46-year-old Sean Large is president of the United Club, which is a local non-profit soccer club. It operates within the Northshore Youth Soccer Association (NYSA), serving 1,200 kids between the ages of 12-18.
They’ve recently started a spring program which enables recreational players to keep playing in the off-season. Spring registration is open now while fall registration opens soon.
The Woodinville Weekly spoke with Large last week.
Woodinville Weekly: Before we discuss the spring program, let’s talk about other aspects of the United Club. Describe what makes recreational soccer different from a select program.
Sean Large: Recreational soccer is completely open. We have kids who come in every year who have never played before. They can join at any age, and there are no tryouts. Coaches have no input on who is on their teams. They can’t go out and cherry pick. But, we do keep teams together. If you like your buddies and your coach, as long as you sign up the next year on time, you’re guaranteed to keep your team together [through the years].
WW: When we were talking earlier, you mentioned how the high degree of organization of NYSA really appeals to you. Can you give a specific example of its impact?
Large: Coaching education. One of the things about soccer is that coaching education is a national program. US Soccer has come up with these licenses. You start off with your F license, and then D, C, B and all the way up to A. The coach of the [Seattle] Sounders has an A license, for example. If you talk to a coach from Washington who holds a D license like I do, and go talk to a coach from Texas who holds the same license, they went through the same course and we’re speaking the same language.
As a testament to the club’s focus on coaching education, one of United’s coaches, Joe Matthews, was selected by US Youth Soccer as the 2015-16 National Coach of the Year for Girls’ Recreational soccer. We were all pretty excited about that, because he was nominated due to the overwhelming support he received from his team’s parents for being a positive influence in their lives.
WW: Does the NYSA foster a positive environment even when it comes to spectators and the game day experience?
Large: Absolutely. There are rules within the association. There is absolutely no communication [allowed] with the referee, because some parents can get hotheaded. As president I’ve had to talk to parents about reports I got [about them]. Coaches are removed if there are problems. But at NYSA, we have very, very few problems. We have a very positive atmosphere.
WW: As United Club president, what gives you the most satisfaction in your duties?
Large: That’s a really good question. Sports and soccer in particular can be a very positive influence in kids’ lives. For me it’s a matter of making sure we’re doing everything we can to make sure that happens.
WW: Describe your new program that is happening this spring.
Large: Normal rec soccer is thought of as a fall sport. But something we started was a spring league. Just in United Club, very low key, just one time a week, just on Sundays. Forty-five minute training and a 45-minute 6 v 6 match. It lasts from spring break to the end of the school year. We don’t keep standings, it’s just great exposure for an older kid to come out and see if they like it. Spring registration is open now. Fall registration opens in April. If you don’t register by May 31 for fall, it’s not guaranteed you’ll get in.
For more info on NYSA (ages 5-18), go to NorthShoreSoccer.org.