Taking over as president of a youth sports club as big and as well-known as the Ballistic United Soccer Club is certainly a daunting task.
Ballistic is known across the country and known in a very positive light. It's a tall order to be the president of the club, but it's a chance for someone to continue to make a positive impact on youth soccer players in the city of Pleasanton.
Now the responsibility falls to Scott McMillin.
The former Ballistic United and Amador Valley High (1981 graduate) player came to town with his family in 1973 from Fresno where he started to play soccer. Once he got to Pleasanton, his eyes were opened to how big youth soccer had become.
"Playing in Ballistic was something different altogether," said the 56-year-old McMillin.
The key for Ballistic that recently celebrated its 50th anniversary is that there have been only five presidents who came before McMillin. Having that consistency allows for policies to be implemented and developed, instead of changing leadership every two or three years and starting over again.
There's certainly been ups and downs for BUSC over the years, but the club has found itself in the last 10 to 12 years. McMillin did his due diligence before taking the job, talking with people who have been associated with the club throughout the years, getting their feelings about everything that comes with the job.
He saw first-hand what BUSC can offer kids in Pleasanton as a player and wants to make sure the recent course for the club continues.
"We aren't just developing soccer players -- we are developing young men," McMillin said. "We're attempting to instill core values like accountability, aspiration, integrity, perseverance and sportsmanship that they will carry with them the rest of their lives."
That's what he and his brother Lennie took away from their time with BUSC. The BUSC board features some former players who are now paying it forward. That was vital in McMillin wanting to the BUSC president.
"In the end, I am a local guy and I care about this community," McMillin said. "Playing soccer growing up kept me out of trouble and provided me with some lasting personal characteristics as well as lifelong friendships. This is my opportunity to give back."
One of the challenges for local soccer clubs is to balance the high-level players along with the recreational players. The rec players are the grassroots and make up most of the club.
It can be tricky finding that balance, but at the same time, success, when found, is golden.
"I believe that every kid in Pleasanton can play at a level that matches their desire and skill ability," McMillin said.
I have known the McMillin family since they came to Pleasanton and can say without a doubt that Scott is perfect for the job. He wants the high-end teams to be powerhouses without sacrificing the rec program.
He knows the importance of making sure everyone gets what they are looking for in playing for BUSC. He also understands the importance of kids playing more than one sport, something I hold very dearly.
Playing different sports growing up allows kids to have more experiences, as well as keeping them from burning out by focusing on just one sport. That can be done through the rec program, but also for players seeking competitive soccer that doesn't go year-round.
Ballistic has a program in place for that and McMillin wants to make sure it reaches its potential.
"Our 'Select' program is underutilized. This is a great program where multi-sport athletes can play competitive soccer in the fall only," McMillin said. "It has been proven that multi-sport athletes are less susceptible to injury and fewer kids drop out as a result of 'burnout.'"
"If we can elevate this program, it will keep more kids playing soccer until they are ready to start eliminating some sports in their teens. My son plays in this program but also plays lacrosse, basketball and flag football and enjoys playing the sport that is in season," he added.
McMillin is hoping to keep kids playing soccer in town for everything the game has to offer.
"I hope to foster that among as many of the Pleasanton kids as possible so that we can reach our goal of developing young men to meet their full potential through the beautiful game of soccer," he said.