Blakeman, Buete, Dewhurst, Lesiak re-elected; Menzies appointed and Rennie re-appointed to US Club Soccer Board of Directors
The political landscape of youth soccer is always interesting. Here is the latest from US Club.
Youth Soccer News: Shawn Blakeman (Western Region), Gary Buete (Southern Region), Jason Dewhurst (Eastern Region) and Tim Lesiak (Midwest Region) have all been re-elected to the US Club Soccer Board of Directors.
The four Regional Board Directors will continue their service on the board with new three-year terms, which officially began March 1.
In addition, Hue Menzies, of Florida Kraze Krush and the Jamaican WNT, has been appointed to the Board as an At-Large Director, which carries a one-year term through February 28, 2019. John Rennie, the legendary former Duke University men’s coach and long-time US Club Soccer Board of Directors member, has been re-appointed as an At-Large Director – carrying the same term as Menzies.
Earlier this year, Shannon Cirovski – National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee and Bethesda SC Director of Coaching – was appointed to Regional Board Director of the Eastern Region after Mike Cullina was elevated to Chairman. Cirovski previously served on the Board of Directors as an At-Large Director.
US Club Soccer bylaws stipulate that only individuals with significant, competitive soccer experience can qualify for a board seat. Members must have at least five years of coaching experience at a competitive level and at least a U.S. Soccer “B” coaching license or its international equivalent.
This year’s election was a clean sweep for incumbents.
Buete was elected to serve a second term, Dewhurst for a third term, Blakeman for a seventh term and Lesiak for an eighth term. Five of these directors – Blakeman, Buete, Dewhurst, Lesiak, and Menzies – all hold U.S. Soccer “A” licenses, and all six boast resumes with decades of coaching experience.
The Board of Directors is currently comprised of 12 members, as follows (with term expirations in parentheses):
• Chairman: Mike Cullina (2021)
• Immediate Past Chairman: Phil Wright
• Regional Board Directors – Eastern Region: Shannon Cirovski (2019), Jason Dewhurst (2021)
• Regional Board Directors – Midwest Region: Mike Sweeney (2019), Tim Lesiak (2021)
• Regional Board Directors – Southern Region: K.C. Crabb (2019), Gary Buete (2021)
• Regional Board Directors – Western Region: Eddie Henderson (2019), Shawn Blakeman (2021)
• At-Large Directors: Hue Menzies and John Rennie (annual terms)
Eastern Region – Jason Dewhurst & Shannon Cirovski:
Dewhurst, the Director of Coaching for FC Stars (Mass.) for more than 15 years, is also a board member of the Elite Clubs National League. Additionally, he frequents id2 Training Camps as a staff coach. Dewhurst has served as an assistant coach of various U.S. Soccer youth national teams over the past six years. He has also coached FC Stars ECNL teams to the ECNL Champions League National Final each of the last three seasons.
“I am very pleased to be re-elected to the US Club Soccer Board of Directors for another term,” Dewhurst said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the past four years and have seen great strides taken by the organization to better the game across the nation for clubs, coaches, players, and parents. I look forward to continuing this path with my fellow board members and all the hardworking staff at US Club Soccer.”
Cirovski, the Director of Coaching for Bethesda SC (Md.), was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2002. She was a midfielder for the U.S. Women’s National Team, earning 51 caps from 1987-91, and she assisted on both goals of the team’s 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final triumph. Cirovski had head coaching stints with George Washington University, University of Maryland and the U.S. U-18 WNT.
“I am excited to continue to work with the Board, and I look forward to working towards the long-term goals of US Club Soccer,” Cirovski said. “I am passionate about youth development, bringing more women into the game and continuing our mission towards the U.S. becoming a global soccer force.”
Midwest Region – Tim Lesiak:
Lesiak, the Executive Director of Coaching for the Ohio Elite Soccer Academy, has served on the US Club Soccer Board of Directors since 2005. His impact on US Club Soccer extends to 2002, though, when his U-16 Ohio Elite SA girls team won the National Cup I championship.
“I am once again excited to be re-elected to the Board of Directors for US Club Soccer,” Lesiak said. “I have now been a member of the Board of Directors since 2005, and it is an honor to be part of an organization that truly represents the youth players, coaches and clubs in this Country. This next term appears to be more important than ever, with the ever-changing landscape in youth soccer. I’m looking forward to helping improve our ENPL, our Boys and Girls ECNL and working with and for any initiative that makes the youth game safer through our Players First program.”
Southern Region – Gary Buete:
Buete, the CEO of North Carolina FC Youth (formerly Capital Area Soccer League), has been elected to a second term on the board. He was the former Executive Director of Baton Rouge SC and has 18 years of coaching experience to boys and girls teams in Alabama and Louisiana.
“I am excited to have been re-elected to the US Club Soccer Board of Directors,” Buete said. “US Club continues to push the elements for player development, player safety and putting the player first. I look forward to working with new chairman Mike Cullina, CEO Kevin Payne and the rest of the US Club board and employees to continue to have a positive impact on the game.”
Western Region – Shawn Blakeman:
Blakeman, the residing Technical Director of Sacramento United (Calif.) for the past 15 years, has been on the US Club Soccer Board of Directors since 2006. He is one the founding and current Executive Board Members of NorCal Premier Soccer. Blakeman had an 11-year professional career that began with the San Jose Earthquakes and was followed by stints in Germany and back in the U.S.
“The organization has made tremendous progress on many fronts, despite an ever-changing soccer landscape,” Blakeman said. “I hope that I can continue to bring honest and valuable insight to improve the game at all levels.”
At-Large Director – Hue Menzies:
Menzies, the Executive Director of Florida Kraze Krush, brings more than 30 years of coaching experience to the US Club Soccer Board of Directors. He is also the Technical Director of the Jamaica WNT and a member of the CONCACAF Study group. Before moving to Florida, Menzies was one of the founders of the Lonestar Soccer Association (Texas) and Director of Coaching for the Warrior Soccer Association (Texas).
“I am honored to be appointed to the US Club Board of Directors, and I look forward to working alongside this talented team of soccer minds,” Menzies said. “The impact can be immense, but I am humble for the opportunity.”
At-Large Director – John Rennie:
Rennie achieved astounding success as a 29-year head men’s soccer coach at Duke University, where he led the Blue Devils to five College Cups and the 1986 NCAA Division I national championship. He co-founded the Triangle Soccer Academy in 1998, which later became Triangle FC. Rennie is a former member of the U.S. Soccer Federation national coaching staff, and he also organized and served as the first chairman of the NCAA Division I Soccer Coaches Committee.
“I am delighted to be re-appointed to the US Club Soccer Board,” Rennie said. “It should be a great year with a new Chairman of US Club Soccer and a new U.S. Soccer President. I am looking forward to the year.”
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Source: US Club Soccer Press Release