Ask The Field Guy!
This column is intended to help Region and Area staff secure playing fields to maintain and grow AYSO programs. Feel free to suggest topics or send questions to FieldGuy@ayso.org.
The following is a recently received question:
"Our city parks and recreation department has asked our Region to contribute $500,000 toward the development of new playing fields. In return, we would receive priority scheduling for our fall and spring season and tournaments. Is there any problem with this offer?"
This is a very timely question. As park and recreation department budgets around the country are decreasing, cities and districts are looking to their recreation partners to share in the costs of developing and operating facilities.
This proposal may be a good deal for AYSO; however, you need to consider these three important points.
- AYSO is a single non-profit organization that includes all Regions, Areas and Sections, as well as the national organization. Any long-term agreement or commitment is potentially a liability of the entire AYSO organization. In other words, should a local Region default on an agreement, all of AYSO (including other Regions, Areas and Sections) could be responsible for satisfying AYSO’s obligations under that agreement.
- In order to assure that no one Region, Area or Section enters into a contract or agreement that jeopardizes our fellow Regions, Areas or Sections, all long-term agreements or contracts including those for the use, development, management, or maintenance of facilities which commit AYSO funds must be reviewed by the Legal Commission and approved by the National Board of Directors (NBOD). The Legal Commission is a group of volunteer lawyers who perform this review for Regions, Areas, and Sections free of charge and make recommendations to the NBOD.
- The Legal Commission and NBOD support creative methods of securing long-term use of playing fields. Regions, Areas and Sections that have opportunities for unique or long-term agreements for fields should contact their Area and Section Directors as soon as possible in the process so the appropriate AYSO staff and Legal Commission member can assist in crafting and reviewing the agreement, and assure that AYSO’s interests are protected.
Note: The Field Guy team is creating a toolkit to assist volunteers in working with cities, school and parks districts and other parties to develop, obtain and retain soccer playing facilities. If your Region or Area has a unique use agreement or program to use local soccer facilities, please send a copy and we'll include it in the toolkit!