We are taking a stand on health insurance and health care.
Regardless of your personal stance on the Affordable Care Act, (Obamacare, ACA) the goal of the soccer community should be to make sure any kid who wants to play on a soccer team has access to health insurance and affordable health care. Expanding the available talent pool and deepening the bench of soccer talent for all should be the goal of any soccer organization. The lack of health insurance with the exception of those who can afford the premiums, threatens this goal.
Despite the myths, slights and shade the media wishes to throw at soccer sometimes, competitive soccer is a contact sport. The sport is growing and has become an American sport in many households across the country.
My son played keeper throughout high school and on select soccer teams. Any parent of a keeper knows the anxiety of seeing their kid being charged at by a forward or the risk of hitting their head on the cross bar. Like any keeper, he was all-in on the field. There were many times when he put his body between the net and several forwards twice his size. He won more than he lost, but there was an injury cost.
My daughter played mid-field most of her club and high school career. Despite her deceptively slight frame, 5’6″, 110lbs, she was a bruiser. When there was a tackle or a challenge, she was going to win that ball. She was fearless and the opposing team got to know that early on. There were injuries, but I was fortunate enough to have an insurance plan to cover her. (I actually increased coverage and decreased my deductible during her soccer-playing years, she was that committed. Don’t tell her that, she would feel guilt.)
Having access to good health insurance on the individual market allowed me to give a quality soccer experience to my two kids when they were growing up. While every parent dreads the time when their kid will get injured playing a sport they love, there was some anxiety in the stands over how much out-of-pocket that love and commitment to the sport would cost their parents. My guess is we all kept that quiet from our kids. We did not want our anxiety to be the reason they did not “win the ball.”
Here is a letter we at TourneyCentral sent to our Ohio lawmakers. (We are an Ohio corporation) We urge everyone in the soccer community to become more aware of how a repeal of the ACA WITHOUT A REPLACEMENT will affect and endanger the soccer community and actively lobby their lawmakers for a specific plan that replaces it and ensures we will not lose players based solely on their access to health insurance, affordable care.
Write, call, blog, tweet. This affects us all. Health care is not a political issue; it is a human issue and also a business issue. Repeal without a replacement plan would affect us all who strive to bring the sport to those with the most talent, instead of the most insured.
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When a kid does not have health insurance, they cannot play soccer in a club, league or high school. When they cannot play on a team, they cannot play in a soccer tournament. Without health insurance, their athletic skills and abilities—as well as any potential college scholarships—will never be realized by themselves, their parents or fans. Sponsors of the tournaments and the businesses surrounding the event suffer economically.
Since 1999, TourneyCentral has been the front door for over half a million soccer players, their families and fans each year. Furthermore, since we are based in a military town with WPAFB as an integral member of our community, our websites have afforded parents who found themselves stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, to engage actively with their kids as they played in soccer tournaments. We have stories we could share; they are heartwarming.
Our business depends on a steady stream of talented kids who have access to affordable health insurance and health care.
As a small business incorporated in Ohio, one that provides jobs, tax revenue and increases the economic impact of other small businesses, I am concerned about the cost of employer-based health care. But more importantly, I am concerned that my potential customers will be limited in purchasing our services simply because they can’t field teams of players who have access to health insurance or health care.
As a company and as an active member of the soccer community, we do not support the repeal of the ACA without a solid, specific and accessible replacement in place. The ACA is not a perfect law, but anything less than the protections and access it currently affords the youth population and their parents is untenable.
Coaches, too, must be frustrated to see a kid in a pick-up game who has remarkable potential but can’t be included on a team because his or her parents do not have health insurance. Or, more frequently, the deductible is high and the fear of a costly injury during a game or training is the single issue that holds them back.
It is our official position that our elected representatives craft a plan that goes beyond the current ACA to UniversalCare, SinglePayer, MedicareFor All. The ideal is that every kid should have the right to reach to his or her potential, not limited by whether or not they have affordable health insurance.
While health care is foremost a human issue for us, it is also a business issue. The lack of universal, affordable health insurance endangers not only the soccer tournament business and the soccer community, it stands to limit all organized youth sports, including football, basketball and the most American sport, baseball. It also endangers the small businesses that rely on their support.
Soccer is a welcoming, benevolent community. Help us continue this fine tradition of supporting and engaging in our communities through sport by keeping this in mind as you take up votes regarding the repeal of a health care law many in our community now rely on for access to their team, which gives them strong character and community skills. For many, their soccer team is their purpose.
Don’t rob them of their ability to participate by limiting access to health insurance and health care. I urge you to vote with this in mind, to think of the wider arc of not only the health of sport, but the health of the businesses that support it, including your own Ohio-based, TourneyCentral.