November 2012

Message From the President

Jim Nicholas, RAGE President

I have had numerous occasions during this season to sit on the sidelines and watch the interactions between coaches and players, between parents and players, and between parents and coaches.  At the Pleasanton RAGE, we have a strong commitment to the PCA  ideals and practices and I am happy to say that the overall behavior of all RAGE parties is a reflection of that commitment.  As a Club, our philosophy is that this PCA approach is best for everyone involved but most importantly for the players themselves.  

I would like to suggest that we make even more of an effort in order to create a more ideal environment for developing a young player's soccer skills, her life skills, and her love for the game of soccer.  Our Club has a curriculum for the development of soccer skills.  An opportunity to develop character, responsibility, confidence, and leadership skills will be based upon the training and game environment that is created and the related decisions made by the player.  Finally her love for the game will be the biggest factor not only of that environment, but of the direct experiences that she has during the season.  

As parents, we can have a large impact on both the environment and the experiences that our players enjoy.  To start with the basic PCA tenets of sideline behavior and positive feedback, we parents can add to the constructive and positive environment for our players. We can then carry it forward by not criticizing or blaming other players, referees, or coaches for losses or negative results.  Finally, and this is by far the most difficult, we can allow our players to be accountable for their actions.  If they miss training, or lack effort or commitment, and do not play - then a learning opportunity exists.  If they fail to perform and another player takes their spot, they must look to themselves first and ask what they can do to earn that spot back. If we as parents attempt to amend this process, we rob our players of the chance to have their character tested and therefore developed.  As a parent, I know how difficult this road can be.  It is a road worth taking, and the rewards for both the player and the game can be great.

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Election Results

Martha Brown, Parliamentarian

We are pleased to announce the 8 newly elected members of the RAGE Board of Directors. We appreciate your participation in the voting process.  The results have been certified and posted below.  Congratulations to all!

Dan Allari
Martha Brown
John Grozier
George Hegarty
Lara Schreiber
Mike Stewart
Ross Stonesifer
Cindy Whitehand

At the first meeting of the 2013 calendar year, the Board will
elect, from its 15 members, a President, Competitive Vice President,
Recreational Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary.

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John Grozier, Competitive VP

pca logoThis important topic continues to be one the most challenging issues for our club.  We have invested a lot of time in our structured communications – team formation meetings, newsletters, player evaluations, and on-line surveys,  but often it is the informal, unscheduled kinds of communication that becomes challenging.
We are at the point of our season where older players have stopped for High School, and many younger players are in the midst of state cup.  Undoubtedly, each of you has formed an opinion about the general direction of the season for your daughter.  We work very hard as a club to ensure that it is a positive one, but despite best efforts this isn’t always the case.  We continue to stress all kinds of communication as a fundamental thing we need to improve as a club.


Despite these efforts, you may have an issue that arises from time to time.  We ask that families follow the Chain of Communication detailed in our parent handbook.  In essence, we ask that each of you (and your player) talk to your coach first.  Many of the problems (not all) that we deal with in January-March, could have been resolved more easily with a conversation earlier in the season.  We realize that this may be difficult, but we have found that this solves the vast majority of issues.  There is an escalation process detailed in the parent handbook.  It is important to note that if you ask for confidentiality, we honor that request.  Also, if there is ever a concern about your daughter’s safety, please contact anyone you feel appropriate.

Please recognize that each of our coaches is an individual with different styles, strengths and weaknesses.  Some will ‘live’ at the SportsPark and talk well past dark, and others are ‘all business’ – arriving to train and leaving right after.  You may need to schedule an appointment with your coach, vs. trying to catch them after a practice. 
Despite the myth to the contrary, Philippe and I have a very strict policy that no player will ever be punished for a parent raising an issue or problem in a respectful way.  If you ask for confidentiality, you will get it.  However, I will not guarantee that we can resolve everyone’s issue to everyone’s satisfaction.  Sometimes, opinions and beliefs cannot be reconciled.  We are not perfect by any means, but we do pledge that everyone will be treated fairly and consistently.

Lastly, 3 or 4 times a year, we get ‘anonymous’ letters or emails addressed to the RAGE Board of Directors. Generally, these are negative comments or concerns directed to a coach or to the Board. While we read and consider them, our actions are limited because by being anonymous, there is no way to assure the integrity of the comments.   If you want us to investigate something, you need to come forward.  Your confidentiality will be respected.  Please follow our Chain of Communication process or contact our RAGE ombudsman. Obviously, it goes without saying, that if any illegal activity is claimed, contact the police.

