Thursday, September 23, 2010

Youth Soccer tries to bounce back in Healdsburg, California

While Healdsburg Police Officers investigate claims of embezzlement in the Healdsburg Youth Soccer League, board members are doing everything they can to ensure the kids aren’t affected by the sudden lack of resources.New youth soccer league president Aziz Zhari said that while he can’t discuss the details of the case due to the pending police investigation, he did say the club is $25,000 to $30,000 in debt and they are struggling to “clean up this thing,” he said.“Right now it’s a mess,” Zhari said this week. “He’s left us a lot of stuff that we have to take care of,” he said, referring to former board president Kyle Hoffman, who board members have accused of embezzling the funds that pay for soccer balls, uniforms, nets and other essential equipment.According to Healdsburg Police Lt. Kevin Young. “[The Healdsburg Youth Soccer League] has made a request for us to look into some concerns they have over the financial dealings,” he said. “We are in the process right now of reviewing the case and are awaiting financial information.” Young declined to name the party accused of embezzlement.But Zhari said the damage has already been done. “We don’t charge much. We charge each kid $110,” Zhari said. “We pay the city $30 and we use the rest to buy balls, nets, cones, uniforms, so there’s nothing left.”Zhari approached the City of Healdsburg at Monday night’s city council meeting to ask for some help in the form of a fee reduction.Zhari said while he understood the city is under strenuous financial times as well, he hoped Healdsburg could reduce the field maintenance fees by 25 or 50 percent.Councilmembers were unable to discuss the item that was not on the agenda, but did agree to discuss it at their next meeting on Oct. 4.Zhari said they are scheduling fundraisers and some organizations have already stepped forward to help the struggling non-profit organization.The San Jose Earthquakes donated $1,000 to the club, and also gave the organization $4,000 worth of tickets to the Oct. 20 Major League Soccer game, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to the HYSL.“We are getting buses so people don’t have to drive down to San Jose,” Zhari said.Adidas has also agreed to sponsor the Healdsburg league, donating 125 soccer balls and 150 jerseys.The club has about 300 kids participating this year, down from more than 700 just a few years ago.“The board just didn’t take care of some stuff,” Zhari said of the decline.But when approached by fellow board members two months ago when questions arose about the former president’s alleged misuse of funds, Zhari said there was no question the league had to continue providing for the kids.“When we heard about this, some of the board quit and some thought they should cancel the season, but we can’t let the kids down, what are they going to do, watch tv?” he said.
Zhari then stepped up from his position as Director of Coaches to League President to try to straighten things out.“I was always on the field and never got involved with the paperwork,” he said. “But now I am and now we are doing meetings every month to clean things up.”

No comments:

Post a Comment