Responding To Change

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”   – John C. Maxwell

Responding to Change

      I believe we can be more than just a soccer club; that we can provide a positive, meaningful, lifelong impact on kids. By now, that’s no secret. It’s also no secret that I believe our players will be more successful on the soccer field and in other areas of their lives as we continue to transform our club in this way. Yet, even though there’s a growing body of evidence that supports that belief, making it a reality won’t be easy. How do I know? Because it will require change.

    Change is interesting for lots of reasons. It can create a greater good or it can make things worse; it can disrupt and destroy or it can innovate and empower. In fact, there’s not much change can’t do – except one thing – it can’t take away our ability to choose. Whatever change brings us, we can always choose how to respond. That’s particularly relevant to me now because November is when we start looking at how we can improve things for spring and next fall. Now is when we start making decisions on what to change. And all of you will have the ability to choose your response.

    One of those changes is what you’re reading right now. Each Monday, you’ll receive an article from me on a variety of topics: what’s happening around the club, news in the soccer community, new ideas we’re considering, and yes, upcoming changes, as well. So please keep an eye out for it, and if you’re so inclined, read through it from time to time. Because many of the changes we’ve made over the past six months have started from ideas you’ve provided and from changes you’ve suggested. We hope we’ve responded in a way that makes you proud to call our club home. And we’ll work hard to keep it that way because as you know… we’re stronger together. United.

Joe Ulm
President
Pewaukee Sussex United

Message From President Joe Ulm

 
This past weekend closed out what was one of the most unique and challenging fall seasons in Club history. COVID-19 created a situation none of us have faced before, and it fundamentally changed the way we experienced the game. Social distancing made its way to the sidelines, face masks became the norm, and we all grew familiar with contact-tracing forms. Through it all, players competed in front of cheering parents every Saturday and the sounds of soccer filled the sport complex week after week. Yet, if you listen closely, you’ll hear another sound just beneath the soccer; a sound that becomes obvious once you’re listening for it, and it might just be more important than soccer.

See, the sports complex is much more than just a place for soccer. It’s the place where conversations between neighbors happen, where siblings play, where Saturday evening plans are made, and where new friendships are born. But most of all, it’s where we come together as a club, where we all unite behind red and black, and where everyone is a little less of a stranger. Because if there’s one thing COVID has taught us over these past months, it’s that coming together isn’t just important, it’s necessary

So as our 2020 fall season transitions from new possibilities to memories past, I can’t help but feel a little sad that it’s come to an end; that there isn’t just one more Saturday of kids and soccer and sideline conversations this fall. But here we are in November. Already. We made it through the season, and for that alone, there is a reason to celebrate. But as wonderful as that may be, it gets even better than that. 

In the midst of a pandemic, we’ve grown by 7% while across the state soccer clubs are down 20% on average. That’s a remarkable difference, but even more remarkable is why it’s happening. I believe the answer lies in those sounds that live beneath the voices of our coaches and our players, and the soccer we all enjoy each Saturday. It’s the laughs between friends and neighbors, the conversations between kids, and the plans we make to enjoy time together – that’s why we’re growing. Because those sounds aren’t just the sounds of social plans. They’re the sounds of community, of people sharing, of people growing. And those sounds are making a difference. I can’t thank you enough.

Yes, the fall season is behind us, but our winter season is right around the corner, and even more, we have a world of opportunity in front of us. We’ve started the dialog about focusing on the players and we’ve challenged the status quo of what a soccer club can be. We will continue to innovate, and we will relentlessly pursue the goal of helping our players find success in all areas of their lives. Because we believe in it. Because it’s the right thing to do.

So as we close the chapter on our fall season, we also look forward to the next time we can come together as a club and as a community; to those precious Saturdays that are about soccer and so much more. Those are what creates change – familiar conversations, old friends, sudden smiles, the joy of victory, and the lessons learned from defeat. And it only happens when we do it together. United. 

Joe Ulm
President
Pewaukee Sussex United

Coach Spotlight: Brad Blicharz

Coach Spotlight this week is featuring Brad Blicharz! Get to know all about his soccer journey and why he loves to coach. 

1) Why do you coach soccer? 

My coaching career started off as something for me to do to stay involved in the game.  It quickly became much more than that.  Seeing the youth players have as much fun as I’ve had in my youth and providing a high level and positive learning environment was the true purpose.  I’m still amazed at what these kids can do now and equally amazed seeing some former players, now playing on older teams, in what they have accomplished.

2) Tell us about your soccer career/journey. 

I started playing in 1984 and played recreationally for 4 years. Then, I transitioned to select in 1988 and played select through 1997 and played all 4 years of high school at Waukesha North (1994-1997).  My coaching career started in 1998 and after that first year (which I was an assistant coach), I knew I wanted to do this for as long as I’m able.

3) What is one goal you have for PSU players? 

Youth players need to learn that it is ok to make mistakes.  Every time we have success, it came from trying countless times before that.  It’s that effort, and bravery, to try something new and keep trying until you find that success.

4) What is something soccer has taught you? 

Soccer is a fantastic sport.  From increasing my ability to multi-task, read ahead of things to accurately predict an outcome, and team building.  These are just a few things the beautiful game has taught me.  The best lesson though, is to always keep trying and have fun doing it.

5) What is your favorite soccer team? 

So many teams come to mind: Seattle Sounders, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, Celtic FC…  All fun teams to watch.  I’m taking more interest in lower level leagues in the US and find them equally entertaining.  I am a passionate supporter of Forward Madison FC!

