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Please join us in congratulating Adam Neylon and Daniel Nogueira on their new roles with PSU!
Adam Neylon fills a new position with us as our
Recreational and Juniors Director.
As a long-time soccer fan, Adam has served on PSU’s board for two years and now brings all his expertise to our Recreational and Juniors programs. Adam’s ideas and energy are top notch, and we’re ecstatic he has stepped into this key role on the PSU team.
After doing a wonderful job coaching our 10U Red and Black Academy teams, Daniel Nogueira steps in as our Academy Director.
Daniel joined us at the start of the season and will now bring his expertise to our entire Academy program. Along with overseeing our Academy program, Daniel will also manage our fields and our Player Excellence program. We didn’t think it was possible, but with Daniel’s many years in youth soccer, his degree in Business Organization Management, and the way he effectively juggles his added responsibilities, we’re even more thrilled to have him on our team.
Kicking into Spring with Thanks
By Joe Ulm
Wow do I ever love the first weekend of the season. From our Juniors teams to our High School teams, we’ll play over 50 soccer games this weekend! How fun is that? PSC and Armory Park will be full of close calls, near misses, great victories, lessons learned, and maybe even a few memories that will last for years to come. This is what it’s all about; watching our kids play, cheering them on, watching them grow, and doing it all with friends and family.
Like many of you, I’ll be running from one game to the next both Saturday and Sunday, but I’ll make as many games as I can. If I’m at one of your games, please don’t hesitate to say “hi” because as many of you know, I really enjoy the sideline conversations with all of you. To me, they’re a big part of the fun.
And to every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, and neighbor…thank you so much all for all you do. From the time spent driving to and from practices, to getting uniforms ready and everything in between, you are what makes all this possible. Thank you.
Good luck to all our teams this weekend.
Go get ‘em PSU! Together. United.
Social Implications of Success
By Joe Ulm
I had an interesting conversation with a friend over lunch this week. It went something like this:
Friend: “When my daughter knows she’s one of the best in her group at a game, task, sport, etc. she shines. She acts with confidence, doesn’t worry about making mistakes, and just has fun. But when she perceives others in the group are better than her, she acts small – worrying about mistakes, what other people in the group will think of her, etc. If she just did her thing and didn’t worry about mistakes or what others with think of her, then she would get better quickly – and maybe even be one of the best in the group in time.”
Me: “Is the group judgmental? Does she get teased or picked on if she makes a mistake?”
Friend: “No, not at all. It’s a great group of girls – supportive, encouraging – all that. I think she just worries about what they’ll think, mostly.”
The conversation got me thinking about how this applies to our players. As parents, we know how powerful friends and social influences can be on our kids – after all, we were kids once, too. The difference here is that we have the opportunity to use what we learned to create an environment where social pressure means players are encouraged to work hard to achieve their goals, and where failure is both expected and supported. Because failure is how we learn and grow; it’s how we become successful.
Creating this type of environment isn’t easy. It will take more than club leaders and coaches – it’ll take all of us encouraging and supporting our kids. At home. On the field. Together. United.
Where's the Referee?
By Joe Ulm
Here’s the problem: there aren’t enough referees. And I can tell you with 100% certainty that it’s not for lack of organization or effort. People are working hard, providing opportunities, spreading the word, and encouraging kids to become referees. Oh, and the pay is good, too. Yet, here we are. Again. Without enough referees. How can that be?
As it turns out, there is a simple answer to that question – because it’s not worth it.
It’s not worth it to have coaches tell you all the calls you missed; or to have parents berate you at maximum volume in front of 20, 30, or 50 people. More. It’s not worth having your knowledge questioned publicly – or your abilities, or your general intelligence, and so on. Worse yet, sometimes they’re correct; parents and coaches, with their loud, sideline voices. For all to hear. You made 25 correct calls before that, but yeah, you missed that one and that’s not allowed. Perfection or failure, nothing else. That’s how everyone’s judged at their jobs, right?
Being a referee isn’t worth it to many players because this is the culture we’ve accepted. Somehow, we’ve all decided it’s okay to act like this. As if standing on the sideline watching our son or daughter play soccer gives us a divine right to publicly judge someone else’s son or daughter. After all, we’re the adults – we’re the ones who teach our kids the important things…like respect and how to treat others.
If you want referees at your son or daughter’s game then we need to create a different culture. One in which we encourage and support instead of criticizing – even when the bad call happens. Even when it happens again. Because we don’t get both the right to judge AND plenty of great referees. We get one or the other. Which is most important to you?
Stay United, everyone.
By Joe Ulm
For many of our Select and Academy players, the spring season starts next week. I love the start of the both fall and spring seasons, however the start of a new season also means schedules, rosters, coaches, equipment and, of course, our fields, need to be ready to go. Last week I wrote about how Eli Rades, Soli Kothari, and Sam Deibert had done an amazing job preparing the fields for the season. However, there are two other groups who do work on the fields; work that’s essential for us to play soccer: The Village of Sussex and City of Pewaukee Parks Maintenance teams.
The effort these people put into the fields goes mostly unseen, yet the work required to maintain the fields is extensive. Mowing, weed control, fertilization, aeration, and watering, are just the start. With over 700 players in the club, each spending an average of 80 hours of time on the fields each year, our players put the fields through about 56,000 hours of cleat-pounding wear and tear every year! And that means the fields require constant maintenance. Yet, Armory Park is always in great shape and the condition of the fields at PSC continues to improve by huge leaps each season. That’s pretty amazing if you ask me.
