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Alameda Soccer Club vote could change future of club

Submitted by on 1, January 11, 2010 – 6:00 amNo Comment

asclogoThe future direction of the Alameda Soccer Club, which counts 1,600 Island youth among its players, could rest on the results of a board election to be held at the club’s annual general meeting tonight.

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. today in the cafeteria of Alameda High School, corner of Central and Oak. Voting is open to club volunteers and to parents of children who were enrolled in the spring or fall of 2009. (If you had kids in the club, you apparently get one vote per child; volunteers with no kids in the club get a single vote.)

Club leaders who feel the club is being shortchanged by the Jack London Youth Soccer League – of which the Alameda club is one of several member clubs – and also that younger players aren’t getting their fair share of local field time and other resources have put together a slate of nine candidates for the 25-member board.

Ed Owens, a parent with three children playing in the club who this past year was Alameda Soccer Club’s U10 coordinator, said a slate of coaches that includes him as a director-at-large would work to improve conditions for younger players, who he said make up the bulk of the club’s members. They would also seek to pull the Alameda club out of the Jack London league and join elsewhere.

“I just think the majority of the club has been underrepresented,” said Owens, who said he challenged coaches handling U8 to U12 teams to make changes and who credited the coaches with creating a platform, contacted individuals to run for board seats and contacted club members to get them to vote.

Owens said the club’s younger, recreational players are subsidizing the play of older, more elite players with their dues, which he said have been rising over the years as Jack London has taken a greater role in the club’s operations. And he said they’re not getting their fair share of practice and play time on local fields.

He said he and other coaches have been frustrated with scheduling that puts several teams on one field for practice or weather-related park closures that force them to look elsewhere to practice – while fields at Alameda Point that are maintained and controlled by the Piedmont Soccer Club are open, and being played by those out-of-town teams.

In an e-mail to club members, Owens said that Alameda players make up 18 percent of the Jack London league but provide half the fields, and that of the $75 each player pays to participate in the league, Alameda players get just $41 back – while Bay Oaks, the league’s competitive Class I club, as much as $250 per player. (The slate includes the club’s current treasurer, Griff Neal, who is seeking to keep that seat.)

Owens said members of the slate would like the club to consider joining another league, like U.S. Club Soccer, if things can’t be worked out. (He said the club joined the Jack London league so teams here could play teams of like skill.)

The club’s outgoing president, Gabriel Siroit, acknowledged the problems Owens and others are raising  (though he disputed the numbers they presented). But he said the club’s current leadership is working to fix them. And he said he thinks the Alameda club should try to fix things with Jack London first before enacting a split. Joining a new club, he said, would force players and their parents to travel farther to play other teams.

“I understand that there are issues, that there are certain things to work out,” Siroit said. “Before you divorce, see a counselor first. Let’s see if we can resolve the field and (fee) situation, and if we can stay together as a group.”

Jack London president Chris Seiwald did not return a call seeking comment.

More to come.

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