Thanks to those of you who took time to fill out our survey.  The response was AMAZING and appreciated.  While we can implement some of the items you commented about immediately, some might take time, and some we will not do but with good reason.  Please read the first item immediately below for changes in who can play in which divisions, starting Summer 2018.

If you commented on something that we did not respond to below and want an answer, please email me (gabe at our web address).

Higher Level Players and Teams Playing in Lower Divisions

Based on the feedback we received from the people who filled out the survey, the most pressing issue in our leagues is teams and players playing in lower divisions. While we try to tiptoe the delicate balance of allowing players to play with their friends and family members who are at a lower playing level and being stricter as to whom we allow to play in those leagues, starting the Summer 2018 session, we will incorporate the following changes:

Coed

Coed C– we will split this division up into a higher one called “Coed B2” and the lower one will remain Coed C.
Yes- players at the playing level of or on a roster of: Coed D, Women’s B, Women’s C, Men’s C. Coed B2 and Men’s B players can play only with manager discretion.
No- players on a Coed A, Coed B1, Men’s A, Women’s A, roster or at that playing level, as deemed by our staff.

Coed D
Yes- players on a Coed C, Women’s C, Men’s C roster or at that playing level
No- players Coed A, Coed B1, Coed B2, Men’s A, Men’s B, Women’s A, roster or at that playing level, as deemed by our staff.

Coed B
Players and teams will be monitored and spoken to on an individual basis as deemed by IISA staff.

If a player is on a roster or playing ability (deemed by our staff) of Coed A, Coed B1, Men’s A, Women’s A, he/she cannot play in Coed C or Coed D.

Women’s

We will register all teams into a single Women’s division in our system.

After registration is over, we will group the teams top to bottom, as best as we can and then split the teams up into two or three divisions (A, B, C), based on the number of teams registered. We will evaluate how well teams do, especially in the inter-divisional games, to group teams in future seasons.

Players and teams will be monitored and spoken to on an individual basis as deemed by IISA staff.

Women’s A- all the teams will play one game against each other that count in the standings. The remaining games will be inter-divisional with the Women’s B division teams. Those games will not count in the standings. The top four teams will play a semifinal and final. All other teams will play a friendly game.
Women’s B– all the teams will play one game against each other that count in the standings.  The remaining games will be inter-divisional with the Women’s A division teams.  Those games will not count in the standings.  The top two teams will play a final. All other teams will play a friendly game.
Women’s C– all the teams will play games within the Women’s C group.  This group is just for fun and will have no standings.

 

Men’s

Men’s C
Yes- players playing at the level of and/or on a roster of: Coed D, Coed C, Women’s. Coed B1 and Coed B2 and Men’s B players can play only with manager discretion.
No- players on a Coed A, Men’s A roster or that playing level, as deemed by our staff.

Men’s B
Players and teams will be monitored and spoken to on an individual basis as deemed by IISA staff.

Promotion/Relegation

The idea of moving teams up if they win or do well in their division, or move down if teams do poorly, is a great one and is much easier to do in the outdoor league because of the amount of time in between seasons.  Since we have no breaks in between our seasons and we have to start the next season’s schedule while the first season is still wrapping up, it’s extremely difficult or impossible to have promotion/relegation.  What we will do is monitor teams and players and move them up or down as needed.

Referees

Referees are another major concern of those of you who filled out our survey, which is also shared by us as a staff and also as players in the league. Please know that we finally have a person who is more consistently evaluating and speaking with the referees.  I sincerely apologize that this took so long but please know we were trying to have people evaluate the referees and now we finally have the person and system in place to continue at a regular rate.

The areas of concern, in order of most room to improve: Referee Movement (2.85/5), calling the same types of fouls (2.98/5), consistency in calls (3.03/5), players respect towards players (3.36/5), knowledge of rules (3.68/5), referee respect towards players (3.71/5), referees starting the games on times (4.13/5), referee appearance (4.3/5)

One of our priorities with the referees is to have them focus on consistent movement– they should mostly be against the wall on the player side, moving back and east and west, but coming closer to the inside of the field as the play heads south and then back to the wall as the play heads more north. I know I prefer as a player that referees in indoor stay behind the play slightly and off to the side, in order to avoid stepping into passing lanes or into an area where I want to open up for a pass.

As you can imagine, the development of the referees is an ongoing process. They are humans just as you are. Players miss passes, shots, lose the ball just the same as referees miss calls, do not see fouls.  A person might believe some of the referees at the arena are biased, but that is always up to a person’s perspective and is only true if the person decides to create that belief because calls didn’t go his/her way.  The only things players can control are their reactions and themselves, and they are the ones who ultimately are responsible for their experience…not the refs.  I know I’ve come off games before thinking a referee’s call or lack of call cost my team a goal, but there are always way more opportunities in a game to score or stop the other team from scoring that my team missed (myself included). Nevertheless, please again know we are working on the referees’ development in all aspects, but especially regarding consistency in calls and foul recognition.

A couple of you mentioned a desire for the referees to control players’ respect toward other players and we will continue to have them focus on that. Foul and abusive language not only should be between player and referee, but should be between player and player. The referee has his or her role in helping to control this, but players do as well. We know the soccer community is large but also small enough where many of you play against each other several times a year or even a season and can build animosity if there are unpleasant interactions, on or even off the field. Just as the referees are instructed to officiate games with a blank slate, we ask that you do to, not just toward the referees, but toward each other. The more we hold onto experiences from the past and hold onto the belief that we were wronged, the less it serves us and it can compromise our health, relationships, and enjoyment of what we do on and off the field. Life is more amazing once we learn to let go and live in the present, which is actually the only time that exists.

