Surf Nation is comprised of like-minded coaches and administrators dedicated to our Surf mission to provide the best experiences and opportunities for their athletes. Since 2023, Washington East Surf has been a proud partner of Surf Nation, and we have thoroughly enjoyed the partnership, watching their amazing club grow and seeing them take full advantage of being under the Surf brand.

We sat down with Washington East Surf’s Chief Operations & Financial Officer, Jlynn Spitz to learn more about how Surf has helped their club, players, coaches, and administrators and their upcoming season goals:

What is the biggest value to Washington East Surf being part of the Surf Nation community?

One of the greatest benefits that Washington East Surf derives from being part of the Surf Nation community is the unwavering commitment to excellence. This affiliation raises the club’s standards, ensuring that players and families are integral to a broader mission of achieving greatness. By embodying both local and national ideals, Washington East Surf cultivates a culture that prioritizes high performance, unity, and continuous improvement. This connection instills a profound sense of pride and purpose, motivating everyone involved to pursue excellence both on and off the field.

Another significant advantage for WE SURF is the wealth of resources available for both staff and players. The access to national and international playing opportunities through Surf Select, as well as the chance to collaborate with other Surf clubs through player sharing programs, provides invaluable developmental pathways that standalone clubs cannot match.

What have been some of the Club highlights?

As we close out the 2023/2024 season, our club has experienced several significant highlights. We navigated our biggest and most challenging merger to date, achieving an impressive player retention rate of nearly 100%. This success can be attributed to the solid foundation we established before the merger and the strong culture we have cultivated over the past five years. Our focus on player development, staff support, and the continued recruitment of outstanding coaches has been instrumental in maintaining and growing our community. These efforts have not only ensured stability but have also enhanced the overall experience for our players and families.

Additionally, we’ve expanded our program offerings by adding Men’s and Women’s First Teams, ensuring that we provide comprehensive services to our community for all ages, from 4-year-olds to adults. Our alums and current collegiate players now have a place to come back to and continue their soccer careers, representing the Surf brand. This provides a seamless pathway for their development and maintains their connection to the club and community.

Furthermore, our Girls Academy and Elite Academy achieved notable success with two teams each—10G GA, 08G GA, 07B EA, and 05/06B EA—finishing the season as regional champions. Additionally, our 05/06B NPL team emerged as regional champions, alongside several other teams celebrating victories as champions of their respective local leagues.

The Club has recently delivered its First Club Summit – what were the main objectives going into the event followed by your biggest takeaways?

Our staff launched the 1st Annual NW Regional Summit on June 1, 2024, with the primary objectives of fostering collaboration, education, and the instillation of Surf Nation’s ideals among the staff from each club in our region. The summit aimed to ensure consistency, high expectations, and strong cooperation as we strive for excellence across our region.

The event included a grassroots licensing session and featured multiple keynote speakers, Gary Curneen, Chad Brown, and Leigh Veidman, the head coach of Spokane Velocity. It was a day filled with insightful discussions and expert presentations.

Our biggest takeaways from the summit were the enthusiasm and engagement from participants, highlighting the value of these gatherings. Looking ahead, we aim to have all clubs in our region attend and increase staff participation and contributions. We also plan to add operational sessions in future summits to further enhance the scope and impact of this event and not limit it to soccer staff.

Our ultimate goal is to provide exceptional sessions that mirror the robust content and excellent takeaways from the National Summit, which a few members from each club have had the privilege of attending.

Given the size and scope of Washington East and the recent merger – how would you best describe your current player development pathway?

Given the size and scope of Washington East and the recent merger, our current player development pathway can best be described as comprehensive and unparalleled. The merger was a crucial and necessary step to enhance our player development infrastructure, ensuring our players have access to top-tier opportunities right here in Spokane.

While we anticipated challenges, the merger was essential to consolidate the local talent pool, eliminating the need for players to seek higher-level soccer opportunities outside of Spokane. More importantly, the merger has strengthened our ability to attract and retain highly qualified coaches, providing our players with the best possible training and development.

Our pathway now offers a seamless progression from grassroots programs to elite competitive teams, with a clear focus on developing each player’s potential. This structure not only keeps our talent local but also creates a thriving soccer community where players can continuously grow and excel at every stage of their development.

As you prepare for the 24/25 season and coming out of tryouts what KPI’s have you set for the Club going into the new season?

As we prepare for the 24/25 season and reflect on our recent tryouts, we’ve set several KPIs that are critical for our club’s success. Building on our strong foundation of player and staff retention, this season marks a pivotal moment as we strive to maintain our trajectory towards excellence.

One of our primary focuses this season is enhancing our coaching resources. We’re emphasizing dedicated staff to coach development and education across all levels. Launching NW Regional Summit was in part to achieve this goal. Our initiative also includes continued emphasis on game and video analysis, as well as specialized fitness training like speed and agility programs. These efforts are not only aimed at improving team performance but also at quantifying our progress year-over-year.

Financial stability remains a cornerstone of our operations. While we’ve prioritized clean and stable financial practices from the outset, we recognize that relying solely on player registration fees post-merger is insufficient. Therefore, we’re intensifying our fundraising endeavors to expand our programs and ensure our coaches receive fair compensation. This aligns with our commitment to providing top-tier player development while maintaining reasonable fees for our families.

Our overarching goals for the season include excelling in fundraising efforts, maintaining high retention rates for players and staff, and continuously enriching our club’s offerings. These KPIs serve as our compass, guiding us towards sustainable growth, excellence, and comprehensive success throughout our organization.

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