discussion had mainly revolved club leadership, including, but not limited to, town hall meetings, webinars, and conference calls, to have a successful season with limited incidents.
ASA announced the creation of the Alabama Soccer Foundation, an initiative to provide opportunities for Alabamians of all ages to learn and grow through “The Beautiful Game” of soccer. The purpose of the Foundation is to nourish the physical, mental, and emotional growth of soccer in Alabama by supporting selected organizations and deserving projects which create opportunities for all ages to enjoy the game regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, economic circumstances, or athletic ability.
Our fall State Cup, was hosted by Foley Sports Tourism, bringing our state championships to the Alabama Gulf Coast for the first time. Besides great weather, one of the weekends was held in conjunction with the Sun Belt Conference Women’s Soccer Tournament, for a full-fledged soccer environment! It should be noted the Alabama Soccer Festival was held in Orange Beach during the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Women’s Soccer Tournament. For the 2nd year in a row, the Festival combined with the Kohl’s American Cup, a recreational festival that is supported by US Youth Soccer, which created an awesome soccer experience! Congratulations to all of the teams who participated!
In an ongoing effort to keep soccer fun and safe for kids and all of the adults who help to make our game a reality, ASA has partnered with Respect in Sport, an on-line training program aimed at coaches and youth activity leaders, which informs individuals on issues related to bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination. Designed to both protect children, and provide coaches with information and tools to help recognize and address issues of maltreatment, Respect in Sport is a blueprint to help raise awareness and improve the culture of youth sport.
With regards to ASA Adult/Amateur play, an Adult Advisory Board was recently formed. This important new initiative will allow adult soccer stakeholders to provide ongoing input and direction for improving the programming, policy and value ASA delivers to its adult members. The Adult Advisory Board will also serve as a consulting body for a variety of soccer related issues pertinent to helping the adult game in Alabama. We hope this is another positive step toward building a truly collective, unified state association that naturally flows from youth to adult.
Again, thank you for your support of soccer in Alabama. Our goal is to be the very best sporting organization in Alabama and in the country. Keep up the great work!
See you on the fields,