Louise Waxler on being a "Soccer Person"
Louise Waxler is widely recognized and respected for her experience running youth and professional sports as well as soccer events. She served as Director of the Washington Area Girls Soccer Tournament 1999-2001 and as Director of Operations for the WUSA Washington Freedom from 2001-2003.
In 2006, Louise was elected as the 58th President of the NSCAA, serving as only the third female president in the 69-year history of the organization. In 2009, she was the Director of Operations for the WPS Washington Freedom and led the Philadelphia Independence as the General Manager in 2010. That same year, she was also the recipient of the NSCAA Women's Committee Award of Excellence.
Louise took some time to share a little bit of her NSCAA journey with us:
“Soccer Mom” entered America’s pop lexicon in the last decade; it has been used with both admiration and dismissal. Many women would cringe saying, “I started my soccer career as a soccer mom.” However, I am proud to say that being a “soccer mom” set me on a path that has made soccer the core of my professional life.
I have always been committed to the philosophy that soccer is all about the kids. We coach, administer, referee and otherwise serve to offer America’s soccer playing youth greater opportunities than have ever been available before. I’ve always had two goals as it relates to soccer: 1) I want to see our youth have the opportunity to play at the professional and world level. However, it has equally been my goal to 2) see that every youth player have such a wonderful experience that, even if their playing career goes no further than their neighborhood recreational team, they will be lifelong fans of the game we all love. I believe coaches at every level are the key to accomplishing both of these goals; that’s why I became involved with the NSCAA.
As a part of the NSCAA, I heard the term “soccer person” used and I wondered just how one becomes a “soccer person.” Some have a very narrow definition, that the “soccer person” must have played and/or coached the game. However, I became the first president of the NSCAA that has not been a coach. Thus, I believe that there are many ways to serve the good of the sport that we all love. For 12 years, I served on the NSCAA Board of Directors, representing the youth and women’s soccer perspective. During that period, I also appreciated the cooperation of my fellow board members who understood how all of the levels of our sport, as well as individuals with vastly different experience levels, can work together.
I believe that soccer’s greatest strength is its tremendous diversity. Our definition of what makes a “soccer person” should be inclusive, recognizing all who give their time, talent and passion to growing the game in so many different ways. From coaches to referees, to administrators and parents who spend long hours organizing clubs, tournaments and state associations: everyone is important and everyone does their part to grow the game we all love. I firmly believe that the potential power of soccer cannot be achieved until all levels of the game link together to accomplish the greatest possible success for our sport in America.
A key goal during my term as president was to insure that, as an organization, we continued to be inclusive, inviting all to work with us. In my years with the NSCAA, I always believed in leaving individual political hats at the door. The NSCAA is one of only a tiny handful of organizations in American soccer that can truly claim to be a Switzerland in the game. When I joined the NSCAA and attended my first convention, I was greeted with a warmth and acceptance that I hope we will always maintain as part of our organizational culture.
The NSCAA did and continues to offer its support and enthusiasm to all levels of the sport in every way possible. I will continue to commit my time, my energy, and my enthusiasm to this association that allowed me, a “soccer mom,” to make a small difference in our sport.