Archive for October, 2010

$100k Embezzlement from Youth Soccer Club Not Uncommon

Posted by Noel on Thursday, 7 October, 2010

Brian Molloy, 38, of Farmington, MI was arraigned Monday on one count of embezzlement from the Livonia City Soccer Club. The theft of over $100,000.00 was reported to police by two of the club’s board members on Sept. 17.  The soccer club’s board removed Molloy from his post Monday, the same day the group sent a letter explaining the situation to parents, according to board member Joe Bauman.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement

What makes this even more unfortunate, is that this is not an uncommon occurrence amongst youth soccer organizations. I have had the honor and pleasure of working closely with soccer clubs and youth organizations for a little over twelve years now in my job. In that time I have been told of a few, granted smaller, embezzlement cases against youth leagues.

What I have found most interesting in hearing these stories is that most of the time, the embezzler is not your classic villain. They usually start off like any other board member, as a volunteer with kids in the program, a volunteer who earns respect and is highly regarded. But in some cases, times get tough and the volunteer, seeing an account with thousands of dollars in it,  takes just a little (at first) with the full intention of paying it back. As smaller amounts become larger amounts, like $100,000.00 in Malloy’s case, paying it back becomes impossible.

The part of these stories that is most striking to me is that most times, while the embezzler is deservedly shunned and punished by the leagues, they are often not reviled. Sure, I’ll hear things like, “idiot”, “what was he thinking” and “he screwed us”, but rarely do I hear of a story where there isn’t some understanding, despite the severe disappointment.

To be fair, this is the first embezzlement case I’ve heard of in a long while as leagues and clubs have put several measures in to protect Board members from themselves. Polcies such as two signature checks, no automatic monthly debits of any kind and monthly auditing of accounts. But where there is a loophole it seems that some people just can’t help themselves. In the case of Molloy, he pulled off the embezzlement because two different soccer clubs in Livonia merged and one of the club’s accounts, which accepted online registration fees, was never closed. This account accumulated money, which was quietly purloined by Molloy.

This whole situation is a complete disaster but the club has pledged to its players and parents that their experience will not be affected by it. Hopefully we’ll never hear one of these stories again.

Portable Soccer Goal Safety

Posted by Noel on Tuesday, 5 October, 2010

The topic of soccer goal safety is abuzz in the news today as CBS aired a report in regards to how you can make portable soccer goals safer. With that report in mind, there are a few important safety points that need to be considered when shopping for a soccer goal whether it be portable or permanent. Of course, as this is the Duralite Soccer Goal Blog, you will have to forgive us for highlighting how the Duralite Soccer Goal meets these requirements.

Tipped Soccer Goal

Tipped Soccer Goal

Weight

Steel is a very sturdy and strong material that is exceedingly cheap. Unfortunately it is also dangerously heavy. Whether a soccer goal is permanent or portable, a reasonably thick and durable length of aluminum is a much safer option. Aluminum weighs nearly one-third as much as steel, meaning that in the unlikely event that a goal should tip over, the result would be 80 pounds collapsing as opposed to about 230. This is the difference between a broken bone or death (steel) and a bruise or possible concussion (aluminum). Neither is ideal but the latter is certainly the more preferable option. Duralite’s 8′ x 24′ portable soccer goal weighs only 60lbs.

Anchoring

Any soccer goal that is made by an accepted manufacturer such as Kwik Goal, Duralite, Fold-a-Goal or Goal Oriented, to name a few has a solid anchoring system in place as part of the soccer goal’s design. There are several ways to anchor a soccer goal, some are more costly than others, but at the very least outdoor goals should include locking stakes that drive into the ground or a sand bag kit. Indoor goals should have a weighted back bottom bar and anchor bags. The Duralite portable soccer goal includes an “X-Cross” stake anchoring system that, while simple, is incredibly effective. Two 10″ stakes go through the rear of the ground posts at a 45 degree angle. They then cross underground and create an “X” that locks the goals into place.

Design

A good soccer goal is designed with a plan to mitigate the possibility of the goal causing damage. For every type of soccer goal whether permanent, semi-permanent or portable, there are ways to make the goal safer. A permanent soccer goal on a turf field can have an underground locking system with chains and cement. An indoor soccer goal can be built into the framework of the indoor field itself and a semi-permanent goal that is moved around the field can have a weighted back-bottom bar with increased length on its ground supports to keep the goal from tipping. When shopping for a soccer goal, study the literature on the manufacturers brochure or website and find out what design plan was used to ensure that the goal does not fall over. If you cannot find one, call the company and ask. Duralite’s portable goals are actually designed so that they will not stand into position unless they have been properly anchored. Once anchored they will not move out of position until the anchors have been removed. This removes the possibility of distracted or lazy set up.

Some great sources of information on the topic include Anchored for Safety, USCPSC Guidelines for Movable Soccer Goal Safety, USCPSC Safety Alert.

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