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Rec Sports Spotlight: Chrissy Elliott leaving big void within Freedom Soccer Club

Rec Sports Spotlight: Chrissy Elliott leaving big void within Freedom Soccer Club
Chrissy Elliott (Courtesy photo)

When Chrissy Elliott resigned from the vice presidency of the Freedom Soccer Club last month, she left a big hole in the operation.

Club president Tom Burgoon found out just how large that hole was when he and the rest of the club’s executive board looked for a successor.

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He writes, “When interviewing a new candidate, the rest of the board discovered how many tasks she was performing that others should be doing.”

That's a lot of tasks to farm out.

Like most recreation organization volunteers, she started small. The Eldersburg resident began nine years ago as the manager for her son Ryan's under-9 travel soccer team.

She handled the administrative duties such as registration, scheduling, making sure the team was where it was supposed to be during tournaments, updating the team’s portion of the FSC website and a zillion other odd jobs that have nothing to do with coaching the kids.

That allowed the team’s coach to concentrate on coaching. Which is why team managers are nice to have around.

“[Managers] play a huge role in FSC so the coach can coach and not have to worry about a lot of other things that are needed at the club level,” Elliott said.

However, like many rec jobs, her role expanded because she was good. Elliott took on greater and greater responsibilities. If there was a vacuum, she moved into it and gradually became a general purpose go-to person in all manner of things.

When daughter Devan was old enough, her Mom took over as coach of the the girls under-8 team in addition to her growing administrative duties.She was now also club vice president and a member of its governing board.

Early in her time as vice president, she was into pretty much everything administratively. What she had done for her son's team she now did for an organization with almost 500 soccer players. She scheduled practices, games, tournaments, fields and handled reams of paperwork pertaining to registrations, rosters and who knows what else.

In addition, Elliott helped with the Scrimmage Fest soccer tournament that FSC holds each August as a fundraiser.

Early in her term as vice president, there was no treasurer. So, she had to help out there. She conducted research to find the right bank to handle the club’s business. She also did book keeping.

Until the club found a fields supervisor, Elliott also assigned fields for games and practices. She also scheduled mowing and repairs.

“Sometimes, I had to go to fields at six or seven in the morning to see if they were playable,” Elliott said.

In time, others took on the treasurer and field maintenance supervisor jobs. But Elliott got her fingers into other pies.

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After brainstorming with others on proposed changes to the FSC bylaws, she wrote in the amendments including a new mission statement. She also worked with others on setting up subcommittees to handle various aspects of the club’s operation and assigning them their tasks.

She said May through July were her busiest months because that was when the club made most of its preparations for the upcoming season. During that time, she averaged three hours every day on FSC affairs.

And then there was her coaching side.

As her daughter's team coach she came from a mindset that went beyond merely teaching the fundamentals — which she did pretty well.

She had an enduring love for the game that she’d acquired on the high school fields in northern New Jersey and with the Penn State women’s varsity.

“I had passion, and I transferred my passion as well as teaching the fundamentals,” she said. “I really enjoyed teaching them. … They were a good group of girls, and they were driven players. It gave me a lot of pleasure to watch them grow and develop.”

Elliott said her daughter’s travel team was always competitive during the five years she coached it. In fact, it was ranked as one of the top 10 under-12 soccer teams in the state at one point.

Her husband Bill now runs the squad.

In 2017, Elliott started a dog-walking business, and it did well. That, plus the growing feeling that she needed to step back and take a break from her heavy commitment to soccer prompted her to announce her retirement. December was her last board meeting.

Elliott said she’s still transitioning out of her job, and she returns to helps her successors as they learn the ropes.

“I didn't want to drop the ball and run. I want to make sure everything's working before I leave,” she said.

She said for the time being she will help out on an as-needed basis.And, Elliott said she might come back in the future in a regular role — a smaller one.

Looking back, Elliott believes her greatest pleasures in her volunteer work were the people she met and satisfying her need to help others.

“They were wonderful. They were selfless, and all of them were only volunteers,” Elliott said. “I made a lot of friends there.I like to help people; that's my nature.I was a physical therapist and (then) I helped the kids. And now, it's animals.”

Commenting on Elliott’s contributions, Burgoon wrote, “over the past seven years, she has been the heart and soul of our club and has inspired other parents to volunteer their time with her tireless efforts. She is a shining example of the volunteers in every program.”

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