To: PAASL Players
From: PAASL Board of Directors
League Status Update
In this inaugural message from the Palo Alto Adult Soccer League (PAASL) Board of Directors, we wanted to introduce the goals of the Board and describe what we’ve been doing to improve your PAASL experience.
Based on conversations with many of you and satisfaction surveys that we have been running for several sessions in the A division, we’ve heard that you have three major concerns: field quality, referee quality and team balance. We’ve been taking action to try to improve each of these across all divisions.
PAASL has very actively made conjunctive efforts with the City of Palo Alto to improve the grass fields at JLS, including paying for weeding, seeding and new watering mechanics to avoid overwatering. Those of you who have played in PAASL for a while have probably noted that the JLS fields are better than they were 5-10 years ago, but we’re still working hard to try to improve them.
With regard to the Mayfield complex, the City of Palo Alto is nearing completion of renovations and the refurbished fields should open soon, with PAASL returning to those fields shortly [UPDATE: the fields are now open].
We know that many of you have expressed concern about refereeing in the league. We added a third referee in the A division and for the Evening B division, and are working with our referee provider on improving the quality and consistency of our refereeing across all of our divisions. We also encourage all players to use the referee feedback form so that we can provide that direct feedback to our referees. We ask that you respect referees’ decisions and get on with the game in a sporting manner and send your feedback via the online form or with a Board member. We continue to look for ways to improve our referee accuracy and professionalism; stay tuned for further updates.
Team balance has been a recurring area of feedback. We make a point of trying to balance teams across all divisions based on both a player’s declared skill level and our observations of that player’s skill level. However, it is important to note that, given the nature of player attendance at weekly games, our group sign-up approach and our ringer policy, it’s difficult to guarantee that any two teams will be perfectly balanced during any particular game. Over the long haul, we hope that we keep teams balanced and competitive.
Another piece of feedback we hear is about preferential registration for Palo Alto residents. We understand how this might be confusing for residents from other areas and wanted to clarify. Palo Alto fields are allocated based on the proportion of Palo Alto residents in the groups that apply for fields. By keeping our Palo Alto residency level high, we can ensure that we continue to get access to the fields that we need for our programs. The Evening sessions, due to their great popularity, are held to a higher Palo Alto residency level in order to guarantee overall levels of residency across all PAASL sessions.
We know that many of you have questions about PAASL’s finances. PAASL is a 501(c)(7) not-for-profit organization and the Board is entirely composed of volunteers. All of your fees go toward running the league and maintaining a small cash reserve. Over the past couple of years, the main expenses for PAASL were as follows:
Overall, we try to keep fees to a minimum to cover our costs and be able to invest in improvements in your playing experience, and feel as if we have maintained a very fair per-session fee.
We’d like to share a couple of closing thoughts. First, thanks for your participation in PAASL--we couldn’t do this without all of you. Second, please play competitively but safely as we all want to have fun and avoid injuries. Take advantage of our referee feedback form so that we can help to improve our referees. Finally, please register early for Sunday sessions as it helps to speed team formation so that we can get that information out to all of you and set the schedule.
Have fun, and see you on the pitch!
PAASL Board of Directors/President