Michael Gale and Rafey Syed have been appointed first and second Vice Presidents respectively of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA); it was announced today.
And both men have hit the ground running with new ideas they plan to introduce to help invigorate and expand the game even more across the US.
Syed, 36, who lives in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and works as a senior manager, wants at least one free coaching session made available in all leagues written into the USACA constitution.
Syed, married with three children, said he knew that coaches were being paid for their services, but he felt that not everyone could afford to pay for their services.
And, he added: “As a diversity I would like to see a woman on every league board in the country. Right now we are basically dominated by men. We need some kind of diversity at the gender level.
“I want women to have a say. If this is not made mandatory then change will not come. We have to start thinking beyond the box.”
Gale, 48, a partner in a consulting firm in Austin, Texas, plans to create a solid structure for youth encompassing both male and female.
Also on his agenda is building a firm foundation to raise money to spread across the leagues and improve the game in all spheres.
“We need kids to play and we need to have the right infrastructure. Absolutely,” he said. “All the regions (affiliated with USACA) can work with each other.
“We would like to see growth in all the regions and aiming for the youth with a very strong Under-16 boy’s team and strong women teams at all levels of the game.
“I believe women’s cricket can grow enormously. Why shouldn’t it?
“Just look at soccer — build the structure and participate. Another good example is field hockey in China.
“I don’t think that any sport should be unavailable, it should be organized properly.”
Gale and Syed have replaced Nabeel Ahmed and Sheikh Manaf Mohamed as vice presidents of USACA. Mohamed has taken on the role as USACA’s general manager while Ahmed has resigned.
Both said they would seek reelection in October.
“This is a commitment of multiple years,” said Gale, who moved to the US from Southampton, England, in 1993.
In England he played with the Hampshire Under-19 team and at the University of East Anglia in Norwich as a top order batsman and wicketkeeper.
Between the ages of 22 and 41 he did not play, but has since resumed with four teams in the Hill Cricket Association in Texas.
For the past 20 years Syed, who moved to the US from Hyderabad, India, in 1992, has played as an all-rounder with different teams in the American Cricket Conference.
Syed also has been secretary of the Central East Region for the past four years. He graduated with a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Gale graduated with honors in math and history from the University of East Anglia.
Photos and article courtesy of www.usaca.org