After nearly 15 years and countless hours of dedication, president of Alaska Youth Soccer, Joe Ver, has decided to step down to spend more time with his family.
Through the years Ver has strived to expand Alaska Youth Soccer’s relations throughout the entire state, and to further coaching education programs believing in the importance of good coaches to successfully develop Alaska’s players. Ver’s devotion to Alaska Youth Soccer is demonstrated by his pride of all Alaska players who have made it professionally or achieved their soccer accomplishments. In addition to his service locally, Ver has given impact to US Youth Soccer Region IV and US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup.
Read on to find out more about Ver in this US Youth Soccer Q&A:
Q: How did you become president of Alaska Youth Soccer?
A: I moved to Alaska in 1980 on the ‘5-year plan’ and I fell in love with the place. I only played soccer in junior high but later got involved because of my kids…volunteering. In ‘98 I was a local board member for the Juneau Soccer Club. I was at an Annual General Meeting (AGM), and found out the president of Alaska was resigning. The vice president became president. One of the board members said, “We’ve never had anyone from south east Alaska on the executive board,” so I was volunteered and got elected to vice president. In ’99 the president left so I became president by default. I attended a meeting in San Francisco (which is where I grew up) and met both Dr. Bob Contiguglia and Virgil Lewis. and I ended up talking to both of them for a long time. They said, “Most of the board members were impressed by how you ran a meeting during State Cup.” I said, “I run a lot of meetings at my regular job for the State of Alaska.” I came back home and people convinced me to run and I was elected.
Q: What is your proudest achievement?
A: I really don’t consider anything I’ve done as an achievement because I’d rather credit that to the people that I’ve worked with. I give credit to my board, both past and present. Also to my current executive director and all the coaches on our staff. I may have provided the leadership, but everything that’s been done I’d rather credit to my board and everyone else.
Q: What would you like to see happen for Alaska Youth Soccer in the future?
A: It has been a long run which I’ve enjoyed and helped Alaska Youth Soccer understand the big picture of soccer with the Region, US Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Federation. The person who is now president [Polly-Beth Odom] has new ideas and has been vice president. I consider her a person who will get clubs more involved.
Q: What is your fondest memory?
A: Something I really liked…in 2002, I was the Region IV representative when the ‘84 Boys team went to Australia. And last year, at a game celebrating U.S. Soccer’s 100th anniversary, Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain sat right behind me and I was talking to them. Those are pretty good memories.
Q: What will you miss the most?
A: I’ll miss the networking. I’ve made a lot of friends. The first time I went to a meeting someone asked me, “Oh you’re from Alaska?” I told him it took me almost two days to get there. Since I was from Alaska I think people would gravitate towards me. I made friends in all the different regions and with different presidents.
Q: What do you plan to do now?
A: I’m going to continue substitute teaching, that’s been my job since I’ve retired, and I’ll probably do more volunteer work in Juneau. I’ll probably go to Europe during the summer. Also, I want to be with my three kids. They all played soccer. I thought my kids would play either basketball or run track, since I ran track at the University of San Francisco, but they said, “We want to play soccer,” and I said, “Ok.”
Q: What are your future soccer plans?
A: This does not mean I will disappear from youth soccer. I’m on the Alaska Youth Soccer Association board now as past president. I’m sure even after a couple years I’ll probably still do soccer stuff. I have been asked by the acting president to attend the U.S.S.F. AGM in New York at the end of Feb., and I will still be involved with the Region IV Workshop in the fall.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to friends, co-workers or US Youth Soccer members?
A: I just want to thank everyone who I’ve met throughout the years from all over the United States for their friendship and advice. From networking, I picked up a lot of great ideas that I passed along. I have valued your advice which has helped me in moving Alaska Youth Soccer Association in the right direction. Thank you again for your friendship through the years.
Thanks again Joe!