We look forward to your comments, both negative and hopefully positive as well.  Look for our survey to arrive via email soon.

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Finance Update

Ross Stonesifer, Treasurer

As we come to a close of the season for most of our teams, I would like to review with our membership the financial results we expect for the 2012 year and our preliminary outlook for next year. I would like to provide you with several background comments and sources of additional financial information.

  1. We keep track of our Recreational and Competitive programs financial results separately. There are many shared services, the costs of which are allocated based on prior experience and the number of participants in each program (currently 1150 Rec and 525 Comp). There is an effort made to not cross-subsidize the programs. Because of the timing of seasons of play being different, the Rec financial year end is December 31 and the Comp year end is June 30. The Rec program will be roughly breakeven for this year.
  2. Monthly Income Statements and Balance Sheets are available at http://pleasantonrage.org/pages/about-us.php. Considerable financial detail can be found at http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/94-2369292/pleasanton-girls-soccer-association.aspx.
  3. Please understand that timing of funds receipt and disbursement result in considerable swings in reported income and cash balances. In general, March/April is the low point for cash (roughly $800,000), as we have not yet begun the Registration process for the coming summer/fall league season.

  We experienced several important challenges and opportunities this past season and anticipate others in the future which I would like to summarize

  1. As we all know, the Pleasanton Unified School District has experienced enormous budget pressure in recent years. Because sports groups use many school fields, all local sports clubs volunteered to assist in maintenance of fields, with a cost to us of over $50,000 ($25 per player) this year. Due to the timing of that commitment and local economic weakness, your Board chose to forego an increase in Registration fees for the 2012 playing season to reflect that added cost. We expect our PUSD field maintenance costs to increase next year. Along with other cost increases, we must consider an increase in Registration fees. WE ARE A NON-PROFIT AND DO NOT INTEND TO GENERATE A SIGNIFICANT SURPLUS OR DEFICIT THROUGH REGISTRATION FEES.
  2. We provided all U8 players with professional training sessions this year, again at no additional cost to our members, to better prepare these young players with skills needed to enhance their experience as they transition to a more technically sophisticated game with larger rosters, a bigger field, more “rules” and an evolving competitive environment sought by a large number of players. However, having fun is still the important consideration in our Rec program. We expect to repeat this program, again at no added cost, next year.
  3. The college selection process for our Comp program usually involves expectation of playing varsity or college club soccer. We have found that a much greater number of our older players in the Rec program would like information about soccer in colleges and about the college selection process. Advice is available at no charge to our entire membership. Please start with the resources on our web site, including our College Handbook at http://pleasantonrage.org/docs/_2011/COLLEGE_HANDBOOK.pdf.
  4. The City is holding information meetings about its plans for developing a three field sports complex at Bernal Park. Refer to the City web site for details about a meeting scheduled for the evening of December 10th. This meeting is open to the public.
  5. We greatly value the input of our members. We invite you to attend Board meetings or ask questions of our Board and Staff. We also would ask for feedback through surveys which we develop at various times of the year. If you have financials questions, I, your treasurer (Ross Stonesifer), can be reached at stone6096@aol.com.

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Big/Little Sis Mentoring Program

Karrie Smith, Mentoring Program

*2012-13 Teams meet for yogurt, appear at games, drop good luck cards before big tournaments, Selling hairbands to benefit Stanford Children’s Hospital, Send personal cards of concern for sick family members, Have field chat sessions about game-day nutrition! All great stuff!
*A big thanks to parents/coaches who helped kick off the Recreation Side Participation- Our 1st Season for this program! (And of course, those consistently involved on the Competitive side…THANKS!)

To see all the newly submitted pictures of events, go to http://pleasantonrage.org/pages/mentoring-program.php
(It’s NEVER TOO LATE: Submit yours pictures, identifying teams and events- in short- to Webmaster:  webmaster@pleasantonrage.org

*Last thought:  November- December RAGE Character Education

COMPASSION/COURTESY    November – December 2012
"Being kind to myself, others, environment. Care take others
* Helping others in need- even those" unlike" me. Create TEAM unity. Speak up when division occurs
* Be forgiving. Speaking it. Show it-even to adults

Thanks for “making a difference” in the lives of young athletes.
Karrie Smith, Director, Keepersmit@comcast.net

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Sports Injury Clinic : Concussion

Christy Boyd, Varsity Sports Medicine

Concussions are currently a hot topic of discussion in sports at all levels.    It is important to recognize that a concussion is a sports injury – similar to an ankle sprain or thigh bruise – and that early recognition and proper management can minimize disability and speed recovery.

