Demosphere Presents the 2016 VYSA Volunteer of the Year Award to Richard Smith

VYSA, award, NCSL, Richard Smith
Camille Cheatwood (Demosphere), Richard Smith (NCSL), Jay Baker (Demosphere)

This past Saturday, Demosphere attended the 2016 Virginia Youth Soccer Association Awards Gala to honor the VYSA Award winners, as well as the Virginia-DC Soccer Hall of Fame Inductees. It was a well-hosted gala attended by some of the top administrators, coaches, referees and volunteers in the state of Virginia.

This year, Demosphere was proud to sponsor and present the award for the 2016 VYSA Volunteer of the Year to Richard Smith, President of the National Capital Soccer League (NCSL). Richard also serves as a travel commissioner on the VYSA Board, and as a Region I Commissioner.

Demosphere has been partnered with NCSL for over 15 years and we were extremely proud to present the award to their President. Richard has helped propel the league forward with new ideas, strong leadership, and a focus on positive player development.

Congratulations to Richard, the other very deserving award recipients and all the VA-DC Soccer Hall of Fame inductees!

Usability Improvements for Managing Field Permits

Demosphere has recently made some significant usability improvements to streamline the workflow for users managing their field permits!

Adding and editing field permits no longer requires a page load so users can quickly and easily manage permits within one screen. This improvement greatly reduces the amount of time spent on managing this area of the system.

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Additionally, we’ve enhanced the interface of the list of permits by incorporating our Data Grid functionality, allowing users to quickly search, sort, edit, clone and even export all field permits:

NCSL

Demosphere is committed to continuous improvement of our systems to ensure we’re delivering leading-edge technology to all levels of users.

Looking for more improvements? Give us your feedback today by contacting support@blog.demosphere.com!

Best Practices for Selecting Vendor Partners for Youth Sports Organizations

vendor agreements youth sports contracts

Several years ago CIO.com published an article titled “How to Choose the Right Software Vendor”, which offers some valuable insight to help organizations decide on some of the most important relationships that impact their daily workflow.

The article breaks the decision-making process down into several important areas, which we further shed light on below, especially as it relates to the growing youth sports industry:

  • Figure out what it is you really need – Before talking with any potential new business partners, get your team together internally to discuss any current hurdles or challenges, along with desired improvements to your workflow. As Steven A. Lowe, Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks indicates, “If you know what you want, ideally separated into a must-have list and a nice-to-have list, it will be much easier to figure out if any given solution fits your business–and to resist ‘shiny’ things.” In simple words, make sure the solution you’re considering actually meets your needs.
  • Check the software provider’s credentials and certificates – This is especially important in today’s volatile youth sports technology market. With the amount of consolidation, acquisition and unfortunate failure; it’s crucial to understand the foundation of the companies you’re partnering with: How long have they been in business? How has their technology grown over time? What types of partnerships do they have? Are they PCI Certified? How sound is their infrastructure? What is their data model and how will they protect your member data?
  • What do other customers have to say? This may likely be one of the most critical questions. Ask for references and find out how long they’ve been a customer, how their technology needs are being met, and how supportive, responsive and knowledgeable their team is. Chat with other organizations in your network to find out what the company’s reputation is.
  • Can it scale? This is an important question as it relates to future growth and emerging technology; has the company shown the ability to scale over time to meet market demands and to grow with your evolving needs? Malcolm Cowley, CEO of the Performance Horizon Group, hits the nail on the head when he said, “The last thing CIOs and other technology decision-makers want to be faced with is the need to re-evaluate and invest in a new solution two or three years down the road, when the existing system can’t handle the company’s emerging needs.” Before talking about price, first make sure the solution will meet your needs, both now and according to your growth plan. If the solution doesn’t meet your needs, cost is irrelevant.
  • Check for hidden or additional fees. Make sure you understand the full financial impact of the partnership:
    • Evaluate setup fees, recurring fees, and usage fees such as per player/per team fees.
    • If you’re processing online transactions, it’s imperative to calculate the total cost of credit card transaction fees – not only the various percentages across card types, but also per transaction fees, monthly gateway/account fees, etc.
    • Review the fine details of the agreements’s termination clause. Are you locked in for multiple years? Are there any early termination fees?
    • Equally important is to understand any additional fees you may incur due to any software deficiencies you uncover. Will there be any third party costs you’d have to incur to fill any gaps? Will there be any extra hard or soft costs due to lack of integration across platforms?
  • Who gets custody of your data? Most especially in the world of youth sports where member data has turned into a perceived “gold rush” of the current decade, it’s important to remember that your organization owns your member data (or at least you should). Be sure to find out before you enter into a new vendor agreement what they will do with your valuable member data while you’re a client, as well as after you leave. These are crucial questions to ask to ensure protection and privacy of your members.
    • What is the vendor’s privacy policy?
    • Will they use your member data for financial gain?
    • Will they market to or sell off your data?
    • How easy will it be to get access to your data after you move on?
    • Will there be a fee to obtain your data once the partnership is over?
  • Take a test drive. Now that you’ve had a chance to identify with your team what your must-haves and nice-to-haves are, make sure the software you’re considering meets your needs. Go through a full demo of how the tools will address your specific needs. Ask the vendor if they will provide access to a demo site, or if there’s a free trial option that will allow you to test the system before you commit to pay.

