EODSA President's message
July 30, 2020

Hello Friends,
 
As we now move into Stage 2 of soccer's return to play in Ontario, I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your hard work in developing a safe and secure environment for our membership. These are certainly very difficult times and I am greatly encouraged and sincerely impressed by the manner in which our member Clubs have embraced these challenges and taken a measured response to their specific return to play capacity. 
 
During the past several months, the EODSA has been working very hard behind the scenes to enable our member Clubs to develop their capacity to embrace a return to play. The EODSA Board of Directors, up until the stage 1 return, had been meeting weekly via Zoom to explore various avenues of support for our membership. With our return to play now in stage 2, our Board is meeting every 2 weeks and continues to explore new and innovative avenues to better enable our member Clubs to deliver the best soccer product possible. To this end, our various Working Committees have been hard at work with the results being quite impressive. As an example of this new and innovative approach to governance and decision making at the EODSA, our Finance Working Committee has provided guidance and recommendations on reducing the registration costs for our membership which resulted in a 25% District fee reduction and an additional $6 Canada Soccer reduction per registration.
 
In addition to the Finance Working Committee, Marketing Working Committee, Governance Working Committee and Research Committee, the EODSA has now stood up three (3) other working committees: (1) The Membership Working Committee which will be addressing membership criteria that will look to developing an environment that will promote a vibrant soccer economy where Clubs can build on their capacity and embrace a greater inclusion of our entire Eastern Ontario soccer community; and, (2) The Competitions Working Committee which will be addressing how best to deliver a league servicing model based on an economy of scales, enhanced Club representation, and streamlined administrative processes. In the case of the work being undertaken by these two (2) working committees (Membership and Competitions), their proposals will be shared with all of our members during an upcoming "borough meeting" in early September for comprehensive feedback and consideration. Once we have a general consensus, an endorsement from the Governance Working Committee, and the BoD's approval, we will be calling for an SGM and a membership vote to approve the requisite changes to our EODSA Governance documents. 
 
 
The third working committee that I wish to announce is our Diversity Working Committee. This committee is dissimilar to other EODSA working committees in that its composition is pluralistic in its essence and not soccer centric. Our Diversity Working Committee will bring together individuals from a University environment, the City of Ottawa, the EODSA membership and the Ottawa Public Health Department. As we have been confirming the participation of these community leaders, the EODSA has continued to expand its network of partners and I am pleased to announce that we will be collaborating with the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health, the Ottawa Police Service and the Catholic Centre for Immigrants in addressing the significant challenges of systemic racism. In the coming weeks we will have further announcements of how, through soccer, we will be looking to address these challenges and how we all can participate in becoming better educated in understanding the diversity gap and affecting real and sustainable change in becoming more inclusive. 
 
I wish to be clear that the role of the EODSA is that of an enabler. The District belongs to the membership and my engagement to all of you is one of complete transparency and inclusion to the extent possible. For this reason, your continued engagement in our working committees is paramount to a successful and inclusive EODSA. We will be holding another round of Town Halls by Club Licencing group in late August, at which time I will be looking for your views on the September AMM agenda put forward by Ontario Soccer as I will be attending these meetings (weekend of September 12) in person. Until then, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or Vicki should you have any questions or concerns.

Ralph

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