A concussion is a temporary disruption of brain function caused by a sudden force to the head.   It is an injury to the ‘software’, not the ‘hardware’.  In soccer, most concussions are a result of player-to-player or player-to-ground contact, not heading the ball.  Concussions are more common in girls than boys.

We worry about concussions for a few reasons. First off, a second blow to the head, even a mild one, before the brain has fully recovered can lead to severe brain swelling. Secondly, multiple concussions can eventually add up to permanent problems with thinking and memory. Finally, even when short-lived, concussion symptoms can have a significant effect on social development and school performance during a critical part of a young person’s life.

Like many sports injuries, concussions are part of the game.  When treated early and aggressively, most players make a full recovery and do not have any long term issues.   Premature return to play or improper management of the injury can lead to prolonged symptoms and unfortunately, extended periods of time away from the game.   

While it may be easy to recognize a swollen bruised ankle as an ‘ankle sprain’, recognizing concussions can be more challenging.  You don’t have to be “knocked out” to have a concussion. There are many other clues to look for including headache, confusion, memory trouble, nausea, poor balance, vision problems, and trouble concentrating.  

An athlete should never return to play or even exercise while experiencing any concussion symptoms. Anyone suspected of having suffered a concussion should not play again that same day even if symptoms clear up quickly.  

Concussion treatment typically consists of a period of physical and mental rest followed by a trial of aerobic exercise such as running then solo soccer drills. If each step is performed without any symptoms, it’s time to progressively return to full play and contact.

Concussions are an important health issue for soccer players, but when armed with knowledge about prevention, recognition, and appropriate management of this injury, concussions become just another sports injury.
More information on concussions can be found by clicking the following links:
Concussion Guide For Parents

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RAGE ECNL Players Take On The Challenge of Coaching

Precious Akanyirige (U17 ECNL) & Janelle Buccola, (U16 ECNL)

One of the core values that RAGE works hard to uphold is developing great citizens, not just great soccer players.  We have created many programs to help this personal development for our players including RAGE Leadership Academy and Big/Little Sister teams.  Another way RAGE develops players is to offer opportunities for older players to take on the role of Assistant Coach for younger teams.  We’ve asked a few of our players to describe their first coaching experiences.  It’s easy to see these were very fruitful experiences. 

Precious Akanyirige, U17 ECNL
This season I helped coach the U9 Grey team, coached by Jose Torres. I also helped out with the U9 Black team, coached by Nicole Irwin, when I could, but most of the time my practice conflicted with their practice time. I had a great time coaching and I would definitely do it again. It was fun to just be out there because it was a new experience for me. Also it was another way to be involved in the sport I love. It was cool knowing that I was once at that stage and now I have learned enough to give back and hopefully inspire the girls to keep playing. One of my biggest challenges was that I wanted to make sure I always gave them the right information, and I was always scared that I would do something wrong. Because of that, I learned more about myself and how much soccer knowledge I have gained over the years. Teaching a concept, helps you better understand it yourself, and that is what happened for me. And as I coached more I gained more confidence in my knowledge of the game. To be honest, I never actually expected that the girls would like me so much. They would always ask me questions about my life and when they saw me off the soccer field they would run up and give me a big hug. That was my favorite part. Just knowing that at least I've made some kind of a positive impression in their life is a great feeling. I am so glad I had the opportunity to assistant coach this season!

Janelle Buccola, U16 ECNL
This year I was the Assistant Coach the U10 orange team coached by Darin Preszler. It was a fun experience for me because Darin is also my coach and the U10 is my little sister team. It gave me the chance to get to know all of them a much better. Working as a coach really helped strengthen my leadership skills. I learned how to apply my knowledge from being a player to coaching. I didn't expect coaching to help my game, but the U10's do similar exercises during practice.  So I was always having to make smart decisions and work hard. The most challenging part of being a coach and a player is maintaining a high level of energy throughout both practices. It can get tough, but that's what's so great about working with the team. They're always making me laugh or doing something silly. I definitely don't regret being a coach. I love it and would do it again in a heartbeat. 

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