By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
July 9, 2019-The East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL) is made up of nearly 350 travel teams in six counties and is the second largest league in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA). So how does such a large league get its philosophy about behavior and game day operations to its players, coaches, referees and parents?
They send out the Scouts!
These Scouts have 10 years of more experience in the EHYSL as coaches, refs and administrators and they introduce themselves to coaches and referees before every game they attend. In their mandatory weekly reports, the Scouts give the EHYSL an excellent sampling what is happening at each field complex.
“The purpose and role of the East Hudson Scout program is to improve the youth soccer experience for all,” commented EHYSL President Jim Purdy. “Scouts attend multiple matches each league Sunday to observe players, coaches, parents and referees. We often find ourselves educating parents and some coaches on the Laws of the Game and changes to same over the years.“
Ken Gulmi volunteered as the EHYSL President for an amazing 22 years from 1990 to 2012. He now spends his Sundays during the Spring Season and Fall Season as a Scout and watches every game at the midfield line in-between the team benches.
“In one recent Under-10 game, one coach started complaining and then the referee got into an argument with the coach about it,” Gulmi explained. ”I spoke to the ref at halftime that he must never lose his cool and also admonished the coach about his behavior.”
Like Gulmi, Fred Valenti is both an Eastern New York and EHYSL Hall of Famer who now spends his Sundays as a Scout. Valenti said, “Referees feel they have somebody there who has their back when a Scout is at the field. I give referees a few pointers, particularly in the younger age groups where the refs tend to not have much experience and the kids’ parents don’t know the rules.“
President Purdy added, “What we have found is that nearly all appreciate our being present at matches as the overwhelming majority thank us for being there once they learn who we are and why we are there. We occasionally encounter that rare parent or coach who think it is acceptable to scream constantly at a teenage referee, often from their own club, with a club-assigned game. The Scouts help mentor young referees as our common purpose is to make the games as good as they can be.“
While the Scouts cannot be at every game, coaches and refs are taking what they learned from the Scouts and applying those lessons to their other matches. It certainly has worked as the number of Arbitration cases involving misbehaving coaches and team parents has decreased by more than 50% in the five years since EHYSL introduced its Scout Program.
With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 11 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Children With Special Needs. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log onto http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.