Don’t mess with the soccer Moms

Women’s soccer teams
Want time slots back.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  January 9, 2011  – A soccer Mom is someone you do not  want to tangle with and a soccer Mom that also plays soccer – well steer clear of her and for heaven’s sake don’t get into an argument.

The Burlington Youth Soccer Club management is about to learn that lesson – they have run afoul of the Burlington Woman’s Recreational Soccer League, a 120 member organization  that has been getting out on the soccer field for more than ten years, usually on Monday evenings and they are ticked because someone has taken their Monday night time slots – and they want them back.

The field on which this argument is taking place is at Sherwood Forest Park in the east end of the city.  Two domes are located in the park along with an a number of outdoor soccer pitches.  The facility is managed by the Burlington Youth Soccer Club (BYSC) who are responsible for allocating the time available.  The park is owned by the city; the domes were paid for by the city under an arrangement where they city created a debenture that the BYSC pays down each month.  The first dome proved to be very so successful that a second dome was erected.

The woman got into the habit pf playing their games on Monday nights and that worked for awhile but then things got out of whack and the woman found that their time slot was not longer available to them and they tried to work out a better arrangement with the BYSC but that got them nowhere.

The city parks staff got involved and that didn’t get as far as the woman wanted it to get – they just wanted their Monday night time slot back.  So they took their complaint to city council where everyone appeared before Community Services Committee.

Each side got up to tell their side of the story and the facts offered weren’t always the same.  The BYSC explained that the Burlington Soccer League had put up $100,000. of the cost of the first dome for which they got exclusive rights to 15 hours a week, Monday to Friday

The woman began to wonder if there wasn’t a bit of gender discrimination going on and so they had a lawyer send a letter – and whenever individual rights and the abuse of those rights gets thrown into the mix and a lawyer’s letter is added  – everyone sits up and pays attention.

Council members really didn’t want the problem on their hands but now that is was in front of them – they began asking questions.  The BYSC is going to wish that they had just given the woman what they wanted because now council wants to know what happens to all the money that is raised through rentals of the domed fields.  Mention was made of kick boxing events, rugby games and field hockey.  How much money is raised wondered Ward 5 council member Paul Sharman and he wanted staff to have an audit done on the agreement the BYSC has with the city.

When the manager of the Burlington Soccer League (these are the people that put up the $100,000 and in return got exclusive use of 15 hours of after 8 pm time five days a week) admitted that his League didn’t always use the time that was theirs and that they were then re-selling that time to other organizations the woman were crying foul and Sharman wanted to take a closer look at the books,

Matters weren’t helped when the manager of the Soccer League described himself as the “hired gun” for the League and then admitted that the Monday evening time slot in dome 2 was being used for pick up soccer games, other council members looked somewhat askance.

By the time all the council members had their say – it was evident that things weren’t running smoothly with BYSC but Council didn’t want to have to resolve the problem so they agreed to send it back to the Parks and Recreation staff with a clear direction to solve the problem.  Scott Stewart, General Manager, Community Services was described by Mayor Goldring as “the perfect guy with the perfect style” and given the task to clean up the mess.

The woman will get their time slot, auditors will take a closer look at the contract BYSC has with the city and, well you never know what you find when you open the books.  BYSC is described as an organization that spends more on staff then they do on uniforms and equipment for the youth playing soccer.  A staff of eight people run the organization that has a president earning in excess of $90,000 a year.

BYSC is the oldest not for profit soccer organization in Canada, established in 1962. The  BYSC today has over 7,900 male and female youth soccer players, ranging in age from U4 – U21, enrolled in numerous outdoor and indoor programs. It is run by a volunteer board.  Someone on that Board is going to ask why this situation got so out of hand that it got to city council and now the auditors are going to start asking all kinds of questions.

Score one for the Moms.

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