PYSA Board of Directors excited about the direction of the program and planning for upgrades
Around the same time a year ago, Petoskey Youth Soccer Association club manager Kyle Lieberman was still getting used to his new job.
Today, after a successful year, Lieberman is focused on what works so well, while making big plans for the future of the organization.
Lieberman, also an associate broker at Kidd & Leavy Real Estate, was excited about his first-year numbers in PYSA, which saw a 16% club-wide increase for 2016-17.
The organization now has over 240 players on PYSA teams and there is one area that has particularly excited Lieberman.
âOur retention numbers are incredible,â he said. âWhen you look at the national elimination rates, especially U11 to U14, the elimination rates are really high. We’re actually adding kids and growing up, which in my opinion is an exciting place. “
Lieberman also cites its youngest tier programs – the Shooting Stars & Future Stars programs – as an example of an area experiencing higher enrollment rates, which are almost 50% higher than a year ago. .
One area that Lieberman says helps keep kids interested and get more kids out of them is the level of player training thanks to PYSA, with a number of coaches now licensed by the Federation. United States Football Association.
âWe now have seven licensed coaches,â Lieberman said. âWe have four coaches on staff who were college football players. You won’t find this anywhere else in the region here. We would therefore like to continue to invest in the training of coaches.
The recent hiring of Jacob Oberg, a Petoskey graduate and former Alma College football player, as the academy’s director should also help move forward.
âHe’s done a great job with us and he’s expanding his role now,â Lieberman added. “A licensed college player who will take care of first-class girls, as well as entry-level children.”
Beyond participation and training, Lieberman has a strong interest in helping to monitor the Click Road Soccer Complex facilities used by PYSA.
âWe do a great job keeping the kids engaged, we do a great job with the staff and the quality of supervision that we are able to provide, where I see the greatest need now is that we letâs grow faster than our resources, âhe said. âWe have the same facilities as when we were a small organization. The organization has grown so much that we have to become more aggressive to increase our ability to keep pace with our fields.
Click Road currently has 11 football pitches for a range of skill levels, but beyond the high quality of the pitches the area lacks other aspects to keep pace.
âI would like to turn off the lights on the grounds one day,â Lieberman said. âWe would be delighted to expand the permanent structure that exists, perhaps to have bathrooms and changing rooms. The facilities we have now were working great for what the organization was 10-15 years ago, but for where we are and where we are headed we have to keep pace.
However, upgrades require money, which of course should come from somewhere.
Lieberman, along with PYSA vice president Pete Iverson, hope that these costs will not be passed on to members.
âWe are committed to keeping costs for members as low as possible, as we try not to make price a barrier to participation for anyone,â Iverson said. âWe will actively seek new partners to help us sponsor our program and allow us to grow. “
Added Lieberman on expansion of facilities.
âWe don’t want to put the economic burden on our members,â he said. âWe have a lot to offer and we would like to tell companies about it. If you think of our two tournaments, they’re some of Northern Michigan’s biggest economy weekends every year. “
PYSA continues to host two major tournaments throughout the year, including the Autumn Blast in the fall and the Petoskey Summer Invitational, which runs June 16-18 this year.
For all of their teams participating in these tournaments, Lieberman examines the sport’s global example and its accessibility, hoping to maintain it, by offering more partnerships and sponsorships with businesses in the region.
“We really want to follow more of the global example of making gaming affordable and accessible and keeping the focus on the player and the experience,” he added.
It’s that kind of focus that leads to a rebound in registrations and higher retention rates for the organization going forward.
âAs a Board of Directors, we are very excited about the direction our organization is taking,â said PYSA President Karen Flynn. “Our growth in many areas is apparent over the past year, and we are pushing for even bigger things in 2017.”