Soccer unification was a hot topic at the meeting of the Recreation Committee on Monday night. The first topic was getting the Londonderry Soccer Club recognized as the one and only soccer organization in Londonderry. The Recreation Committee took a vote and recommended that this be made so.
Representatives from the Londonderry Youth Soccer Association (LYSA) also spoke to Town Manager Kevin Smith about the changes they would like to see made to the Sanctioned Recreation Group Guidelines, because of past disagreements with other organizations.
LYSA sought to get the approval from the Recreation Committee before putting forth their request to the Town Council. As of today, the sanction currently reads “A1: A minimum of 60% of the participation are residents of Londonderry and the program is available to all age-appropriate Londonderry residents. The participation ratio applies to all teams within an organization with exception to adult recreation teams whose participation ratio applies to the organization. If any team within an organization is unable to meet the 60% criteria the organization may petition the Commission for a waiver to this rule.” The proposed new verbiage of the rule as presented by LYSA is: “A minimum of 60% of the participants are residents of Londonderry and all programs will be available to all age-appropriate Londonderry residents. The participation ratio applies to all players that play within the organization.” This does not turn away kids that are from Londonderry, but allows more flexibility for LYSA to take in non-Londonderry kids and have enough for a team.
The second guideline that was put forth for change was “A12: Sanctioned groups may not enter into any contracts with, or give permission to, any other unsanctioned group for use of any of the fields. All fields use will be arranged through the recreation commission to sanctioned groups only.” Although the representatives from LYSA had put forth their own re-wording of the guideline, it was intensely debated between members of the Recreation Commission. All field use is normally OK’d by Recreation Director Art Psaledas and if there is a problem, the organization would go directly to the Recreation Committee. As far as using town facilities, the fields are used by softball, lacrosse, and soccer teams. Regardless, the outside organization that wishes to use a field run by the Recreation Committee needs to get permission from them first in order to do so.
After over an hour of deliberations, the new guideline put forth read as follows “A12: Sanctioned groups may enter into non-financial partnerships with other outside groups for the use of the facilities in order to better promote their sport and improve the quality of the development of the Londonderry players. All facilities use and partnerships will be arranged and managed by the town sanctioned organization with the approval from the Recreation Committee.”
The next step before going to the Town Council for approval will be having the town attorney take a look at this guideline and give his opinion before it is given to the Town Council for approval.