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Board of Directors

Iowa Soccer is led by a professional staff organized to provide educational, developmental and competition opportunities, in addition to administrative resources, support and processes for its affiliate organizations.  The five-member Board of Directors provides strategic vision and has ultimate fiduciary responsibility.  Most importantly, the board members are a lot like you...read on for some fun facts that will help you get to know them!

 


Cristy Hamblin, Chair

bod-cristy
 
Where are you from?
Indianola, IA
 
Did you play soccer growing up?
Nope.  That was something Pele played, but not American kids.
 
How did you get started in soccer?
Had kids that played and needed a coach.
 
Through the years, what has your involvement in soccer included?
Soccer mom, coach, club registrar, sideline referee (expert in my mind!)
 
When it comes to soccer, what "if I only knew then what I know now" advice do you have?
Start at a young age playing in the neighborhoods, fields, parks.
 
What were our best- and least-liked soccer experiences?
Dislike, parents that sat around griping but will not do anything to help.  Like, watching my children play and watching kids that truly enjoy the sport.
 
Craziest/worst weather you ever sat through watching your kid(s) play, or that you coached/refereed in?
Monsoon in Illinois.  I started the wave with the five fans that were at the game and slipped and just swam on the sidelines!
 
College/university you attended?
Iowa, Kirkwood, Mt. Mercy
 
Cyclone or Hawkeye...or???
Yes.  As long as it's an Iowa team.
 
Star Trek or Star Wars?
"Beam me up" Jenny/Ian/Nancy/Harold/Jane, as "I am your Father" (or mother, rather).  Why choose?!

Jock McDonald, Governance Chair

 
Where are you from?
 
bod-jock
 
Did you play soccer growing up?
 
 
How did you get started in soccer?
 
 
Through the years, what has your involvement in soccer included?
 
 
When it comes to soccer, what "if I only knew then what I know now" advice do you have?
 
 
What were our best- and least-liked soccer experiences?
 
 
Craziest/worst weather you ever sat through watching your kid(s) play, or that you coached/refereed in?
 
 
College/university you attended?
 
 
Cyclone or Hawkeye...or???
 
 
Your kids are done with soccer now, so why are you still involved?
 

Dorothy Pisarski, Treasurer

 
Where are you from?
Brooklyn, NYbod-dorothy
 
Did you play soccer growing up?
No, but I watched soccer.  I grew up in a by-gone era in a European traditional household where girls weren't allowed to play sports.
 
How did you get started in soccer?
My dad was a semi-pro goalkeeper and our whole family's life revolved around the "family of the team".  My earliest memories go back to his team's games and events.  I'm still good friends with the other kids whose dads played on that team and with whom we grew up together.
 
Through the years, what has your involvement in soccer included?
I'm a soccer brat and a soccer mom (my son plays in college).  I've been a referee more than 10 years.  I've had occasional stints as a team parent/coordinator.
 
When it comes to soccer, what "if I only knew then what I know now" advice do you have?
Since I grew up in an enclave of soccer afficionados I didn't realize how many people don't know the rules of the game.  If I could do it over again I'd probably explain more and enlighten parents whose children are just starting out.
 
What were our best- and least-liked soccer experiences?
Least: I watched a cleats-up slide that resulted in 17 stitches on the goalkeeper's face.  Best: All soccer is "best experience" in the moment.  Whenever two or more people are kicking a ball, having some fun and exercise, I get inspired.  I love especially to see a great creative move - it can be durng a rec. game or a pro game or any game inbetween.
 
Craziest/worst weather you ever sat through watching your kid play, or that you coached/refereed in?
When I began refereeing back east we weren't allowed to wear long pants during a game and I shivered through many frigid halves with snow falling.
 
College/university you attended?
I earned my bachelor's degree at Siena College and my master's at New York University.
 
Cyclone or Hawkeye...or???
I teach at Drake, so "go Bulldogs!"
 
Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Trek.  I was a Leonard Nimoy geek.
 
Your son is done with youth soccer now, so why are you still involved?
I was born into a soccer family.  I am not involved in the game just because my son played, rather he might have become interested in the game because of me!  I apreciate the opportunity to help the growth of the game with future generations of players and fans.  It is my pleasure to do so.

