We are writing to you today with an urgent request for your support and a call to action. This will be the most important email you receive from us this year, please take your time to read it in its entirety.
As most of you know, Major League Soccer is coming to Orlando! We are all very excited and we are looking forward to supporting MLS in Orlando.
What you may not know is that Orlando City Soccer, the team that will be playing MLS in Orlando, was given $40 Million of tax payer dollars to fund the construction of their $80 million Stadium. In return for the $40 Million, Orlando City Soccer was directed by the Board of County Commissioners of Orange County to “invest additional funds to create new soccer related opportunities for Orange County Youth.”
Orlando City Soccer has issued a proposal that is going to the Orange County Commission for vote on March 11th. The contents of the Orlando City Soccer Proposal are of grave concern to ACYS Soccer Club and the other Clubs located in Central Florida.
The Orlando City Soccer proposal to Orange County Includes:
Partnership with Orange County Schools to run Orlando City Youth Soccer programs for Orange County School students
Free soccer to qualifying (those on free and reduced lunch) Orange County youths aged 5-9 but only valid for play in Orlando City Youth Soccer programs
$25,000 of annual soccer scholarships for Orange County youths, but only if they play in Orlando City Youth Soccer programs
Funding towards 14 new soccer fields in Orange County, with the understanding that Orlando City Youth Soccer will have scheduling priority during prime playing times (Tuesday/Thursday/Friday 5-7pm and Saturday) for the programs listed above to be provided by Orlando City Youth Soccer
In an unprecedented step, 8 local soccer clubs have agreed to work together to provide an alternative proposal to Orange County, and have formed the Central Florida Youth Soccer Coalition (the “Coalition”) to work together for the common good of all clubs and youths in Central Florida. Please review the Coalition’s website to learn more: http://centralfloridayouthsoccercoalition.com/Welcome.html
The Orlando City Soccer proposal is effectively funded by the tax dollars given to Orlando City Soccer. While development of these programs is seen as beneficial by the Coalition, the implementation as outlined above strictly benefits one private, for-profit organization. The Coalition’s specific concerns are:
A Request For Proposal (RFP) has not been issued by Orange County, which is typically required when tax dollars are allocated to private, for-profit companies in exchange for contracted services.
No opportunity or consideration is being given to the non-profit soccer clubs that have existed in central Florida for over 40 years to participate in providing these programs.
The proposed fields that Orlando City Soccer is requesting to have priority scheduling on are within 15 miles of existing clubs’ home fields and outside of the 15 mile radius of Orlando City Youth Soccer. Florida Youth Soccer Association, our governing body, has bylaws that prohibit clubs from operating outside of 15 miles of their home field and that prohibit clubs from encroaching within the 15 mile radius of existing clubs.
The proposed soccer scholarships should be available to qualifying Orange County residents to use with any club of the recipients choice in Orange County, instead of being available only if the child plays with OCYS.
Use of the 14 proposed fields for Orlando City Soccer to run these programs is not needed and in fact makes no sense. Children that qualify for these programs are underprivileged and will be unable to travel to a remote field away from school to play during the 5-7pm evening hours. These programs, if implemented, should be held on school grounds and existing clubs within 15 miles of the schools should be given the opportunity to provide these programs.
Orlando City Soccer’s proposal shuts out existing clubs, creates a monopoly, and infringes upon the 15 mile radius of every Central Florida soccer club in violation of FYSA rules.
The Coalition wants to support MLS soccer, and wants it to succeed. In fact, the Coalition knows that Orlando City Soccer chose Orlando as its home due to the rich soccer history and vibrant soccer community, a soccer community that has been created and fostered since 1971 by the clubs in the Coalition. MLS needs the soccer community’s support to succeed, and with the Coalition’s support we can ensure that MLS does succeed in Orlando.
Together, the Coalition has over 8,000 children in our programs giving us a reach to potentially 24,000+ MLS soccer fans. However, the Coalition cannot support Orlando City Soccer if the Orlando City Soccer proposal as outlined above is accepted by Orange County. The Coalition strongly believes that the proposal by Orlando City Soccer directly jeopardizes the existence of our Clubs and that it will adversely affect youth soccer in Central Florida.
ACYS Soccer Club and the Coalition is asking you to support us in this critical matter. We are currently working on an alternant proposal to present to the Board of County Commissioners of Orange County. The alternant proposal will be one that is fair to ALL clubs in Central Florida and will ensure the support of the local soccer community for Orlando City Soccer that it so desperately needs to succeed.
If you agree with our position, we urge you to send the below letter to EVERY Orange County Commissioner via email. The hearing was originally set for March 23, but upon hearing that the Coalition has been formed to speak out, Orlando City Soccer has had the item moved up to the agenda on March 11.
