Soccer, Baseball Clubs Unanimously Pass in Borough

The Chatham Borough Council was the first to approve the move to a club system for baseball and soccer teams.

With no comments from the public and limited discussion by Chatham Borough Council members, club systems were approved for youth baseball and soccer teams at Monday's council meeting.

Council President James Lonergan said over the past few years as he sat on the Chatham Joint Recreation Advisory Committee, he noticed two disturbing trends.

"I noticed over the past two or three years that I was protecting the coaches and the volunteers more than I should," he said.

Parent expectations have risen, he said, and since recreation sports teams "really are run by parents," Lonergan said the club system for sports will put more control in parents' hands.

The move is not without its conditions. Both Chatham Borough and Chatham Township governing bodies insisted "the rec department's philosophy is maintained" by any club sanctioned by the towns.

The philosophy of the recreation department has been that every child who wants to play a sport can play, regardless of skill, "provided there are enough volunteers," Lonergan said. In recent years as more and more children have signed up for youth sports, Lonergan said the number of volunteer coaches has dropped.

"You look at Jeannie Le Mon, who wasn't going to coach girls field hockey again this year," Lonergan said. "She was pressured into coming back because there was such a need. She has five kids. She shouldn't have to do that."

Even with Le Mon's return to coaching, Lonergan said, about 20 girls who signed up for field hockey had to be put onto a wait list.

Another 40 children of different ages who signed up for soccer were wait-listed because there were not enough coaches to form more teams, and because "we can't have 40 kids on a team," Lonergan said.

The two resolutions passed unanimously and without further comment from Mayor Bruce Harris, other council members or members of the public.

Duncan Munchkin September 27, 2012 at 03:08 PM
So this is how we do things in this town. We make decisions that affect 700+ kids, we implement them without public consent, and THEN we come back and ask the people if they have anything to say while we vote it through half-asleep (nice pic of Mayor Bruce BTW). This was clearly a tremendously premature decision by the Rec Dept. They dumped rec soccer on the club team like they were dumping Grandma at the Home because they didn't want to take care of her anymore. Also, Lonergan seems to be clueless that Chatham United relies on volunteer coaches, too. Nobody from the public showed up to speak because the season already started...but you know what people are saying? They are saying the Rec Director should be fired for turning over the local soccer program to an unprepared, overwhelmed, understaffed pseudo-club team. A "club" team with no phone number or names associated with "Contact Us." Not that I have anything specifically against CU. If this club team is going to be running the "town's" rec program, then they have to start being more responsive to the TOWN.
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