Minnesota Youth Athletics Services

Youth Sports Done Right
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Minnesota Youth Athletic Services, Inc. (www.myas.org) originated in 1991 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and enhancing youth sports programs and services (leagues, tournaments, events, training/development, educational offerings, and resources) for Minnesota’s youth athletes, coaches, parents, officials/umpires, and parent-volunteer athletic associations. Today, the MYAS is Minnesota's largest multi-sport organization and acts as a central clearinghouse for youth sports with more than 150,000 kids participating in programs and services each year. The MYAS is committed to providing a safe, positive, and productive experience for today’s youth athletes.

The MYAS recognizes that participation in athletics is one of the healthiest and most cost-effective options for young athletes to make good choices about life's many decisions. This can be achieved through promoting sportsmanship, teamwork, and cultural interaction through sporting competition as well by providing the highest quality athletic programs for Minnesota's youth athletes, while serving as an informational channel that links hundreds of regional volunteer youth sports programs throughout the Gopher State.

 

Other services: www.trustedcoaches.org, www.trustedofficials.org, www.wisportsservices.org, and  www.mnrisingstars.org

 

 

MISSION

WHO ARE WE

Daniel W. Klinkhammer, Co-Founder

Dan Klinkhammer co-founded the MYAS in 1991 and he served as the Executive Director from 1994-2019. Dan’s previous work experience included: Youth Director for the Winona YMCA; Community Services Director for the City of Pipestone, MN; City Recreation Director for Winona, MN; and Program Director for the Minnesota Sports Federation. In his 28 years as the CEO/Executive Director, his leadership transformed the MYAS from a fledgling 3-person operation into the largest statewide youth sports organization in the nation with over 150,000 participants annually. In 2013, he created the Wisconsin Sports Services and in 2015, he was the visionary behind the creation of Trusted Coaches. In 2017, Dan began the process of creating Trusted Officials. His focus has always been to conduct a variety of quality sporting events for Minnesota and Wisconsin youth sport participants AND to provide educational and administrative services to the thousands of parent volunteer organizations that we serve. He has always attributed his success and understanding of youth sports to the fact that he was an athlete, a coach, a parent, an official, and a program administrator. He also recognizes the fact that he was blessed to be surrounded by a very talented and dedicated staff along with an unselfish and like-minded Board of Directors. Dan retired in the spring of 2019 but continues to serve as a volunteer on the MYAS Board of Directors. When not volunteering his time for some worthy cause, he spends his days chasing turkeys, deer, walleyes and golf balls!

Dawson N. Blanck

Dawson has been with the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services since 1999 and was promoted to Executive Director on April 1, 2019. From 1999-2015, he held the position of MYAS/Gopher State Senior Baseball Director and Commissioner of the Gopher State Baseball League, a traveling baseball program for 9-19 year olds. He also held the position of Minnesota USSSA State Baseball Director from 2006-2016 and is a founding member of Play Ball! MN through the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. During his tenure at the MYAS, he created a year-round comprehensive baseball program which includes the Gopher State Baseball League (GSBL) and the Gopher State Tournament of Champions. In 2015, he became Executive Director of Trusted Coaches and launched the online risk management and coach development solution for youth sports organizations. Under his direction, over 300 organizations joined the mission of Trusted Coaches. Dawson is a 1999 graduate of Concordia University, St. Paul. He played collegiate tennis and football at Central Lakes College and Concordia University. Dawson also coached high school varsity football from 1999-2009 and 2011-2017. He has also been a registered official with the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) since 2001 and is a proud member of Gopher State Officials Association. He was nominated to officiate the MSHSL State Basketball Tournament from 2011-2013 and 2017-2021, including the honor or officiating in the Class AAA State Championship game in 2019. Officiating has always been a passion and he is committed to recruiting, educating and retaining the next generation of youth and high school officials. He has also been a head coach or assistant coach for his son, daughter and step-son in basketball, baseball and soccer over the past ten years. During the 2021-2022 winter community based traveling basketball season, he volunteered as an assistant coach for the Irondale 8th Grade Girls Basketball team. You can also catch him on Wednesday's and Sunday's as the lead male vocalist of the Reigning Grace Worship Team at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Mounds View, MN. He also serves as the President of the Church Council Away from the MYAS and his other activities, you can find Dawson enjoying time with his wife Michelle, son Landon, daughter Kylin, step-son Connor, step-daughter Anna, Oliver Rudy (Boston Terrier), family and friends, as well as participating in as many sporting functions and events as time permits.

