Wednesday, March 25, 2020 8:59 pm
TSSA Extends Suspension of All Activity Through April 15th
Date: March 25th, 2020
CC: TN Board of Directors
Subject: Update to Member Club Leadership
Dear Tennessee Soccer Families, Friends, Coaches, Referees, and Players,
Tennessee State Soccer Association (TSSA) has been the governing body of soccer in Tennessee since 1976. As a non-profit organization overseeing the 100+ non-profit and for profit member youth soccer clubs in Tennessee, the TSSA mission continues to be “Make a difference. To lead. To serve. To inspire.”
Today, the TSSA Board of Directors decided to further extend our soccer suspension of operations until at least April 15th. The TSSA Board of Directors will continue to review this date and will extend the current spring season start date again if necessary.
Other organizations that have made similar decisions in our soccer world include:
You may wonder why we don’t simply cancel the spring season now. We can appreciate these sentiments, but the answer is not so simple. Locally, we’ve made it through hard times as friends, teams, clubs, and as a community. For many who grew up playing the sport, whether locally or nationally, we often reflect on the immense benefits sports has had on our lives. The physical, mental, and social well-being provided by soccer got many of us through hard times and made us better individuals. TSSA and all Tennessee State Soccer clubs believe that continuing to provide these benefits and fulfilling these needs has to be our goal. We can’t and won’t just give up on the opportunity to emerge from this devastation and again serve our community.
Taking into consideration the diversity of the soccer community we serve, our decision to strive for stability and survival runs deep. Whether this is your child’s first venture into an organized sport, or your child lives and breathes soccer, the survival of youth soccer is vital to the continuation of:
· Soccer as the best form of exercise a child may get on a weekly basis.
· Soccer as the most welcome, or possibly only non-school, social time kids may have on a weekly basis.
· The immense benefit of the coach-player mentorship relationship.
· The stability in the life of a child that comes from being part of a team.
· Soccer is the only main outlet in life for some kids.
While not each of these may apply to your child, some or all of these benefits apply to children everywhere in the greater Tennessee Soccer community. TSSA is working to be flexible with our member clubs to create a season of soccer even with a delayed start date. Without spring soccer, the sport as we know it, the infrastructure that has taken decades to build, the continuity and livelihood of many coaches, and field access will be crippled. Without a spring season, we are concerned many of our member clubs, as we know them today, will not survive in their current forms. Some of our member clubs may be forced to lay off employees, coaches, downsize field access, or even close their doors. Most of our TSSA member clubs are non-profits, and few of them carry the extensive financial reserves necessary for them to maintain stability through the events we are currently facing.
The economic impact of these potential outcomes weighs heavy as well, as the greater Tennessee Soccer landscape provides hundreds of millions to the local economy annually.
Our flexibility in our timeline and decision making regarding the Spring season might allow clubs to have soccer accessible to your child as soon as we are able to return to play, as well as being able to ultimately provide the services that were postponed due to the pandemic.
We believe now, more than ever, that we need to focus on the future and pull through this together, so that our children will have a sense of normalcy as our community emerges from this current situation.
Many of you will receive communications from your member clubs in the coming days. Our wish, as you read through their individual messages, is that you understand any decisions made are decisions that were not made lightly, but rather have been made in consideration of the years they’ve been working with Tennessee’s youth soccer community and in the continuation of a thriving youth soccer environment.