June 25, 2002
June 25, 2002 - Minutes R & D Committee
Members Present:
Christine Mroczek, Chuck Keefer, Hap Kwiatkowski, Clarence Jones, Karen Parker, Richard Will, Committee administrator

New member Karen Parker was introduced to the Committee.

Penalty Point Accumulation: ARL United U-12/3
13 points for the current season.

The team was represented by the coach, team manager, player #3 and her parent. Player #28 sent a written statement which was read to the Committee. Player #3 read a statement she had prepared.

The coach indicated he takes full responsibility for the situation. He will make a team goal for next season that no cards be assessed. He will bring a parent/ref to a practice this summer to discuss cardable offenses, and will make an effort to point out fouls in practice.

The Committee expressed concern at the high penalty point accumulation for such a young team, noting that problems which begin early often escalate. Several members questioned the coach about a referee comment on a Game Card noting that a particular game was exceptionally aggressive. The referee received complaints of bad language from both sidelines but did not personally hear any. At that game a parent was asked to leave the field by the referee for swearing at the assistant referee. The coach recalled that this was a parent from the opposing team.

The Committee voted unanimously to issue a written censure, calling on coaches/team officials to take greater measures to deal with aggressive behavior, to communicate to players the seriousness of the situation, and to convey the Committee's belief that unless significant improvement is achieved in the coming season, additional team and individual sanctions could be imposed.

The Committee directed that player #3, who was assessed 6 penalty points this season, be suspended for the first game of the Fall 2002 season. It also directed the team's primary contact to confirm the sit out date of player #28 who received 2 yellow cards on 5/11/02.

Penalty Point Accumulation: BETH Liverpool, U-17/1,
8 points current season, 12 carried from Fall 2001

The team was represented by the BETH Club Rep. No team coaches, carded officials, players, or parents were present. The Committee expressed extreme displeasure at the absence of any individual associated with the team. Twenty is an exceptionally high penalty point accumulation, and while the majority of penalty points were carried over from the previous season, this season's accumulation indicates that lessons were not learned that the measures the team described at its 2/12/2002 hearing to rectify its problems have not been successful.

The Committee voted unanimously to issue a written censure. Christine Mroczek abstained due to an age group conflict. The censure included the following items:

That the team be fined an amount equal to its WAGSL League fee, to be paid before the team is rostered for the Fall 2002 season, but in no case later than August 1, 2002.

That player #21, who has 4 penalty points this season and 4 carryover points, be suspended for the first 3 games of the Fall 2002 season. The Committee will closely monitor this player's future performance, and any additional penalty point accumulation will result in her being called before the Committee for further disciplinary action.

That the primary team contact confirm the date and game number that player #6 sat out last season after receiving 6 total penalty points for 3 yellow cards. This information will be confirmed with Game Card notations.

That the team forfeit the use of all home fields for the Fall 2002 season.

The Committee wants every person associated with this team to clearly understand the severity of its situation. Further penalty point accumulations will result in additional sanctions that may include a ban from WAGS participation for a period of time commensurate with assessed penalties.

Penalty Point Accumulation: Vista Firestars U-17/1,
16 points current season, 4 carried over from Fall 2001

The team was represented by the coach, assistant coach, manager, and 15 players. The coach spoke of the need to play "tough" and "strong" at higher levels. He mentioned that the team is a state cup winner and represents the state of Virginia well.

Players individually discussed their cards. A number failed to recall the exact details of the incidents, and many expressed they had lapses of control "in the heat of the moment." A number of players and the assistant coach described the multiple pressures of playing high school, WAGS (playing up), and ODP. One player described the frustration that comes from exhaustion brought on by 7-day-a-week soccer.

The Committee was impressed by this clearly talented team, yet concerned that it had amassed a total of 12 yellow cards in the past 2 seasons. Particularly disturbing is that 5 of these cards were for dissent. While the pressure and frustration of playing on high school, club, and ODP teams can be difficult for teenage players, negative reactions are never an acceptable solution.

Committee members noted that college coaches, in addition to looking for field skills, seek players who can integrate into a more mature college environment, with the added stress of living away from home, taking on adult responsibilities, and balancing travel throughout the season with academic obligations. They noted that loss of control, even "in the heat of the moment," can have significant personal and team consequences.

The coach has discussed this situation at length with his players, and they have set a team goal of winning the sportsmanship trophy at regionals. One player spoke of the closeness of the team and that there had been discussion of peer assistance for players to help their teammates in times of frustration.

The Committee voted unanimously to issue a written censure. Christine Mroczek abstained due to an age group conflict. The Committee wants to see a code of conduct developed by the players and signed by each player. It should expressly address the issues of dissent and unsporting behavior. A copy of the code is to be forwarded to the R&D Director before the beginning of next season.

In summary, the Committee is concerned that such a significant penalty point accumulation could place in jeopardy a talented and accomplished team. The Committee wants all concerned to be aware that any additional penalty point accumulation, particularly for dissent, may be cause for offending parties to be called before the Committee for further disciplinary action.

After the hearings, the Committee discussed a number of housekeeping items, including an improved system to track sitouts for game suspensions, and monitoring the accumulation of points given to individual players in addition to team totals.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:10pm

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