POULSBO — At the head seat of the North Kitsap Soccer Club, a veteran volunteer has stepped down while another veteran steps up.
The NKSC’s former youth coordinator and veteran select team coach Aaron Vernik was approved to replace former president Todd Stone at the NKSC board’s Feb. 26 meeting. While Stone — whose four years of service led the club in a diplomatic direction — will be missed in the big chair, Vernik seems to have the knowledge base that will enable the club to move forward without a hitch.
“I don’t have any ideas of major change, I want the club to continue on the course its currently on,” Vernik said Thursday. “Honestly, I’d like to try and get even more folks involved with volunteering, whether it be running a team or running the club as a whole.”
Vernik has had experience with both — as he enters his seventh year of coaching with the GU12 select team NK Blast — and he said the positions of coach and board member have many similar responsibilities.
“It’s kind of the same idea, you want to advance the players’ development and have them work as a team,” he said. “The board position is really the same thing only on a grander scale.”
What’s different about the role of president is it is the proverbial end of the line for everything from mistakes to glory. It’s also a post that should exemplify the club’s ideals, representing the NKSC within its association and its district, Stone said.
“A lot of people have told me that I’m very diplomatic,” Stone said. “I’ve never realized that being diplomatic was a personality trait of mine, but I guess in a lot of ways, you have to be that way not only in your club but also with other clubs in the area.”
Over the course of Stone’s tenure, Vernik said he has seen relations with the NKSC neighboring clubs improve overall as well as within the organization itself.
“I definitely think that the board is a lot tighter now than it ever was,” Vernik said. “Not saying anything bad against the other members, but I find that the (current) board is a little more efficient.”
During the same time, relations within between the NKSC and other NK community entities have also improved — including coordination between the club and the North Kitsap School District, which currently controls nearly all of the fields in North Kitsap.
“We’ve gone through and cleaned up a lot of political issues, if you will, that have seemed to linger on and on,” Stone said.
The issue of field space in the North End is a challenge that has dallied for years, however, in the past two, significant progress has been made.
Plans are currently in the works for new fields behind College Marketplace to be built and owned by the city of Poulsbo. Additionally, another set of blueprints is moving forward for the installation of synthetic turf on NKHS’ Viking Stadium — which is the first phase of a master plan developed from a partnership of the school district, the city, Kitsap County and the Kitsap County Public Facilities District that aims to build a regional events center on NKSD property in Poulsbo.
“I’d like to continue us along the course of trying to get ourselves some more fields,” Vernik said.
For years, Stone said, the NKSC has dreamed of constructing a multi-field soccer park in the North End, yet it has been unable to purchase any property.
“The initial expectation of you as president is, now you’re going to go do that,” Stone added.
However Vernik’s expectations for himself, as of now, are simply to carry on the progress which the club has made over the past half-decade and to continue giving kids a place to get out and play.
“The main reason the current board members are involved is … they really have a passion for the game and for helping kids,” Vernik said. “It’s such a great sport … just about any kid can go out on the pitch at anytime and play.”