So if you run across Thom Berres at Armory Park – or if you run across Dan Neubauer at PSC (or any of their team members), consider thanking them for all the work they do. Because it’s their effort that makes what we do, possible. And, of course, it’s another great way for all of us to stay United.
Stay United, everyone.
Who's the Mentor?
By Joe Ulm
I’m 50 years old – or, as my son reminded me the other day I’m “half way to a hundred.” Half way to a hundred, indeed. The thing about being half way to a hundred is that I’ve learned things over those years; things I want to share with younger people so they can avoid some of the pain I endured learning those lessons, so they get a head start on life, so they learn fundamentals of success. It means I’ve become “that guy” – you know, the guy who can turn any discussion with younger people into a lesson (these people are more commonly called “dads,” but that’s a topic for another day. ). All joking aside, this idea of sharing knowledge with younger people is how our I-Mentor program started. This spring, three of our I-Mentor players accepted roles as Field Assistants which means I’m their mentor. I was so excited to dive in.
Now before I turn this story on it’s head, it’s important to know that our I-Mentor program is hard. Players are asked to create solutions to difficult problems, meet challenging timelines, communicate at a professional level, be a role model for other players, oversee projects, etc. In fact, it’s expected that players will fail at a number of tasks throughout the program. They’ll be supported by their mentor throughout, but in the end, they’ll do the work – they’ll be the ones to make it happen. It’s with this approach in mind, that I asked Soli Kothari, Sam Diebert, and Eli Rades to develop the plan for our fields this spring. Here’s what they were asked to do:
- Create a schedule for every field to so they’d all be prepared and ready for team practices by 4/9.
- Define what “prepared” means – for both practices and for games.
- Develop a checklist and process for how we prepare fields.
- Create an inventory of all the field equipment we have.
- Estimate how much paint we expect to use for lining the fields this spring.
- Develop calculations for paint usage by field size that can be used for this spring AND for future seasons.
- Create a schedule for checking the fields when it rains (for both practices and games), and develop a checklist for how it’s done.
- Create a plan for Wagner park. The plan needed to include a new way to use the park – something we’ve never tried before.
That conversation occurred on March 16th. Our next meeting was on March 24th which meant they had just 8 days to complete all of it. 8 days that are full of school work and other obligations. Just 8 days. If you have kids in High School you know how busy they are; how many obligations they have. How little time they have. Still, I gave them the list stoically, leaving them with no excuse for not having it done. I hung up the phone wondering if I gave them too much; wondering if I asked too much so soon. I assuaged my concern by reminding myself that challenges like this was what the program was about. Besides, I had most of the work done already; work I was ready to use as a teaching tool, you know, because I’m the mentor and all. What I received from them changed everything.
Not only was every task done, but it was all written clearly, color-coded, created using the right tools, and shared with me 15 minutes before our meeting started. On top of all that, they walked me through everything professionally, sharing their thought process along the way and detailing various options that may be worth consideration in the future. Oh, let’s not forget that most of the fields were prepared already, as well. Weeks ahead of time. I was amazed. I wasn’t amazed because I thought they couldn’t do the work, but my gosh…the degree of professionalism they showed and the critical thinking they employed in the process was… better than I’ve seen some people do who are twice their age!
In the end, I did have some suggestions; some ideas I could share with them, things I hope they found helpful. But there’s no question that some of their ideas were better than mine. Some of what they presented taught me. I firmly believe there is a ton we can learn from younger generations – I just didn’t expect it so soon.
Half way to a hundred, yes, but also with plenty still to learn, apparently. Even from those whom I mentor. Soli, Sam, and Eli – thanks guys. Thanks for letting me be your mentor – and thanks for mentoring me – it means a lot. Together. United.
Stay United, everyone.
The Changing Landscape of Youth Soccer
By Joe Ulm
Over the past two weeks, two events have caused a shift in the youth soccer landscape in South East Wisconsin.
The first occurred a couple of weeks ago, when two respected clubs – Bavarians and Inter North Shore – announced their merger. The second occurred just a few days ago when one of the Kickers affiliate clubs, Germantown soccer club, announced they were leaving Kickers to join The Wave.
From a personal standpoint, I wish all four clubs the best and brightest future. After all, we’re all part of a larger community to serve the kids in our clubs, the families, and our communities.
However, if you’re not deeply involved with the youth soccer community on a daily basis, this news may come as a surprise. Yet, recent history of youth soccer in this area tells us it’s an absence of mergers that would be surprising.
Over the past 10 years we’ve seen over a dozen mergers and acquisitions take place in SE WI. Strike has acquired and / or merged with Oconomowoc and Wales soccer clubs. Brookfield and Elm Grove merged to become Elmbrook United, and The Wave has acquired Greendale, New Berlin, Walworth, and now, Germantown. And let’s not forget that just 9 years ago, Pewaukee and Sussex came together to create the club we are today.
So these mergers and acquisitions aren’t surprising. In fact, in many ways, they’re required. It’s how soccer clubs work.
The good news is that we’re prepared for these changes – and have been prepared for them for some time. In fact, we’ve already made over a dozen changes to make sure our club will be healthy, vibrant, and strong for years to come.
We’ll be sharing these changes during our annual member meeting on March 23rd. Please consider joining us. Because there’s nothing we can’t accomplish together. United.
Stay United, everyone.