Hi again, and thanks for being a part of the Richmond FC family through our winter/fall program.
We thought it might be a good time to touch base with our members to ensure everyone is informed about the multitude of things happening as the new season opens, so this is our club update for the upcoming season.

FIELD STATUS
As you may have noticed, it’s getting a little squeezy for some age groups on our city-assigned fields. As a club we’ve increased our registration numbers this season, which is great considering we’re still working through Covid and many organized sports are facing annual declines in numbers.
Unfortunately, this season is the first in which the city of Richmond is using a new ‘matrix’ to outline how many field hours to allocate to teams. We asked for 60+ hours per week as a club but, facing increasing field requests from for-profit groups, academies, and even teams from outside the city, our needs were assessed at under 50 hours a week by the city, before granting us under 60 to start the season, but with some age groups being asked to have three teams share a single training field as our facilities are trimmed back.
We’ve been in discussions with the city about this for the last month and have outlined the academy sessions, goalkeeping training, coaching clinics and CSA standards requiring half field training for U11’s and up that haven’t been taken into consideration with the new city matrix, and they’re working with us to find new spaces.
We anticipate this situation will be addressed in the coming week in a meaningful way and ask for your patience in the meantime while we continue to address the shortage. Clearly, if our club continues to grow as it is (we added two new teams of kids in just the last week!), this congestion will become a bigger issue, so finding a solution is a club priority.

UNIFORMS
You will have all hopefully received your new playing kit by now, with new sponsors and colours (no more white shirts, throw away your bleach!), and hopefully everyone is happy with them. We have had some reports of incorrect sizing and those are being addressed, and we also came in short on shorts but have new supply arriving any day. Tim Hortons were very gracious to fit out our entire compliment of young teams, and The Gaming Stadium, Coho Commissary, and our car lottery partners, Go Auto Columbia Chrysler, helped for the older age groups.
We’re not done bringing new sponsors to the club just yet and have some discussions underway that will add more value to your fall/winter program fees in due course.

THANKSGIVING TOURNAMENT
Our holiday weekend tournament, sponsored by The Gaming Stadium, will be free for all of our teams, so you’re encouraged to make plans to play a lot of football that weekend. This will be our 28th season of the tournament and this year includes girls teams, which should allow our city and community to put on a great show.
To make that happen, however, we’re going to need volunteers to do things like set up and take down nets, deliver corner flags, welcome out of town families, hand out t-shirts, keep track of scores, and more.
Without a volunteer crew this event can’t happen so if you can help with a few hours, please email Tania at admin@richmondfc.ca and raise your hand. Thousands of people from all over BC descend on Richmond for this tournament, and it’s a heck of a good time for our kids and kids from elsewhere, so we’d love for you to help us welcome them all.
A lot of youth sports organizations require volunteer hours from parents as a basic part of their programs, something RFC has never done, mostly because when we really need you, you’ve always shown up in numbers. Let’s do that again and represent the island city!

REFEREEING
RFC has always been a big employer of local teenagers who have qualified as official BC Soccer referees but, unfortunately, this year BC Soccer has had some turnover with their head ref and ref scheduler, and their online scheduling system is not functional. This has impacted every district and led RFC to have to bring on a ref coordinator at the zero hour, rebuild referee lists from scratch, and hit the phones to ensure games don’t have to be forfeited due to lack of officials.
Big thanks to Tania and David for going through old emails and pay slips to rebuild our system, and to Mike Lynch for pounding the phones.
The upside is, when we’re done reorganizing we’ll not face this issue again. The down side is, it’s a lot of work and BC Soccer has absolutely left the clubs stranded as of this moment.
If you’ve reffed in previous years and would be happy to help, or have ref qualifications but have never reffed in Richmond before, please email David at td@richmondfc.ca to let him know.
We will be minting new refs as a means to ensure we’re not reliant on other entities going forward, so if your teenager would like to learn, and earn decent money, refereeing, keep an eye out for communications about how to become qualified shortly.

COACHING THE COACHES
You may have seen a note on our website that we have flown in Scott Guy, a youth coaching development professional from the Scottish FA, to help run some coaching development courses for RFC.
Scott will be running attacking principles clinics on Thursday afternoon at Hugh Boyd Red for any coach who would like to level up their skills in that area, and will be back Friday to do more general coaching development.

Schedule:
Proactive Attacking clinic on Thursday September 16 at Boyd Red from 5.30pm to 6.30pm for all U7-U12 coaches
Proactive Attacking clinic on Thursday September 16 at Boyd Red from 7pm to 8pm for for U13 to U18 coaches
General coaching clinics for young age groups at Boyd Red on September 17 at 5pm to 5.45pm for U4 to U6 coaches, and 6pm to7pm for U7 to U12s.
RFC has made a commitment to develop not just great young players, but great young coaches and officials, and this is part of our plan to grow our club, community, and the game in our city.
No booking is necessary, just show up and be ready to learn.

INDIGENOUS OUTREACH
This past month, several of our coaches travelled to the Tsleil Watauth Nation and ran free coaching clinics, partnered with Hope and Health, for indigenous children. You’ll note the #ChangingLives on the back of our training wear, which is a nod to organizations working to connect with First Nations children in a meaningful way.
As a club, we’re dedicated to being more than just a group that tosses balls onto a field and teaches passing drills. We believe sports can help unify, heal, engage, educate, and develop our children in lifelong ways. I know my family has benefited from my teenage goalie learning leadership, the benefit of hard work, social cues, and community through his years with RFC, and as we roll into 2022, we’ll be doing more on this front to serve not just our core membership, but those who we can bring those values to.

CLUB SHOP
The RFC Macron club shop is open at https://richmondfc.itemorder.com/sale – please check out the available options and place your orders ASAP. We’ve subsidized the club packages to keep prices down and, though we recognize that the packages we announced earlier in the year aren’t exactly the same as those we’ve been able to offer now, we hope that the free uniforms, socks, shorts and the package subsidies will help everyone feel like they got a good deal with the offerings. There is currently a global shortage of textiles that saw our uniforms arrive at the last minute before we would have been in a mild panic, so we’re doing the best we can with what’s available.
If you’re not happy for any reason, please email me directly at chris@richmondfc.ca and I’ll help sort things for you.

FEEDBACK
We’ve received some really encouraging feedback this past few weeks from parents who are happy with how things are shaking out, and some with constructive criticism on how we can do better. All of these communications are very well received and, where necessary, acted upon.
We know, with over a thousand kids registered, there are going to be things that fall between the cracks. It’s important that we hear about that when it happens so we can take action. Please know offense is never taken when you have ideas, suggestions, criticisms or complaints, as long as they’re coming to us in a way that allows us to make positive changes and get better as a result.

Thanks everyone. See you on the field.
Chris Parry
RFC Chair