Craig Ladd

 

Where are you from?bod-Craig-Ladd
Jefferson, IA

Did you play soccer growing up?
Only in PE.  Soccer was not an organized sport when I was growing up, especially in small communities such as Jefferson.  The only thing I knew about soccer was Pele.

How did you get started in soccer and what has your involvement in the game been through the years?
I started coaching in 2000 when my daughter turned four and continued to coach until she graduated from high school in 2014.  I also joined the Board for Altoona Youth Soccer Association in 2006 serving as Director of Competition and then as President.

When it comes to soccer, what "if I only knew then what I know now" advice do you have?
Enjoy and cherish every minute you spend with your kids because it goes by very fast and before you know it, they graduate and move out of the house.

What were your best- and least-liked soccer experiences?
The best experiences are watching the kids develop, grow and become successful.  The worst is when the worst comes out in parents and players, as with any sport.

Craziest or worst weather you ever sat through watching your kids play, or that you coached/refereed in?
A downpour that lasted the entire game.  I have no idea how the kids played that game.

College/university you attended?
Drake University

Cyclone or Hawkeye or...???
I grew up near Ames and attended ISU football and basketball games as a kid, so I cheer for the Cyclones when ISU and Iowa are playing.  Otherwise, I like to see the four big school have a successful year, as it is great for our state.

Star Trek or Star Wars?
I enjoy both, but if I had to choose, I would pick Star Wars.


Joe Merchant

 

Where are you from?bod-Joe-Merchant
Iowa City

Did you play soccer growing up?
I played only informally in back yards, etc.  My family spent a year in England when I was in 4th grade and I think I caught the soccer bug there in London.  After returning to the states there weren't many soccer programs where we lived in North Carolina and West Virginia before moving back to Iowa in high school

How did you get started in soccer and what has your involvement in the game been through the years?
I began my association as coach for my son's U06 team and have since coached all three of my kids for multiple years up to the U10 age under the auspices of the Ames Soccer Club.  Also I was introduced to Board service for Ames Soccer Club by former president Bruce Babcock.  I continued in different capacities in the board until becoming President.  Soccer has been a fantastic sport for all my children and I have seen opportunities to play grow significantly over the last 30 years for boys, girls and adults.  This growth in opportunity has come in large part through the efforts of countless volunteers, like those I met on the Ames Soccer Club Board, working all over the state/country.

When it comes to soccer, what "if I only knew then what I know now" advice do you have?
Especially early on as a coach I got too competitive and too wrapped up in the outcome of my team's games.  I learned by watching many different teams throughout the years how kids develop at different speeds and how the game itself acts as the best teacher.  Therefore my main advice would be for adult coaches at the U10-below level to as much as possible remove your ego from the games and look at the process of practice and games as a continuous process of learning for players.  Winning or losing is beside the point in relationship to this long-term project of learning the game of soccer and learning how to be a contributor to a team.

What were your best- and least-liked soccer experiences?
My favorite experience was when as a coach of a U09 girls team I had a new player who arrived at her first game terrified to go onto the field. I tried asking nicely and tried to tell her that if she didn't go onto the field her parents would be disappointed, all with no luck. Then I asked her if she would play if one of our other players, a friend of hers, held her hand out on the field. This she would accept. Out they went and played midfield holding hands. After a short while on the field she forgot her anxiety about playing in front of so many parents and let go of her friend's hand and just played. This moment came near the end of my coaching career and for me was the very peak experience I ever had as a coach. 

My least favorite experience--unfortunately many times, has been to be on the sidelines of a game involving kids age 11-12 and hear parents and spectators yelling at their children or at the referee. At times parents have to be removed by the Center referee. This creates great angst on the part of everyone, especially the kids playing.

Craziest or worst weather you ever sat through watching your kids play, or that you coached/refereed in?
We have played tournaments in Cedar Rapids where there has been snow on the ground and have played Iowa Games in 100 degree weather. We have played in driving rain verging on sleet. I have been chased off fields by lightning and we have played in swarms of mosquitoes. Thank goodness the vast majority of games have been in very nice weather!

College/University you attended?
University of Notre Dame

Cyclone or Hawkeye or...?
Cyclone

Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars -- can remember seeing the first movie in the theater!

 

 
 
 

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