This is the second in a series of conversations we will have with Ballistic administrators and coaches, hoping to get our players and parents to know our staff better!
Our first featured Technical Director Kevin Crow and our second here is with BUSC President Scott McMillian. We talk with Scott about why he became involved with the club as well as what his vision for the club!
Question: Why did you get involved in BUSC and why take on the job of President?
Scott: As you know, my family moved to Pleasanton in 1973 and I had been playing soccer in Fresno before arriving here. I played Rec (house) when we first moved then advanced to upper house and finally competitive. I also played JV at Amador under Harry Miller and Varsity as a junior and senior.
After getting married, I was working in Concord and my wife Laura was in San Jose, so we ended up back here in 1998. Gordy Lang got me involved coaching Rage in 2003. After having my second kid, I stopped coaching at Rage.
Later, Sam Head was a personal friend and when he became President of BUSC, I joined the Board as the Community Outreach and Public Relations Director. I was elected to the Vice President in 2018 and then became President in 2019. I am just starting my second 2-year term as President.
I am a local guy and I care about this community. Playing soccer growing up kept me out of trouble and provided me with some great friendships that I still have to this day. I see this appointment as my opportunity to give back. I hope to pass along the passion for the game and provide lasting ideals to as many as the Pleasanton kids as possible.
Question: As someone who played in the club, what sense of satisfaction does it give you to see the club still going strong and persevering through adversity?
Scott: Things have changed a lot since I was a kid but the ideals of the Club remain the same. It is very important for the Board to balance all 5 programs and make sure we give them equal attention. We have to ensure that the MLS NeXt, Competitive, Futsal, Recreational and Pleasanton Adult Sunday Soccer programs all co-exist harmoniously. This is our biggest challenge today. In the end, we want to have the most breadth and depth for any Club in the Bay Area and a player pathway for every kid that plays in the program from age 4 to age 64.
Question: The Club really seems to be making an investment in its MLS Next Staff – what was the thought process in moving in that direction?
Scott: We brought on the Development Academy (initially under US Soccer and now MLS) to give the most skilled players in Pleasanton a place to play and stay in town. We realize now that for those teams to be competitive, we have to have a top-notch staff with the highest credentials. That will allow us to attract the best players from the surrounding areas which will help all the programs. Otherwise, we pull up kids from Comp that aren’t ready to play at that level and it kind of waters down our Comp program. Again, balance is the key.
Question: The MLS Next and the Comp teams are the flash, but the number and the root of the program is the Rec program. How do you find the balance to make both thrive?
Scott: There’s that word balance again. The Rec program is our largest program in terms of numbers and it’s the foundation of the Club. Nearly all of our Comp kids come from the Rec program so without a solid core with a significant pool of kids, the entire Club is affected. We moved Randy James into the Director of Coaching for Recreational Programs this year because it is so important to us. Randy has been with the club for many years in various roles and it’s his job to grow the number of participants. We also brought in Austin Daniels as the Director of Coaching and Brady Taylor as his assistant to work closely with Randy to identify players with more skill that would benefit by moving into Comp and potentially MLS Next DA.
Question: What has been the toughest part in terms of getting going after COVID restrictions were reduced?
Scott: We found that the Comp kids are pretty committed to soccer so our numbers there were good even through the pandemic but COVID severely hurt our Rec registration numbers. We normally have over 850 kids and last year we were closer to 250. We had multiple budget discussions last year and very closely took a look at our cash flow and different scenarios. In the end, we had to make some tough decisions like asking the coaches to take a pay reduction but we were able to keep everyone employed last year and hold on to our office.
We targeted 650 for the budget this year and will meet that so it’s rebounding, and our budget is looking better this year.
Question: The key to Ballistic’s success in the past has been the duration Presidents’ stay with the club in compared to other youth clubs in any sport. What’s your vision in your turn as President and what commitment do you see yourself making to the club?
Scott: That’s a good point. I did not make the decision to take this position lightly. BUSC has only had 5-6 President’s over the course of 53 years. My goal is to stay in this role until my son Brady graduates from Amador in 2025 (if the membership let’s me!). It took me 2 years to understand all of the intricacies of the Club and I feel like I am finally able to start making an impact. We recently hired a fundraising partner called Cogeo and my goal is for every kid that wants to play soccer to have the ability to play regardless of their financial situation.
I also want to keep the folks that volunteered their time to the Board involved. We had a “going away” party for Michelle Lemus who served as our Treasurer for 8 years earlier this month and several ex-Board members like Ed Lecco, Greg Jetter, Sam Head and Ben Castro were in attendance. I also am reaching out to the Alumni to make sure they are welcome to come back and stay informed on the current happenings with the Club. In fact, we are holding an Alumni social on October 8th that I am really looking forward to.
Question: Where do you see the club in five years? 10 years?
Scott: My hope is that BUSC has a financial aid program so that every kid that wants to play soccer can, at whatever level is right for their skill level. We need to continue to raise the bar to have the best facilities, administrative staff and coaching to provide the highest-level of boys’ soccer in the Bay Area, if not Northern California. We recently entered the SoccerWire top 100 boys’ soccer clubs in the U.S. at 94 and my goal is to continue to climb up in that ranking. We also should have a dedicated Futsal facility by then so they aren’t playing on the blacktop at PMS anymore.
My ultimate dream would be to have a dedicated BUSC facility with a member clubhouse and even tutoring, healthy snacks and nutrition education amounting to a residential camp type experience for kids with dual working parents. In the end, BUSC should have player pathways for every kid that enters our program to play soccer for life at whatever level they want to play.