CASSA Soccer

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Fall 2019 Letter From the President

Posted on Friday, August 23, 2019

Hello CASSA families!

2019 has brought tremendous growth and change for our club thus far! Total player count is up to 90 compared to last year’s 72 (25% increase) and our volunteer coach staff count makes up 20 compared to last year’s 15 (33% increase)! We remain a small, but mighty organization and are heavily focused on forward thinking and continuous improvement regarding training opportunities, coach competency, and fields.  

As you can imagine, it takes a village to move the needle and achieve progress. Tryouts were challenging as we worked through new ways of advertising and spreading awareness of our club. We came VERY close to being able to fill a Boys U9 and Girls U11 team on top of the 6 we rostered, being just shy of 1-2 players each. Next year we anticipate tryout numbers to be even greater based on an increase in families, schools, and organizations in the surrounding communities knowing who we are and the competitive price value our club has to offer.

In addition to growth in numbers, the Board of Directors is more engaged and organized than we’ve ever been. We owe a great deal to our amazing coaches and team managers as well. You’ve all been pivotal in making things happen for CASSA and we simply could not function at this level without your unwavering commitment and loyalty.

This past June, Terry Gafurovic took over for Mandi Calati as Treasurer. Mindy Furtaw has filled in for me as Registrar so I can focus efforts within the community and continue to build relationships and create more opportunities for CASSA to grow. Dan Buchner transitioned to Vice President and Safety Coordinator, held previously by Tim Lett, and Adam Petty stepped in as Coach and Field Administrator. We also welcomed Shannon Smith as our new Purchaser! Many of these individuals, including myself, serve dual roles within CASSA and efforts to keep the wheels turning for our club and our teams is greatly appreciated! Mandi and Tim served CASSA whole-heartedly and will be greatly missed!!!

Our club staff has been amazing to work with thus far and those who have recently joined the Board have picked up on their roles and responsibilities quickly and seamlessly! Team managers like Liz Grice, Stacy Shotko, Jen Alstead, and Jill Carnes also took on an incredible amount of work throughout 2019 by first and foremost keeping their teams organized and helping to setup various fundraising events, leveraging relationships to obtain tournament discounts, volunteering at CASSA sponsored camps, etc. The list goes on. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO FOR US AND FOR CONTINUOULSY ADVOCATING FOR CASSA!

In the words of our U14 Boys Premier team coach, Matt Johnson, “The Beautiful Game is just that…. it’s beautiful for many different reasons and each player, coach and family plays for different reasons.  But it tends to be a common outcome…It stirs something inside!” I think we can all agree youth soccer is an exceptional experience!

Here are a few reminders for the upcoming Fall season!

Sponsorships and Fundraising: For those who are new to our club, fundraising is vital to everything we do to help keep costs low and provide the best opportunities possible for our athletes. From Story’s sub sales and candy bars to the more recent car washes and Biggby cards, these are efforts that take quite a bit of work from our families and players and every little bit counts! Our Club is fortunate enough to have been offered use of Cedar Springs School District property back in the Fall of 2016 when our ties with Boomer and AYSO were dissolved due to legal reasons outside of our control. To ensure our teams have a "home" to play soccer, CASSA continues to focus on raising additional funds to secure fields of our own. If you know of any businesses who would be willing to contribute fundraising or sponsorship dollars for these efforts, please let us know. We’re also interested in meeting with anyone who may know more details about suitable land options or who can assist with leveraging relationships within the community to advocate for CASSA field space elsewhere. CASSA has been going 20 years strong and we only plan to continue to grow and keep youth soccer alive in the community!!

Field Setup and Painting: Thank you to our parent volunteers and coaches for ensuring our fields are painted and looking great all season! The Fall 2019 practice and field painting schedule has been shared out and we ask that teams coordinate their own volunteers for their assigned painting nights. All marking and painting has been done as of early this week for all three of our fields. It takes about 2 hours per field and we were able to get everything done in one night so props to Dan, Adam, Eric, and Rachelle for coming out and helping with the grunt work!

Field Improvements and Scheduling: Our Board of Directors is working with CSPS on ways we can improve for the Fall season (rolling, filling, aerating, etc.). Please know we are doing everything we can to enhance our shared fields and create the best environment we can for our families and athletes.

Code of Conduct and GVSA Respect Campaign: We all have a responsibility to promote high standards. One of the biggest issues within GVSA is the behavior in and around the game. This includes the abuse of match officials and the unacceptable behavior of over competitive parents, spectators and coaches on the sideline. We ask our coaches to play their part and observe GVSA’s Respect Code of Conduct in everything they do. To guide behavior at all game sites, practices and other GVSA soccer events, a specific Respect Code of Conduct for the League, Clubs, Spectators/Parents, Players, Coaches and Referees is strictly enforced by GVSA and GVSOA and are part of GVSA and GVSOA’s bylaws and game day procedures. Each season we are given a score and our number keeps climbing!

Pilot Mentor Program: Alyssa Balcam from the U13 Girls team has been nominated to shadow Rachelle Barker, head coach for the U9 girls. Objectives of this pilot program are to allow a chosen CASSA athlete who demonstrates strong leadership qualities to partner up with a suitable coach for the duration of the season to help with practice setup, learn coaching best practices, help with technical instruction and demonstration with the long term goal of eventually setting up and leading a practice of their own. School work comes first, and Alyssa will begin helping Rachelle once per week with the option to expand to both practice nights as well as league matches as scheduling allows. We’re looking forward to seeing this program grow and be offered to more athletes next year! Any other ideas you have feel free to send my way!

Coaching Licenses: Shout out to Matt Johnson, U14 Boys Premier Head Coach, for recently obtaining his US Soccer D License!! This is a HUGE UHccomplishment for Matt and for CASSA! The 40-45-hour course consists of two meetings separated by a development period requiring ~20-25 hours each week of homework. The total course duration is 2 months – 3 days onsite, 6-8 weeks at home with assignments and mentoring, followed by another 2 days onsite. As the next step above the “E” license, this course facilitates the improvement of coaches in the Six Tasks of a Coach across all four game models (4v4, 7v7, 9v9, 11v11) with an emphasis on Coaching Training Sessions. In addition to Matt’s certification, all coaches from the 2018-2019 season including Dustin Ingersoll, Adam Petty, Chuck Carnes, and Jason Grant have all received their 9v9 and 11v11 coaching licenses through the US Soccer Grassroots program. Congrats to all of our coaches!!!     

NEW Safety Requirement: US Soccer now requires its Organization Members, including MSYSA and GVSA, to adopt and be fully compliant with the Core SafeSport Training. This program was developed to implement policies and processes to help participants detect and report abuse, respond to it, and prevent future occurrences. It applies to anyone affiliated with the club ages 18+, including board members, club reps, assistant coaches, team managers, and referees. CASSA will ensure all applicable covered adults complete this training.

Fall Tournament: All of our SELECT teams will be traveling to Boyne Falls first weekend of October for the Soktoberfest tournament! If you’re able to attend games of other teams to show your support, we can try and coordinate a game schedule for all teams ahead of time. Attending this tournament means we will not be in town for the Red Flannel Festival. This may be the first time this has happened! We will not plan to organize a float this year. Let’s look forward to trying that again in 2020!

Open Board of Director’s positions: Each board position has a 2-year term with a 3-consecutive term year limit (6).

  • Director of Coaching       Open
  • Fundraising Coord.          Open

Thanks again for everything you do for your athletes and for CASSA!!


Mia Goeddeke, 

CASSA President