WOW!!! What a great year! I am very honored and blessed to be given the opportunity to help run this wonderful state association and am privileged to work with such great people. I would first like to start by thanking the Board of Directors for their tireless work to better things for the game of soccer in Georgia. A goal has been for everyone to “grab” something in their level of expertise and try to make it better and everyone has stepped up and done wonderfully…including the Georgia Soccer staff. Every meeting has been energetic and productive.
One of our main objectives this year is to grow our membership. Based on some preliminary estimates, we will have approximate growth of 5%. Youth numbers are on a steady increase due mostly to the FIFA World Cups over the last year and a half. Adult numbers remain steady and the board recognizes that. We have started a Task Force to evaluate and develop options to increase adult membership opportunities especially within the Hispanic community. There are many unaffiliated leagues in Atlanta and Georgia to whom we feel we can offer better benefits and membership. We will strive to continue growth in Georgia.
Marketing has been a big part of our year as well. We have continued to pursue the professional marketing campaign that the previous administration started in November of 2010. These marketing efforts have led to new branding and a surge on social media. Our new logo and tag line (Georgia Soccer – Your State / Your Game) and campaign materials have already opened the door to new opportunities for Georgia Soccer, including but not limited to new soccer partnerships and corporate sponsorships. Facebook marketing has become an alternative method of getting information to our members. We have doubled in size with our “friends” since we started in the summer. Along with our social media campaign, we have created the Georgia Soccer mobile site that will help all of our members while they are on the road. We are very excited about it and it should be up and running by the spring season.
In these marketing efforts, we have also redesigned our website to ease inquiries of our members and to make it much more attractive. The staff and IT committee worked extremely hard to get it up and running. We are still working out some kinks, but we are very proud of it!
Another thing we are very proud of is our new quarterly e-newsletter that is being sent to all the email addresses we currently have. We would love to deliver it to many more people, so please make sure to forward all the addresses you have from a league perspective.
We are so grateful for our current Georgia Soccer sponsors – Publix, Score, and The Atlanta Beat. We were fortunate to add Cuties (Official Fruit) to our sponsorship list. Hopefully many of you have enjoyed them as they have been handed out at many of our tournaments. We are working hard to add sponsors that can put money back into our programs and help our leagues.
Many, many people have asked and I think we listened. Georgia Soccer launched its new web e-store before Christmas. Now anyone can order Georgia Soccer gear to support our teams and members. We have waived 95% of the profits to keep the prices down for anyone that is interested. We look forward to seeing everyone on the fields wearing the great products that Score has to offer.
Last but not least, one of the items that I am most excited about, is the “Volunteer” drive we did in the first part of the year. The Georgia Soccer Board of Directors has made a goal to get as many new people involved at the state level as possible so we can always have a fresh perspective on issues that affect our members and leagues. We have compiled a list of over 40 new volunteers that we are trying to integrate into committees and task forces that assist the Board. These working professionals are invaluable to us and actually save us a little money on professional services we would normally require.
Again, I am very honored to be the President of Georgia Soccer and I strive every day to make something better for our members and players. I am very proud of what the Board and Staff has accomplished this year as our members deserve the best. I am always available to anyone that wants to discuss issues in our state, so please do not hesitate to call.
Thanks again…”Your State…Your Game!!”
Russel W. Rankenburg
President – Georgia Soccer