Dara Northfield, Chief Financial Officer

Dara joined the MYAS staff in 1998. Dara has a background in small business and accounting. Since 1998, Dara has watched MYAS expand its reach across Minnesota and Wisconsin. "It has been a pleasure to be part of a non-profit organization that supports youth athletics in Minnesota and Wisconsin. I believe youth athletics are an important contributor to becoming a well-rounded adult and I consider it an honor to contribute to that mission." The MYAS staff is a hands-on group, so you might see Dara directing a basketball tournament or working at a coaches' meeting. Dara is married, has 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren. She is looking forward to time that she will get to sit on the bleachers to cheer on her grandchildren.

Richard Penick, Associate Director/Director of Basketball

Rich has been with the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services since 1995. Over the years, Rich has been a Program Coordinator, had a short stint as the company's accountant, Senior Program Director and recently was promoted to Associate Director and is also the Director of Basketball. He also served as the AAU's National Vice-Chair for their junior golf program for seven years. He has seen astonishing growth in all MYAS programs. As an example, basketball has grown from less than a hundred teams to well over a 1,500. Rich is a 1981 graduate of Duluth East High School where he was a three-sport letter winner in football, baseball and hockey. He played college hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he graduated with a double major in Health and Physical Education with a coaching minor. Rich was a member of the 1983-84 NAIA National Hockey Championship team and finished his playing career as the leading scorer in Blue-Gold history. He has been heavily involved with coaching various youth and high school sports since 1986. Rich and his wife, Mary, have two sons. Rich says, "Life used to revolve around our children's sports schedules, but I wouldn't change any of it as we were able to share some great times with our children. While those days were filled with great memories, it sure is nice that they are both done playing and we're not running 24/7 to all their games and practices. Now, we look forward to going to our grandchildren's games."

Jeremy Innes, Associate Director

Jeremy joined the MYAS staff in February of 2002 after fellow Brainerd alum and current MYAS employee Dawson Blanck informed him of a job opening. Jeremy's primary duties at the MYAS have been focused primarily on the wrestling and basketball programs. He is a graduate of Brainerd High School and went on to earn his A.A. degree from Central Lakes Community College. He continued his studies at Minnesota State University, Moorhead where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health. Prior to joining the MYAS staff, Jeremy completed his internship at the Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department where he began working as a seasonal employee when he was 12 years old. When Jeremy is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family.

Dan Craighead, MYAS & WSS Director of Business Development

Dan joined the MYAS in September of 2006. He is responsible for selling and servicing corporate sponsorships and donations. Dan was a member of the Minnesota Twins ticket sales staff from 1999-2006 where he was a leader in generating group ticket sales. Prior to his position with the Twins, he held sales positions with the Minnesota Vikings and Valleyfair. In 1993 he was the third person hired by the St. Paul Saints and worked there for four seasons as Director of Advertising Sales. Dan graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a Bachelor's Degree in Operations Management. Dan, his wife Cindy, and their children Ben and Sarah reside in Eagan. Golf and rock-n-roll music are two of his main interests.

Eric Rathke, Senior Program Director/Trusted Coaches Production Manager

Eric has been with MYAS since 1997. He implements and coordinates one of the country's largest youth travelling basketball tournaments, the MYAS Grade State Basketball Championships. He is also an MYAS assistant gambling manager. Eric states that one of the strengths of the MYAS team is that they assist each other with their programs to make them the best. As an example, he helps with baseball and other basketball operations in addition to his own programs. He brings a love for all sports and a desire to provide them to youth athletes across Minnesota. Eric graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from Concordia University, St. Paul, where he was a four-year starter on the football team. Eric and his wife Erin love being parents to their children Maddox and Jade.