Navigating the waters of vendor research can be cumbersome and even frustrating at times, but these steps will guide you to help ensure you’re making the best decision possible, given the specific needs of your organization.

Demosphere has been serving the youth sports community since our humble beginnings in 1990, and we commit to bringing experience, authenticity, integrity and a strong sense of community to the conversation. If you’re interested in evaluating integrated solutions to help solve some of your complex technology needs, we invite you to contact us today!


Demosphere’s mission is to provide authentic, industry-leading technology solutions for organized sports, accommodating the needs of all levels of organizations, and all levels of users, with an ethical approach in how to impact the greater community.

 

Post-NSCAA 2017 Recap

NSCAA 2017

Demosphere attended the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Convention (NSCAA) in Los Angeles last week and we’re still recovering from a whirlwind of a trip! Our team pulled off an amazing feat to prepare for the convention and bring everything together in order to have such a successful experience at a convention that large.

Demosphere has attended the NSCAA for 14 years and this was one of the best yet! Despite the anticipation that a West Coast show would not be as heavily attended, this year’s event was the second-most well-attended convention in the organization’s 76-year history – pretty amazing!

This annual event is by far the best networking event in the soccer community; a who’s who of soccer in the United States, and the growing momentum in 2017 was palpable. The week began with the annual Women in Soccer Symposium where a collection of highly respected contributors come together “to celebrate diversity in the beautiful game as it acknowledges the long road ahead to equality”.

Later in the week attendees had an opportunity to see the live draft for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), as well as the 2017 SuperDraft for Major League Soccer, along with hundreds of educational sessions geared toward soccer coaches, hosted by both NSCAA and U.S. Youth Soccer.

Several award ceremonies throughout the week also honored various members of the soccer community, including one of Demosphere’s longtime friends, Louise Waxler, Executive Director of McLean Youth Soccer and one of our newest friends, Greg Mauch, boys coach at Canterbury School in Fort Wayne, IN; both of whom received a Long-Term Service Award for their contributions and service to both the NSCAA and the game. Tennessee Soccer Club’s (TSC) Ronnie Woodard also took home the prestigious Coach of the Year Award – TSC has been a valued customer of Demosphere’s for many years, initially beginning in 2003, years before their re-brand into the Club they are today.

During our many conversations throughout the week, a few things were clear: soccer in the U.S. is growing at a rapid pace, the community is still trying to figure out how things will evolve (most especially from the top down), and the youth sports market specifically is looking for a more integrated way to handle their growing technology needs to allow them to focus on what they do best: creating and growing programs dedicated to the development of our youth.

Demosphere is dedicated to serving these needs, and our mission is clear:

To provide authentic, industry-leading technology solutions for organized sports, accommodating the needs of all levels of organizations, and all levels of users, with an ethical approach in how to impact the greater community.

Through experience, authenticity, integrity and a strong sense of community, we’re excited to continue serving the needs of youth sports organizations for many more years to come.

Thank you to NSCAA, U.S. Youth Soccer and all the amazing members, attendees, exhibitors and contributors we had the pleasure of connecting with last week!

 

There is a layer of the atmosphere where we all live, work and play…where all global activity occurs, and where together we share in the spectacle and triumphs of participatory sports.

Sports thrive in the demosphere®

 

WebWriter® Content Management System Improvements

With this week’s production release, Demosphere has made several usability enhancements to the WebWriter content management system for managing Demosphere youth sports websites. We’ve based these updates on feedback from our users:

Image and file management just got easier with the ability to delete multiple files at one time in the File Manager view. To use this feature, click in the checkboxes located next to each file name you want to remove and click the red Delete Checked Files button:

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Remove any unused calendar event tags in the WebWriter Events Calendar view by clicking on the red trash icon, located next to each Event Tag Filter located to the left of the full calendar view. Deleting an Event Tag will remove all associated events from the calendar and from all displays on the public website:

website-calendar-event-management

Demosphere relies heavily on the feedback of our members to help ensure our products and services best meet the needs of our clients. Please be sure to provide any feedback/suggestions to us at support@blog.demosphere.com.