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Youth soccer program beneficial to children, city

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Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 12:00 am

I'm writing in regards to the BOBS board's recent decision to no longer have the youth soccer program be affiliated with the California Youth Soccer Association.

What this means in the short term is that the youths of this town, effective immediately, will need to travel to a different city to play soccer. Long term — it's gone. The programs which generations of boys and girls have spent their young years enjoying — some going on to full-ride college scholarships, even the pros — is gone

This will affect boys and girls, ages 6 through 18, whether it's at the recreation level, the winter league level or the competitive level. This decision was made without input from coaches, parents or players.

I find this decision very troubling. As a coach for more than 15 years, I have coached boys, ages 6 to 18, at all three levels. Most of the players can barely afford to play in this town, and certainly will not be able travel out of town. What happens to them? What happens to all the youths who want to play soccer?

In this town, it's widely known that there's a gang problem. I believe that, as a community, we have the responsibility to have programs in place to steer these kids away from that life and offer a wholesome and healthy outlet for all children.

For anybody who questions this, I ask you to travel to any town within 40 miles of Lodi and see what a vibrant youth soccer program offers to a community. It not only strengthens the youths of the community, but if done correctly, it can have a positive economic impact as well.

In closing, I recently had a team of 17- and 18-year-old boys from both Lodi and Tokay high schools complete a spring season that ran from December through the beginning of April. The games took us from Elk Grove to Morgan Hill. As of now, this team cannot compete anymore because of the BOBS board decision.

I find this decision tragic for these boys, as well as the future of all the boys and girls of this town.

Mark Whittock

Head Coach

Lodi Earthquakes

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Kim Lee posted at 12:15 pm on Mon, Apr 22, 2013.

    Kim Lee Posts: 1798


    It is unbelievable that Lodi will not be involved in organized and competitive soccer. What a slap in the face to all the parents, kids and coaches that have put decades of sweat and hard work into building the Lodi soccer program for our youth. Soccer is a hugely popular sport and still growing leaps and bounds all over this country. Kids love soccer! What a shame, and a very bad decision, to take this healthy wholesome sport away from the youth of Lodi.

    On the other hand Elk Grove obviously recognizes the importance, popularity and financial benefits to embracing soccer.

    Mayor Davis said, "Elk Grove is a hotbed for soccer, with the largest youth soccer program in the entire United States."

    So what's wrong with us here in Lodi?

    Here's the Elk Grove article...


    ELK GROVE, Calif. - Several weeks after announcing a plan to build a new soccer-specific stadium, the city of Elk Grove has landed its first professional soccer team.

    Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis released a statement Monday morning welcoming the California Storm, Elk Grove's new women's professional team

    "I couldn't be more thrilled that the California Storm has decided to call Elk Grove home," said Davis. "Elk Grove is a hotbed for soccer, with the largest youth soccer program in the entire United States."

    "This is just the beginning," Davis continued. "The City of Elk Grove is actively pursuing land for a potential soccer stadium site while also negotiating a, 'Term Sheet' for the financing of a stadium. The next two to three months will be critical in our effort to house a Major League Soccer team in Elk Grove - serving the greater Sacramento region."


  • Joanne Bobin posted at 3:26 am on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Sounds like you are the kind of coach the kids in Lodi need, Mr. Paglia.

    When my son switched to basketball, he had a much better experience, although there was still a lot of favoritism as far as who got more time on the court.

    Parks & Rec play should be more about getting kids out and having fun, but it doesn't always turn out that way.

    I don't endorse the "everyone should get a trophy" philosophy at all, but there should be an outlet for kids who just want to have fun and other alternatives for those who are truly serious about having expertise in a sport and who are very competitive.

    I haven't seen that in Lodi at all.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 11:45 am on Fri, Apr 19, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2115

    P.S. As a coach I LOVE the players that needed more work. Why? Because seeing them get better, making plays and coming back asking if they can play for me again is better than ANY championship.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 11:43 am on Fri, Apr 19, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2115

    I am sorry your son had a bad experience with his coaches. Soccer is by far my first love in sports. The years I coached I made sure every player got to play at least half the game... IF they showed a desire to play. I have had one or two players that even when on the field didn't play (Including some that would stand and watch the play as it rolled by them), those players played less than half a game but I always gave them a chance to prove they WANTED to play AND talked with the parents as to why they weren't getting play time. I have also had "all-star" players who sat for half the game because their attitude was so bad.

    It is now baseball season and while this year I am not the head coach, in years past I have always looked at my job as a coach is to "Build the sport". That means teaching the players AND giving them experiences that make them want to come back next year. I know of a couple coaches who are so focused on the win that they sour several players a year to ever playing again. My oldest had one of them. More interested in how many championships they can win instead of how many ball players they can build.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 11:21 am on Fri, Apr 19, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    The couple of years that my son participated in Lodi soccer, HE got the message sooner than I did that he "need not apply."

    In the two seasons he "played," he probably got 3 minutes on the field, total, along with the other 2 players that were consistently marginalized.

    Unlike Elk Grove P&R, Lodi doesn't have a rule that gives equal time on the playing field to all team members, or at least, if the rule exists, it is not enforced.

    And then people jeer at the "trophy for everyone" self-esteem BS. Coaches working with players and giving them time on the field would be a more productive self-esteem builder.

    But Coach "Jones or Smith" would rather put player "Jones or Smith" along with his other buddies, on the field to be the stars.

  • Josh Morgan posted at 6:36 pm on Wed, Apr 17, 2013.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 542

    Doug, you obviously aren't familiar with the BOBS organization and what they've done for this community for years. Your reference to "Anglos" is offensive and discriminatory. Soccer has been fully supported by BOBS and the proof is in the number of kids who participate.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 5:34 pm on Wed, Apr 17, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 502

    And you would expect anything else from this group of nearly all Anglos to give soccer the same attention and great playing facilities they grant to those sports that attract the athletes from the popular sports whose parents can afford to pay the high cost of some of these high costs of some of these "leagues"?

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 1:32 pm on Wed, Apr 17, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2115

    The soccer program has been suffering for a while. The fields the kids play on are poor soccer fields (Salas) and there have been other issues as well, from stacked teams to ref's that don't know the rules (like the one that called offsides on OUR side of the field against us). Both my boys have decided the fall soccer league is not for them even though they love(d) soccer.

    Hopefully BOBS picks up a new league that holds a higher standard.


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