Siri Forde, Office Manager/Human Resources Coordinator

Siri joined the staff of the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services in January of 1991 at the invitation of former Executive Director, Dan Klinkhammer. She began her college education in Traverse City, Michigan, and later transferred to Concordia College, Moorhead, where she graduated cum laude with a major in English Writing and a minor in Business Administration. Siri's early career was in the health care field, having worked in nursing homes in Minnesota and Michigan. She also spent more than a year with the Minnesota Sports Federation. While Siri has served in a number of capacities during her years at the MYAS, her current duties consist primarily of serving as office manager, human resources coordinator, assistant gambling manager, and assistant to the CFO.

Kevin Wilson, Senior Program Director

Kevin is a native of Cedar Rapids, IA, where he graduated from Washington Senior High School. He received a full athletic scholarship to play basketball for the University of North Dakota. He had a very successful career at UND, receiving the Freshman of the Year award and a varsity letter his junior year. During his college summer months, Kevin coached basketball and worked local high school basketball camps in North Dakota. He graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Parks and Recreation with an emphasis in Leadership. After college, Kevin moved to the Twin Cities area and worked for six years as a Manager for U.S. Swim and Fitness. He moved on to work for the Minneapolis nonprofit YouthCARE (Youth for Culture Appreciation and Racial Equality) for five years as the Urban Program Director, planning and developing recreation programs, leadership and educational activities, sports and special events. He also planned and led diversity workshops, leadership conferences and retreats.

Debbie Dahl, Charitable Gambling Manager

Debbie has been involved in charitable gaming for 22 years. She began working for MYAS in 2004 as a site manager, moved up to assistant gambling manager in 2007, and became gambling manager in June 2009. Debbie enjoys spending time with her husband and two girls, Ashley and Amanda.

Bobby Strickland, Program Director

Bobby started at MYAS in April 2012 as an intern. His primary responsibilities as Program Director are baseball and swimming. He graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in Sports and Recreation Management. When Bobby is not working he enjoys winning basketball games against his co-workers and gets out fishing whenever he gets the chance.

LANCE KLINKHAMMER, Director of Trusted Officials/MYAS Program Director/WSS Liaison

Lance joined the WSS as its beginning in 2013 and currently serves as the Associate Director and program lead for all Basketball, Baseball and Fastpitch programs. Lance grew up in Blaine, Minnesota where he grew up playing a variety of different sports including Football and Baseball. After graduating from St. Cloud University with his degree in Sports Management Lance worked for the WSS sister company (Minnesota Youth Athletic Services) for 3 years prior to taking on the role of the Associate Director. When Lance is not working you can either find him at a local softball field or fishing.

ADAM KLINKHAMMER, Trusted Coaches Chief Operations Officer/MYAS & WSS Graphic Design Manager

Adam grew up in Blaine, MN playing Football and Baseball while attending Blaine High School. After graduating from St. Cloud University with his degree in Sports Management, Adam served as a Program Director at the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services primarily working in the sport of Baseball. Adam currently serves as the Sports Information Director for the WSS, MYAS and Trusted Coaches and Trusted Officials Program. When Adam is not working you can usually find him hitting sweet bombs on the softball field or looking for his golf balls at a local course.

ASHLIE ANZEL, Program Director

Ashlie joined the MYAS staff in January of 2020 and focuses primarily on basketball programs. Ashlie is a 2004 graduate of Spring Lake Park High School, where she was a multi-sport athlete competing in volleyball, basketball, and softball. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Augustana College, where she was also a member of the women’s basketball team. In 2019 she graduated from Ohio University with a Master of Science in Athletic Administration. Ashlie has been involved in coaching youth and high school sports since graduating from college in 2009 and is enjoying the opportunity to coach her oldest daughter in both basketball and softball. Ashlie resides in White Bear Lake with her husband, Joe, and daughters Tenley and Alexis. In her free time, she enjoys trips to the cabin, golfing, and spending time with her family.

