An Open Letter to All SF Glens Evolution Parents and Members
We apologize for delay in following up to questions and concerns related to last Wednesday’s SFYS Annual General Meeting (AGM) as, on Saturday, we received communication from the President and Secretary of SFYS’s Board of Directors that they seek to nullify that evening’s election. We strongly object to this course of action and are presently reviewing all of our options.
Notwithstanding, we feel it’s important to share with parents and members the position that SF Glens Evolution took last Wednesday night, some of the behaviors we observed at the AGM meeting, the process for a vote count (pending a proper resolution to the above), as well as our goals with this initiative.
First, we want to address a question some of you raised. Our number one concern is to ensure that the Spring Soccer Season will continue as planned, and not be affected by our collective work to create a more transparent, ethical, and fair system for all in San Francisco Youth soccer. We will be playing this spring and our kids will continue to enjoy this great game.
We want to thank all the people who helped us before, during, and after the AGM. We also want to thank the candidates who agreed to put their name on the slate in order to promote a healthy change within San Francisco Youth Soccer. And we want to thank those of you who reached out and supported our intentions and actions. We have not heard any negative comments so far; yet, we realize, as a large community, some disagreements are expected. We want to say we respect the opinion of those members, as well.
We have received many questions related to the final vote count. Unfortunately, it is not a simple answer. At the end of the voting last Wednesday night it became evident the process was going to be long and arduous, so a decision was made to just get a count of how many ballots were actually cast. The result of that count showed that 314 ballots had been submitted, characterized as follows:
Hence, a correct counting of the 178 yellow ballots is absolutely critical to determine how many votes each candidate received and ultimately decide who the SFYS Directors will be. Just to be on the safe side, one of the members videotaped the count.
On Wednesday night, we were concerned with the efforts of some to control, influence, and derail the initiative of the Clubs and even directly attack directors of some of the Clubs that joined the initiative. The President properly addressed the problem. We accept disagreements as part of a democratic process, but it is inappropriate for any of the representatives of SFYS management, who has fiduciary responsibility in front of all members, to so forcefully side with any of the parties. We have drafted a letter that will be sent a letter to SFYS President voicing our concerns. And we will inform our members as soon as we know the final results of the February 24th vote.
Many of you may be wondering why the Club, along with other allied clubs, have taken the positions we have and offered an alternate Board of Directors. We also know that many are curious about what comes next, regardless of when a final vote count may come and what those related results may be.
SF Glens Evolution and the other SF Clubs essentially want five things:
1) Rules and regulations that is fair to and equal for all parties involved.
We want rules and regulations that are not twisted and adjusted to favor one particular club or two. Each Club has an important responsibility to its players, their families and its members to fulfill service obligations. When there is no clarity and no respect for rules, a Club cannot fulfill these responsibilities, and ultimately kids and families are adversely affected.
2) A fair and open process for field assignment.
Fields are an issue in San Francisco and field availability is critical for any club. All understand that we will never have as much access to public fields as we desire. Yet, it’s hard to accept that the same one club gets better access and choice, season after season, while the assignment process is conducted through “secret raffles” and subject to club/team penalties handed out without due process or objective review. Today, certain teams do not get more than one practice a week, and that one practice is on a quarter pitch. Why does another club get three practices a week, on half fields, and at the most convenient hours? This incongruity puts hundreds of kids at a disadvantage and is not in the spirit of sharing publically funded park space.
3) A youth league that drives many Clubs to develop elite players as opposed to driving players to just one elite club.
It is unacceptable that the SFYS website is populated by a multitude of direct and indirect advertisements for one club. SFYS is there to serve the entire youth soccer community. There should be promotion of no clubs or all clubs, equally. SFGE is lucky because our size helps us, but other smaller clubs need proper and fair visibility to continue to exist. We support the positions of these clubs. We want other clubs to be successful because we know it creates positive and fair competition, which is good for our kids, community, and youth soccer generally. And we desire for there to be elite soccer training opportunities—with top coaches and reasonable prices for all types of families—at many clubs throughout San Francisco and with equal and unbiased support from SFYS.
4) A League that is fair to both Competitive and Recreational players.
SFGE is probably the Club most passionate about this point. We have nearly equal numbers in our recreational and competitive programs. We care about all our players, and we want to make usre that all of them have the opportunity to play according to their level of commitment.
5) Open and transparent management with a code of ethical conduct.
We seek new standards of transparency within SFYS in order for all members to understand what is happening at all levels. Our goal would be to see Directors adhere to a clear and stated code of ethical conduct that we'd look to help establish within SFYS in the upcoming year.
Please understand that SF Glens Evolution and the other Clubs’ commitment to the above does not stop with our initiative at the AGM last week.
If we will end up having Directors on the SFYS Board, we will work with and through them to push for changes that benefit youth soccer in San Francisco. If not, we will continue to push in every way we can, during the year and into next year’s AGM, if we have to. This is our commitment to you.
Already we are seeing positive outcomes from our work. Our AGM initiative has brought together Clubs that were previously not working closely with one another, and we are now united under one common front and with a common goal—youth soccer programs that truly benefit all the soccer players within San Francisco.
We are also very proud of another result (and, sadly, not a small given so much frustration). After 5 years of being forced to beg for fields outside San Francisco after being denied ones close to home for arbitrary and ridiculous reasons, SF Park & Rec finally awarded our U14 Girls team a field permit in San Francisco, which will start with this Spring Season. We could not be happier for those girls and their families.
Please feel free to share with us your thoughts and provide us with your feedback. We are passionate and resolute, yet far from perfect, and we know that listening to the members of our community is the best way for us to keep improving things for all the kids and families that enjoy soccer in San Francisco.
SF Glens Evolution