Please send the letter set forth below by email to each of the following:
Dear Esteemed Orange County Mayor and Commissioners:
My name is [Enter Your Name]. My child participates in Youth Soccer with ACYS Soccer Club. We are excited that the County Board of Commissioners has helped bring MLS soccer to Orlando. However. I must voice my opposition to the proposal going before the Commissioners on March 11th by Orlando City Soccer.
Orlando City Soccer chose Orlando as its home due to the rich soccer history and vibrant soccer community, a soccer community that exists thanks in part to my child’s club. The proposal by Orlando City Soccer shuts out my child’s club from participating in these programs, creates a monopoly with Orlando City Youth Soccer Club, threatens every youth soccer club in Central Florida, and is in violation of Florida Youth Soccer Association bylaws in that it places Orlando City Youth Soccer programs inside of my child’s club’s protected 15 mile radius.
I am also gravely concerned with what appears to be taxpayer dollars funding programs for the sole benefit of a private commercial company without the issuance of an RFP, or any opportunity for other Orange County Youth Soccer clubs to participate.
I want to proudly support our MLS team and attend matches at the new stadium. However, it saddens me to say that if you accept the proposal that Orlando City Soccer is presenting, I cannot in good conscious support the Orlando City Soccer MLS team and I will be re-evaluating my voting position in the next Orange County Board of County Commissioners’ election.
ACYS RECREATIONAL SOCCER SPRING 2014 MANDATORYCOACHES MEETING
SATURDAY, MARCH 8TH @ 8:00AM- 9:00AM
@ TROTTERS PARK
This Saturday, March 8th, is the spring Mandatory Coaches meeting for ACYS soccer coaches. The meeting will be held bright and early at 8:00am until 9:00am at Trotters Park, specifically the Matinee Club (just inside the Trotters Entrance to the right, small beige building). We expect all coaches to attend. A continental style breakfast will be served with fresh pastries, fruit, juice and coffee.
Our special guest speaker will be Steve Crane, former professional English soccer player, National "A" licensed soccer coach and current Spirit United Girls Director of Coaching and U12 / U16 girls team coach. Steve will share his unique expertise and insight into coaching. We will distribute game schedules and other coaching resources at the meeting. Immediately following the meeting at 9:00am we will be holding two different FREE coaching clinics. The first course is a U5-U8 module from 9:00am until 12noon presented by FYSA (Florida Youth Soccer Association). Each coach receives a certificate upon completion of the module which gives great insight and instruction on how to properly coach these specific age groups. You will be surprised what you learn!
Secondly, one of our own Spirit United coaches will put on a clinic for all coaches U9-U12 from 9:00am until 11:00am. This is a perfect opportunity to see how professionals run their practices and why they do what they do. Do miss this great opportunity to take your team to the next level.
All participants interested in staying for the clinics must register prior to Thursday. Space for the U5-U8 module is limited and only 11 slots remain. They will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. Please call the ACYS office to register and reserve you spot at the clinics.
Congratulations to Coach Jordan and the U9 Boys Gold team on their Championship win at the Weston Cup and Showcase this past weekend. They went 5-0-0 against some tough competition scoring 24 goals and conceding 9... They beat Miami Springs in the final 3-2 to win the Championship title. Way to go boys!
Exciting News....Spirit United now has Street Soccer
Spirit United is proud to announce that beginning March 2014. Children need the opportunity to play, be creative and interact with their peers on their own terms. This exciting opportunity is for age groups U7-U14 and will run throughout March, April and May. “Street” Soccer will be held on Friday evenings at Trotters Park from 5:30pm-7:00pm. A minimum of 6 players in each age group is required in order to begin the program. Each Friday night will begin promptly with a 15 minute warm-up and fitness session and then the players are free to explore their creativity of the game. There is a $25 monthly fee for players and a uniform/registration fee of $50.00. Register TODAY if you are interested in becoming part of this innovative opportunity. The FIRST “Street” soccer session is on Friday, March 7th.
You do not need to be an ACYS Spirit United Soccer Player to participate. Players will be registered under US Club Soccer and anyone is welcome to join us!
There's no secret that practice makes perfect. The Spirit United personal training program focuses on technical and tactical areas which accelerate player’s improvement faster than just attending regular practices alone. Personal training give coaches more opportunities to correct technical mistakes and help your child understand where and how these techniques can be implemented in a game situation. Whether you are just looking for general development or to prepare for the upcoming 2013/2014 season; personal training with the Spirit United will improve both your child’s confidence and their game. Personal training sessions are available in individual (1-on-1), small group (4-6 players max) and team (4-12 players max) environments.