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Youth Girls Dec 28, 2012

Opening “new chapter,” WAGS create new Executive Director position

By Charles Boehm

Finding itself in a changed landscape amid a period of explosive growth and evolution in youth soccer, the Washington Area Girls Soccer League began an overhaul of its operations by announcing the creation of an Executive Director position this month.

The league is seeking applicants with substantial experience in soccer administration for this new job, with the ideal candidate described as someone “who will help promote the League’s mission and vision” and “be responsible for the administration, organization, planning and development of soccer activities related to WAGS and the needs of its members.”

Spurred by the results of a sweeping membership survey conducted this fall by veteran consultant Glen Buckley, WAGS’ leadership did “a whole bunch of soul-searching,” in the words of league president Kathie Diapoulis, and decided to identify a new colleague who could advance its technical training and player development initiatives, among other items.

“We need somebody who’s qualified to take a little bit of the weight off the board’s shoulders as far as the administration of the league, and furthering the programs, growing the programs and administering the programs,” said Diapoulis in an exclusive conversation with

Over the years, the league – one of the oldest, most renowned girls’ soccer competitions in North America – has explanded dramatically but staffing has not grown accordingly, and new challenges have risen along the way as well.

Diapoulis explained the league’s situation using the old tale about the frog in the pot: Throw the creature right into boiling water and it will leap out; turn the temperature up gradually, and the frog will remain there until its demise.

“Sometimes when you’re so busy doing something, it’s hard to stop and look around at the big picture,” she noted. “We had to put our own feelings aside – we knew we had some issues, we’ve doubled in size and we needed to take a look at the whole.

“Even though the entire world around you is changing, sometimes you’re so busy trying to keep up with the hot water that you don’t have the time to stop and regroup and adjust.”

In the same vein, Diapoulis is also proposing the creation of three new positions on the WAGS Board of Directors: a third vice president; a technical director to liaise with the Maryland and Virginia state associations and represent the perspectives of member clubs’ directors of coaching; and a “competition director”-type position. The latter would focus on analyzing division structures with an eye towards competitive balance and player development. If the league membership approves these new posts, the board would grow from its current six members to nine in all.

“You need some other voices in there,” said Diapoulis, “but you don’t want to have so many that you can never get anything done because you can’t get a quorum. We figure nine is a good number.”

Next month WAGS will reveal more details from Buckley’s membership survey. The league is also developing a partnership with the Washington Spirit, the new women’s professional team which will begin play in the inaugural season of the National Women’s Soccer League in April.