6) How has soccer positively affected your life? 

To me, soccer is life.  It’s entertainment. It’s community building. At times, it can be a form of meditation while juggling.  Soccer has introduced me to some many awesome people and have been a great influence on how to be as a person.  Being a supporter of pro and semi-pro clubs in our area has also got me more involved with communities that are influenced by those team.

Player Spotlight: Aidanne Kahl

AidanneKahlPSU

This week we are featuring Aidanne Kahl. Aidanne plays for the girls 10U Hurricanes. She absolutely loves having all of her family in he stands cheering her on.

1. Why do you play?

I play because soccer is a fun way to spend time with my friends.

2. What does soccer mean to you?

Soccer is my favorite extracurricular activity.  I don’t really play any other sports; soccer is it, and I love it.

 3. Who has inspired you during your soccer career?

My mom inspires me because she has been my coach or assistant coach every season I’ve played so far. 

4. What age were you when you started to play?

I was 6 years old when I start playing soccer.

5. Who do you love to see watching you play from the stands? 

I love seeing my brother, my sister, my dad, my grandma and grandpa, and my mom watching me from the sidelines.

Player Spotlight: Eli Betz

This week we are featuring Eli Betz. Eli started playing soccer when he was super young and continues to improve every year! 

  1. Why do you play? 

 I play soccer because I enjoy playing and learning the game with my friends.

     2. What does soccer mean to you?

  Soccer to me is a game that I love to play and always have fun with especially my friends.

3. What age were you when you started to play?

  I started playing in my backyard when I was really little around age 2 and then started playing micros at age 4 and have played ever since!

4. How do your teammates make practice more fun?

  My teammates make practice more fun because they have become my friends over the years and we enjoy kicking the ball around and even being silly sometimes. The time to just scrimmage each other at the beginning of practice is my favorite.

Who do you love to see watching you from the sidelines? 

I love to see my family watching me from the sidelines. ALL OF THEM!

Player Spotlight: Lana Flammang

Get to know Lana! She is a fourth grader on our 12U Thunder. 

1. Why do you play? 

  Because it is fun, great exercise and I like to be part of a team.  
 
2. What does soccer mean to you? 
I am fairly new to soccer and have a lot to learn.  I am looking forward to the challenge and gaining new knowledge and skills.
 

3. What was your ultimate achievement in soccer? 

Kicking with my left foot is improving.
 

4.  Who has inspired you during your soccer career? 

  My dad.  He started playing soccer in high school and continued in college.  He has provided great tips for playing the game.

5. What do you do after a win? 

  I like to cheer and am very happy.  Normally I like to give my teammates high fives and maybe a quick hug… unfortunately, not so much this year.  
 

6. What age were you when you started to play? 

Age 6 –  I took a soccer class through Sussex Parks & Rec. Then I took some time off to try other activities.  Last year, I tried Upward soccer and wanted to continue with the sport.  This is my 1st year with PSU.
 

7. How do your teammates make practice more fun? 

  I am one of the younger players on the team.  My older teammates are wonderful!  They are nice and work with me.  I really appreciate it when they provide direction and coaching on the field.  I have learned so much from them as well as my coaches.
 
7. Who do you love to see watching you play from the stands? 
My mom and dad.

Coach Spotlight: Matt Sheeley

Get to know 13U girls red team coach,  Matt Sheeley.

1) Why do you coach soccer?

      I coach soccer, first of all, because I love the game. I love watching, playing and coaching because the game itself can teach us a lot about life. I also enjoy coaching in general. Coaching people can be so rewarding in any environment. When someone you are coaching grasps a concept and betters themselves because of that, it is awesome to see. 

 

2) Tell us about your soccer career/journey.

      I didn’t start playing soccer until a later age. I started playing with my middle school team in the 5th grade. I never had the privilege to play with a club growing up so coaching this year is my first experience inside a soccer club. I played during high school and then in college for a small DIII school called Maranatha Baptist University. I started coaching my my senior year as an assistant coach of a high school team, and then as the head coach of MBU’s women’s team the year after. 

 

3) What is one goal you have for PSU players?

     To grow as individuals as much as they do as athletes. Soccer has a lot to teach outside of how to kick a ball into a net. 

 

4) What is something soccer has taught you?

      Patience and perseverance. 

 

5) What is your favorite soccer team?

      Sporting Kansas City

 

6) How has soccer positively affected your life?

      Soccer is the sport that I have met some of my closest friends in. My past college coach drastically changed the way I viewed the world as a whole even outside of soccer. I can honestly say if I hadn’t played college soccer, I would be a different person. 

 

19U Girls Update

Our 19U girls started off strong. After playing an amazing first half the team gave up too many goals and lost 5-3 to Waunakee. Grace H scored twice and Ella R scored once! 

Get to Know Player Ian McLean

Get to Know Player Ian McLean

Why do you play? I enjoy soccer a lot and being part of a team. 

What does soccer mean to you? Since we must communicate with each other it helps me to be more outgoing. It helps me with teamwork skills. 

Who has inspired you during your soccer career? Coach Ulm and teammates.

Who do you love to have watching you from the stands? I love it when my whole family is there to watch me.

19U Girls Team Update (9/22)

 

U19 girls lost 4-1 to Lakeshore. They were a good team that possesses the ball well. We played pretty good and created chances, just had one bad spell where we gave up 3 goals! We will be back  and better this week!

Kaelyn was amazing in goal again this week with some great saves.

The team now has 2 wins and 2 losses for the year. 

Check out the video above to learn more about Ally Davis and her time playing for PSU.