A New Chapter for NCYS

by Wayne B. Moss –  

I am excited to be the relatively new National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) Executive Director.  I took the reigns from Sally Johnson in July 2018.  I owe a great debt to Sally for all that she has done for being a champion of youth sports.

I will be penning a blog here regularly.  It’s my hopes to provide our perspective on youth sports.  To give you a glimpse into the future, it’s important I think, to share a little about myself.  I am a youth sports parent.  I have a 16-year-old son, Na’im, who is a high school wrestler and lacrosse player.  He has aspirations of playing collegiately and in his quiet moments will admit that he wants to be a professional lacrosse player (I’m selfishly rooting for you @PaulRabil – I need your new league to succeed so these youngsters can earn a living).

Like many of you, I spend lots of time as an Uber driver, chef and chief bottle washer.  There have been countless hours of waiting at practice, cheering at games and doing countless tasks that go unappreciated by my son.  I am thrilled when Na’im has success and feel his pain when he has disappointments.  I want my son to succeed, not just in sports, but in life.  I’m no different than you. I am you.

That is why I am excited about this new journey I’m on.  After 15 years with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, I have the privilege and the responsibility of leading the NCYS.  We have been in the forefront of advocating for youth sports.  We have used our influence for legislative purposes.  We have been a leader in background screening for employees and volunteers before it was popular.  Thanks to Sally, the NCYS has become a trusted leader in speaking on behalf of the youth sports industry.

None of that will change.  We believe that youth athletes have the right to play. And play should take place in a wholesome and supporting environment.  Youth athlete safety may be the most critical issue of our time.  You will see us doubling down on youth athlete protection, coaching training, social and emotional skill development for athletes and parent education.  The three areas we will focus our attention on include advocating for youth athletes, educating coaches, parents and the general public and connecting youth sports organizations to the tools and resources they need to do what they do best – to help youth athletes play.

I don’t want to be the old guy telling kids to stay off my lawn … Or lament the days when I walked to school five miles in the snow both ways.  But times have changed.  The landscape of youth sports is different.  Sandlot play is gone.  Access is limited for our most vulnerable.  Youth sports is a $15 billion-dollar industry with travel sports playing a significant role.  We must change too if we want our youth athletes to grow physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively.

We will tackle issues such as the role and benefits of youth sports, sports specialization, the widening gap of haves and have nots, long-term athlete development just to name a few.  We seek to be the one-stop resource for your various needs.  We seek to be inclusive and join forces with those who align with us in our mission of making youth sports safe and accessible to all.  We wish not to compete with the good work that’s already happening.

You can count on us for our honesty and sincerity.  We may not always agree.  However, I welcome a healthy dialogue.

Our youth athletes future ride on it.