Ohio South and Ohio North State Associations announce merger agreement
CINCINNATI — The board of directors from Ohio Youth Soccer Association North (OYSAN) and Ohio South Youth Soccer Association (OSYSA) have announced that a formal agreement of merger has been reached between the two state associations.
The new organization will be called the Ohio Soccer Association (OSA) and will become one of the largest US Youth Soccer state associations. The final step in the approval process will be to present the agreement to both organizations’ memberships for approval. The date of the member vote will be held in conjunction with each state association’s Annual General Meeting which will be announced later this week.
According to OSYSA Executive Director, Gordon Henderson, “I want to congratulate the board members of both organizations. This is the first time two state associations have merged in the history of U.S. Soccer and US Youth Soccer. Both groups entered discussions with the goal of creating something special that will benefit soccer throughout the entire state, linking communities irrespective of size and creating a unified organization that will not only expand opportunities for our current members, but also unite a fractured soccer landscape throughout the state of Ohio. These are exciting times.”
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Jen Fickett, Executive Director of OYSAN, is also enthusiastic about the pending merger. Fickett commented, “We are in a unique time in history on many levels. By combining our professional expertise and assets, we have the opportunity to further invest in programming and grow the game.”
During the merger discussions, the current board of directors from both state associations, with the assistance of an integration team spearheaded by staff members from both organizations, created a new business structure and Code of Regulations (constitution/bylaws) for the new OSA.
Both state associations anticipate a significant level of interest in OSA from soccer organizations, leagues, and clubs across Ohio. A series of video calls, informational webpages, and FAQ sheets will be created in the coming weeks to help educate on “Why” the merger. Both state associations are committed to complete transparency and will be available to answer as many questions as possible ahead of the membership vote later this year.
Skip Gilbert, US Youth Soccer CEO commented, “Part of our vision is to bring communities together through the power of soccer. This is absolutely apparent with the merger of Ohio North and South to create one unified voice in the state. The players, coaches and the entire USYS family will benefit the most from this structure and we congratulate and thank everyone involved to help make Ohio Soccer Association a model for the future.”
The current timeline for the new organization to be registered with the State of Ohio is by the end of December so that registration can commence as usual with no disruption to the membership for the 2021 – 2022 season. In the meantime, all programming will continue as usual for the remainder of the 2020 – 2021 season under the banners of Ohio South and Ohio North for league play, Cups and ODP.