I am a big fan of autobiographies.
I have always believed that there is a great deal to be learned from the lives of others. Everyone makes mistakes, yet the most successful individuals are the ones who can turn those mistakes into learning experiences.
When it comes to success in sport, there are few who can rival the legendary basketball coach, John Wooden.
His 10 NCAA basketball championships in 12 years at UCLA is a record that will remain intact for all time. While it took 16 years for Wooden to win his first championship, over the next 12 years he was virtually flawless.
When someone as successful as Wooden speaks, it is a good idea to listen to what he has to say.
One of my favourite Wooden quotes: "Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."
Supporters of Canadian soccer would be wise to heed those words of wisdom.
New governance framework in the works
Failure to qualify for the World Cup since our lone appearance in 1986 has not been fatal for the game of soccer in Canada. In fact, the popularity of soccer has never been higher.
Failure to change, however, will ensure that we continue to struggle at the international level.
Big changes need to be made at the Canadian Soccer Association, and everyone knows it. The membership voted in favour of those changes at the 2010 annual general meeting in May, when it passed a motion for a new governance framework.
That new framework still needs to be written into the bylaws of the CSA, a process that requires a two-thirds majority in a vote by the membership.
Securing that two-thirds majority is by no means a sure thing.
Despite the obvious need for change, there are some who are not in favour of governance change. They either don't want to change for fear of losing their place at the trough of power, or they simply don't understand how the proposed changes will affect Canadian soccer for the better.
To help explain the process and the changes involved, the CSA's Constitution Committee has started a blog to answer any questions people have about the new governance framework.
The blog is not a forum for people to vent their frustration towards the CSA. It is a tool to educate and inform the membership, and to answer any questions or concerns that you might have about how the new governance framework will affect the game in Canada.
The members of the CSA's Constitution Committee will answer your questions about the framework as quickly as possible. Bear in mind that the members of the Committee are not employees of the CSA and all volunteer their time and effort. They will do their best to answer your questions promptly, but don't expect an instant reply.
For what it is worth, I am completely in favour of this change.
Time to move forward
The new governance framework will allow the CSA to move forward as an organization. A diversified board will bring experience and credibility to the game at the corporate level, which will in turn increase funding opportunities that are vital for the implementation of new programs.
We desperately need to put in place a development program that is widespread and far-reaching. We fail to identify all of the talented players in Canada because the current system requires that they travel extreme distances in order to be part of the program. Rather than bringing the players to the coaches, we need to bring the coaches to the players by restructuring our development system. Change is needed to make that happen.
I have put it to people like this: When a company is struggling and it needs to make changes to turn around its fortunes, where does it make those changes?
Does it bring in a new workforce at the ground level? Does it hire a new cleaning crew or new shop-floor workers? No. It makes changes at the top.
That is where individuals with vision and experience can make a real difference. Those individuals bring respect and credibility to an organization, which in turn revitalizes its chances of being successful.
That is exactly what Canadian soccer needs right now - change at the highest level. Because, in the words of John Wooden, failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.
If you have a question about the new governance framework, the link to the CSA Constitution Committee blog is here.
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