A Message From The New President of Mass Youth Soccer

By Skip Gorman, President, Mass Youth Soccer

Hi my name is Skip Gorman and I am the new President of Mass Youth Soccer.

Whoa — I am following a good man.

Just a little about who I am. I started out like most — my child could not play, because there was no coach for the team. I know none of you have heard that line before. So, I took the licensing courses through this group called Mass Youth Soccer Association. I gave up a few weeknights and weekends to earn my license so that I could coach my children.

I was the normal coach — working hard to train during the practice, then yelling instructions to players during the game. I did not remember that my own kids would not remember what I told them in one room by the time they passed to another.

After a few springs, they were in the U12 age group, a level that requires additional training on behalf of the coaches. I took the “D” course, during which the instructor talked about the simplicity of this game and reminded us that most of the players were there to have fun with their friends. I learned that I should stop yelling during a game — the game is the great teacher.

He suggested that we tape-record a game, then listen to it when we get home. I did.

The next week, I used a chair I had brought with me every game since I started, and simply sat in it from then on.

A friend of mine soon asked me to attend to a town meeting, because he needed me to vote for him, so I did. Next thing I knew, I was a member-at-large. After attending these monthly meetings for a year, I ran for President, because people were not happy with the current board.

I soon found myself attending monthly meetings for the travel league, South Shore Soccer League. After a few meetings, I was not sure thee board was in it for the right reason anymore — the kids. Within three years, I became President of SSSL.

This added another monthly meeting in Acton for the Leagues Committee of MYSA, a meeting that included all the league Presidents from across the state — the group that runs the Mass. Tournament Of Champions. I started attending these meetings and heard more complaints about MYSA and how things were done. The first year, I brought my wife and I went to the MTOC, a year in which it was held at a satellite location, about 15 minutes from Smith & Weston (the main site). There, I met Dave Coutts (Coastal) and Jack Warron (Essex), who had been doing this for a while.

That weekend, I learn more about MYSA and decided I want to be part of it. The following year, MTOC was back at UMass in Amherst, where I learned more about MYSA. We worked from sunrise to sunset and everyone had a good time — it was like a family. I told my wife, “I like this, and want to get more involved.”

During the fall of that year, the Chairman of the Leagues Committee resigned. People thought I would do a good job as Chairman of the Leagues Committee, so I said yes. I worked with a group of great people and it was only one additional meeting a month, plus the tournament. I ran for the position at the next MYSA AGM and was elected! So, now I had another meeting a month — bringing me up to five total, between the town and state levels.

That same year, the League Committee decided it was time for change within the MYSA board so they elected a new VP, Treasurer and myself as chairman. At this time, MYSA was run by Steve Keorper — the man that brought MYSA into the 21st century. Everyone acquired email addresses and we looked into buying land so that MYSA would have a home for all of MYSA events, and not be a the mercy of anyone else.

The search started in Fairhaven, then expanded to Lancaster. I remember the first time I walked the land in Lancaster … I thought it was a great idea, and I imagined the place leveled out, with soccer fields on it. I fully supported the idea.

Steve Keorper passed away. Ray Robinson then became President and brought in Sid Bloom to be his Vice President.

We had moved forward at this point to buy the land in Lancaster, the new home of MYSA. I remember many meetings trying to find ways to build fields. About a year went by, and Ray needed to step down as President for personnel reasons. Sid Bloom then became President and asked me to become his VP. I had to decide if I wanted to be VP and then someday, possibly President, of MYSA — the second-largest youth soccer association in the country. I talked to my wife about the commitment it would take and we decided that it was the right thing to do.

Sid and I talked almost every day about the state of MYSA. Over the next few years, we had some changes within the organization. We brought on a New Director of Coaching and Executive Director. A new Treasurer was elected.

Our focus then shifted to the fields. Sid and I went back and forth as to whether we could do this or not. Sid decided it was time to shake things up. He formed a new field committee, adding Paul Irwin to the group as the chairman. If not for Sid’s confidence in the board, office staff and the field committee group, we would not have our fields of dreams today.

I have had a great mentor in Sid. He took me to the USYSA meetings and the USSF meetings to meet people and see how it all works. Last year, I started to think about what it takes to be President of Mass Youth, both locally and at the national level. It takes about 30 days of travel to be at the events that would keep strengthing Mass Youth. So, I needed once again to talk to my wife about what it would take. Her comment back was to go for it, because it was a passion of mine.

I still coach, and hope to continue doing so along with my daughter, who will take more of the week-to-week responsibility. This is one of the great things that keeps me focused on why I do this — it’s the local eight-year-old who is hanging out with their friends on Saturday kicking a soccer ball, who has no idea who I am, that brings me back to earth every time I walk onto these fields that they play on.

I will continue to help MassYouth move forward during my time as President, by working with all who are part of Mass Youth Soccer to keep up with the changing youth soccer world. I hope to bring more small-sided soccer through the U12 age group, and continue to support new ideas that will help us remain a well-respected association throughout the region, and nationally.

We need to find more ways to help that eight-year-old learn who Mass Youth Soccer is. Remember, you are the largest part of the organization. I promise to listen to all ideas and try to help in what ever way I can.

I look forward to continuing the work that Sid, and those before him, started. The dedicated staff will help you in any way they can.

Please remember that we are the second-largest youth soccer organization in the country, and we are recognized internationally for our forward thinking. During the last week of July, we will be hosting the US Youth Soccer National Championships for U14- U19. Stop by the Lancaster site to see some great soccer.

Thank you!