Concession: something done or agreed to usually grudgingly in order to reach an agreement or improve a situation
While traveling to and from a funeral/visitation on Monday, I began to think about things I planned to post to the blog yesterday. The brain explosion that was posted yesterday covered most things, but I forgot to talk about my thoughts on the club. In that free-range dialogue with myself on Monday, the above word came up when thinking about where I wanted to go and what might prevent us from getting there.
When Milwaukee United Soccer Club was founded, I laid out clear criteria regarding experience and residency for players we would pursue for our Women’s Premier League (state-level) and future regional-level teams. As time moved on, I made (what I thought were) individual concessions to some of those criteria in order to amass a large enough roster for specific seasons, to fill certain positions, because current players had recruited college teammates, and/or because I didn’t want to turn away interested players. This past season saw the level of concessions made reach a level that in hindsight was unacceptable. Players came in who had NO discernible connection to our town, who didn’t have the requisite experience or skill to compete at this level, or didn’t have the freedom of schedule to make a full-season commitment to the organization. This past season also saw the advance of the youth system haves/have-nots debate as a number of monied, cutthroat Milwaukee-area suburban clubs made entry to the WPL (or in one case, the masking of one club’s players under the name of another). Of the top six teams in the league standings, MUSC was the only one NOT to come from that collection (and I count Croatians as part of that collective due to lack of competition for players in the south half of Milwaukee County).
In planning for 2016, we are at a fork in the road. Do we stay true to who we are and want to be despite the potential for less success, or do we make concessions (or abandon the criteria) in order to compete with those unprincipled sides? Strangely enough, the idea of concessions also translates to our current board structure and what might be necessary to grow the organization. The following are concessions that might need to be made for the future development of the club, most of which I am loathe to pursue as they run counter to what we espouse to be and believe:
- Dropping the residency requirement in order to compete for players
- Raising the season fee so that a full budget can be covered, including expenses not currently in it and providing for a buffer to cover those players who disappear during the season or don’t pay by the end of it
- Looking outside the organization for a coach or coaches
- Expanding the size, make-up, and workload/responsibilities of the board of directors
What say you? I am willing to lay out my position on why we should or shouldn’t concede on these points, so if you want to throw in a few cents, hit me up.