We had a couple of comments that our scorekeepers are starting the clock when the referee is not ready and the teams are. I sincerely apologize for this. Our managers and scorekeepers were reminded that the clock should only start when the clock hits the scheduled game time mark, there is a suitable ball to play with, the gates are locked, and the referee is ready. In order to make sure you don’t miss any precious game time, please make sure you and your teammates get to the arena with enough time before your game to get your game attire on and warm up.  Please also help out by having your non-player friends and family members off the field when the ref announces the game/clock is about to start.

Payment of referees– the refs are technically contractors, not employees, which is why you pay them. If they were employees, team fees would go up significantly- not just because ref fees would be included in the team fee, but because it would also lead to higher payroll taxes and also insurance. A couple of you commented on having the ref accept Venmo. We cannot force them to do this, but will definitely highly encourage them to accept payment that way. We will keep you posted when this happens. In the meantime, please make sure and organize that someone has cash on him/her to take care of the ref fee.

Ref’s playing– We will do our very best to avoid referees playing and officiating in the same division. Please know, sometimes we are in a bind and need to put in a ref on a certain shift that has a game in a division in which he/she plays.

Price Increases & General Price Comments

A few comments were made about our price, specifically why it goes up. Yes, our prices do go up overall and they do fluctuate depending on the season. The highest it will be is in the winter sessions as well as Spring I. We drop it down a bit in Spring II and Summer and then go back up toward the fall and into winter again.   Winter of the current year will be typically $10-$20 per team higher than the winter of the previous year.

I will break that down for you. Winter II 2018 the team fee was $625. Winter II 2017 was $605. This is a difference of $20. A typical team has 10 players who should hypothetically pay a portion. This comes down to an increase of $2.00 per season. Break it down further and it 25 cents per game increase from the year before. If you only have eight or nine players, you can do the math to figure out what that costs per person for the season or even per game.

If you notice, things you buy outside of the arena in your day-to-day life increase in price. Gas goes up, you not only pay more for gas, you pay for more at the grocery store or a restaurant because the delivery trucks spend more on gas and have to make up their money. One thing triggers another and the cost of living goes up for everyone.

The average inflation rate in the US from the year we opened in 2001 until this year is about 2.20%. Our inflation rate of our Adult League prices is slightly below that. The very first season we had in 2001 was $460 per teams.   Our highest ever was this past Winter II at $625, which is a $165 per team increase over 17 years. This is an increase of about $9.75/year, which is typically $1.00 to $1.25 per player increase per season.

We will go up in price in the future. It’s just the inevitability of our financial system. We try to be fair and try to match the supply vs. demand philosophy, and grossly do not meet it the Winter I session. We could go up much higher in the Winter I season and probably could in Winter II as well, but we try to balance out economics with what we feel is right.

One person asked us to post our budget at the arena and I will respond that will not do that, just like most or all privately owned business do not do that.  I can tell you we do have typical expenses- mortgage, payroll, insurance, utilities, repairs, upgrades, my private jet etc.  Just checking if you’re paying attention.

Late Games, Time Between Games, Halftime Lengths, Warm-up

We understand very few teams want the late games. In order to prevent having to tell more teams than we do that they can’t join the league because we don’t have enough room, we do have to have those late games. This same reason goes for having a shorter length between games and halftimes that we did in previous years. We understand some of you want longer times in between games but if we did that, we would have fewer games per week and lose out on teams, which means we’d have to increase fees to make up for it, which we do not want to do and only a couple of you who filled out the survey said you’d actually said you’d prefer higher fees and less teams.

We will definitely keep brainstorming how to at least rotate teams scheduled for the latest games better.

Warm-up space- There should typically be space to warm up on the northwest corner of the arena, for those of you who want to juggle or pass the ball around before your games.

Soccer Balls

Yes, this is another area of concern we’re aware of and I would like to apologize for this as well. We’re in a constant search for balls that will last longer. As you can imagine, banging a ball against our walls will cause damage- typically ripping up the outer layer or puncturing the stitching so that a tumor develops.  I, along with our staff, will continue to find more adequate balls.

Music During Games

Thanks as well for your feedback on this. Some of you voiced concern about foul language in the some of the songs that play during games. As a place with children, this should not happen and our managers were reminded this. Sometimes they put on a shuffle and a song comes on that has some explicit lyrics. Our managers were informed to avoid adding any gangster rap/hip hop to shuffles. If you do continue to hear songs with foul language, please inform the person at the front desk, and/or reach out to me (gabe at our web address).
We will also do our best to avoid shuffles that include slower songs. Many of you said to have music that is more upbeat.

Other Stuff

We will take into consideration adding a fountain with a water bottle filler. Just know that we have other urgent expenses coming up so this might take some time. Until then, please feel free to fill up your bottle at the fountain the old fashioned way or down at PK’s. Both the current fountain and the sinks at PK’s are filtered water.

I fill up my bottle at the fountain several times a day. The pressure will go down if someone else is using the other fountain while you fill up or someone flushes a toilet, but once that’s over the pressure should go back to normal.