The 14-year business relationship has been severed, but the Arlington Heights Park District and Elite Soccer have reached an agreement that will allow the spring soccer season to proceed without interruptions in the coaching staffs.
The park district on Friday, in a statement on behalf of its Arlington Aces soccer program and Elite Soccer, said a transition plan has been reached.
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Elite has provided coaches for many of the district's traveling teams but has decided to set up a private soccer club, and some parents feared the coaches would not be available. The park district maintained that Elite's decision to go private was a breach of contract. About 200 parents attended the park board meeting earlier this week regarding the situation.
Key features of the plan include:
• All coaches will become employees of the park district for this spring season only and will again become Elite employees when it ends.
• Coaching positions will be made available to all Elite coaches from the fall 2011 season, giving them an opportunity to continue coaching the same team.
• Dwayne Cruz will be the director of soccer and work with staff to ensure an "productive and enjoyable" season. Mike Steele, co-founder of Elite, and Brendan Eitz will not be involved in the park district's spring season.
• All volunteer-coached travel teams will have the option of retaining the same trainer they had last fall or selecting a new one.
• Families who are paid in full will not owe any additional coaching or training fees for the spring season.
The statement issued Friday says that Elite and the park district understands the concern of parents and players but believe the agreement will provide the "appropriate transition" for players at all levels.
"It never has been nor will it ever be the goal of either party to provide a disservice to its patrons or to the community at large," the statement reads.
About 750 players are on the park district's traveling soccer teams. About 450 are coached by Elite employees, and the rest are coached by volunteers with assistance from Elite.
Updates will be posted on the park district website and sent to parents whose email addresses are registered. Contact Matt Healy at (847) 506-7133 or email@example.com.
Updates on the Elite program are atwww.elitesoccer.net. Steele can be reached at (773) 561-4949 or firstname.lastname@example.org.