Pleasant Rage Girls Soccer Association (PGSA) has announced a large increase to player registration fees this year. I don’t recall the exact amount of last years' fees, but I believe they were approximately $185/player. There is no doubt these are challenging economic times for many, but I think such a large increase is unjustified and, quite frankly, price gouging. Our school district is asking for donations of $150 per student to offset budget cuts, but at least the school district has provided detailed explanation as to the jobs that will be saved and resources for our children that will be maintained by the donations. Pleasanton Rage has provided very vague and inadequate explanations for the required increase in fees. I realize playing a recreational sport is optional, but why should the extreme cost increase prevent the youth of our city in participating?
A fee increase of approximately $80/player is quite significant – not to mention the additional cost if the player plays flight or upper division. Considering many families have more than one child playing soccer, the increase per family is about $80-$240 more than last year. A family with three children playing soccer will cost about $700! That’s crazy for a recreational sport.
New Fee structure:
Registration Fees for D4 are as follows:
U5/6-U7: $245 1st player/$195 subsequent players
U8-U19: $265 1st player/$215 subsequent players.
Flight U12 and U14: $265 plus $125
The Pleasanton Rage Board provided the following explanation for the increase:
1.) "To avoid the confusion and lack of available uniforms that we had last Season, it has been decided that all of D4 will be wearing the RAGE orange and grey/white uniforms. This will increase our cost by $7-$10/player."
Included with registration, players receive new uniforms every year. Based on the above statement, are we to understand, ordering the SAME uniform color for ALL players will cost more than individual team uniforms?
2.) "Age groups U7/U8 receive training sessions at no extra cost to the recreational players. Being that we are utilizing the time and talents of our RAGE technical staff and staff costs have increased, a portion of this increase goes to try and compensate for the time the staff is taking for these sessions."
I don’t feel an approximate $80 increase in fees/player can exactly be considered ‘no cost’. And if this training is only for U7/U8, why spread the ‘cost’ over ALL age groups? Why not make the training fee-based and interested parents/players can choose to participate? Perhaps individual teams can fundraise to cover some or all of the training sessions to minimize the financial burden.
3.) "Rage has offered and will be offering Coaching Clinics to all Recreational Coaches, using our Technical Staff's time and talents again, as a way of improving the skills of our Coaches so that our players skills improve as well."
While these clinics are certainly nice to have, many of our parent coaches have been coaching for years and if the choice is between large fee increases and another coaches’ clinic, maybe we should consider alternate training methods or, once again, make the training fee-based - or even a fundraising goal by team. How much does each clinic cost exactly? $50 - $60/coach? Spread over a team of 11 girls, that is $5-6/player…still far from the estimated $80+ increase.
4.) Rage states that "after researching the registration fees of the other leagues in our area, RAGE has one of the lowest registration fees and yet, we are the League that is most well known and Nationally recognized."
Really?? Exactly which leagues in our area did Pleasanton compare against? And why would the costs of another league have any bearing on our fees anyway - shouldn't it be based on operating expenses and estimated income?
Based on my research, Rage fees are still the highest in the area.
2010 Registration Fees of Leagues in our area:
• Danville - $100 U6, $225 U7-U19
• Livermore - $170
• Dublin - $125 U5-U8, $155 U9-U19
• San Ramon – U5-U6 $105, U7 and up $170
Furthermore, the fact that our League is considered “well known” and “Nationally recognized” should not translate into a fee increase. 90% of the league is parent-coached on a volunteer basis.
5.) "Due to the budget cuts, the City may be forced to charge all Sports Leagues a field usage fee, which then increases our costs."
The key word here is ‘may’. The city has not yet announced any such increase. Does this mean an additional hike next year?
I understand there are about 1800 registered Rage players each year. At $260/player X an estimated 1800 kids = $468,000 annual budget...approximately $150k increase over last year's budget. Not to mention the additional income received from tournaments, Flight & Upper Division fees, etc. That seems more than enough to compensate our technical staff, order the same color uniforms for all and cover anticipated field usage fees.
I feel Pleasanton Rage, if nothing else, owes its members a more detailed explanation of exactly where the fee increase will be allocated. In a time when everyone is 'pinching pennies', it would be nice to see our town's recreational soccer organization doing all it can to keep sports affordable for the families in our community.