CAROLYN DERKSEN-Assistant Director of Officiating/Administration

Hello! My name is Carolyn Derksen. I was born and raised in Maple Grove, MN. I graduated from Maple Grove Senior High and the University of Wisconsin - River Falls, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies. I received my Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and being an aunt to my niece Elle and my nephews Wendell and Brooks. I am a huge sports fan, especially basketball and football.  My officiating journey began when I was a junior in college working in the intramural program at UW-River Falls. I have always loved the game of basketball and I knew I wanted to be around the game in some way after my playing days were over. During my senior year of college, I served as a student manager for the women’s basketball team. My intention for serving in the role of student manager was to help me ease into coaching. After I graduated from college, a family friend who was an official informed me of a shortage of officials and encouraged me to consider giving it a try.  I planned to officiate for one year and then move into coaching. After completing my first year of officiating, I was hooked and have never looked back. I am currently officiating high school and women’s college basketball, and high school football. I am so excited and ready to get to work as the MYAS Assistant Director of Officiating/ Administration.  I feel that my enthusiasm and passion for officiating will benefit me in this role. I want to get people excited about becoming an official and learn the rewarding benefits that come along with it. Many people do not consider officiating for a variety of reasons. But without officials, there are no games. I want to change people's negative perceptions of becoming an official and relay the fun and good friendships that can be built along the way. The MYAS intends to establish relationships with the different youth athletic associations in Minnesota by providing the best services that we can for youth sports officials. I am extremely passionate about guiding youth officials on their journey, which will look different for just about anyone that enters this avocation. Every official will have different goals and aspirations in their officiating career. We want to lay the foundation by providing our officials with the proper training and education. Those training and continuing education opportunities include developing communication skills, rules of the game, and proper mechanics, that will get officials prepared to hit the courts and the fields. The MYAS Director of Officiating and I want to be able to provide continuous education to new and current officials as a way for them to improve their craft.  Our training will include in-person/virtual/online formats as a resource for officials to utilize. Our main goal is to provide the tools for excellence along with a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

TONY SCHREPFER- MYAS Director of Officials

Sports and athletics have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I raced competitive BMX for about six years and then got back into playing team sports. When I finally realized that my best playing days were behind me, I found my passion for becoming an official. I still wanted to be a part of the game and officiating gave me that avenue. I’ve been calling games for over 30 years now and am still currently active officiating in the sports of Basketball, Baseball, Soccer and Fast Pitch. I accepted the duties and responsibilities of the MYAS Director of Officials with the ultimate goal of infusing excitement in becoming an official. Just as being a player has it’s certain demands, executing the role of an official brings with it its own challenges and rewards. With on-court training, proper mechanics and rules knowledge any official can go as far as they would like in this profession. When I envision the future of officiating at the MYAS, I see a new generation of officials that not only want to give back to the game and still be an important part of it but also hone the craft of officiating and ascend the ranks. I'm very passionate about being an official and I want to change the perception of what being an official looks like and what it feels like. Right now, is a great time to start your officiating career and with our help here at the MYAS we'll help you achieve your goals! Remember… I'm one of you. Officials working on behalf of officials!

AKUA KENNEDY- Community Engagement Director

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Akua graduated from North Community High School in 1992, and attended Mississippi Valley State University before returning home and working for the Boys & Girls Club of the Twin Cities as Teen Director. The passion for working with youth led Akua to Minneapolis Public Schools as a Behavior Dean and Athletic Director, where he stayed for 17 years until joining the MYAS family in January of 2022. With Akua’s background growing up and working in Minneapolis, it was a perfect situation for him to join the team in the role as community engagement director.

ADAM COOK- PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Adam, a former participant in MYAS athletics, grew up in New Hope, MN and attended Robbinsdale Cooper High School where he was a 3-sport athlete in Football, Basketball, and Lacrosse, before graduating in 2018. From there he accepted a football scholarship to attend Concordia University - St. Paul, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sport Management while working as an intern with MYAS starting in November of 2021. He will primarily serve as a program coordinator for Baseball and Basketball with supplementary roles in Football and Wrestling.

IDALIS RILEY- MYAS MARKETING MANAGER

Idalis grew up in Minneapolis, MN and played basketball since she was an adolescent. After playing collegiality for Danville Area Community College and William Penn University, she received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Human Services as a Cum Laude student athlete. After graduation, she coached basketball at her old high school, and built a small business around intentional movement for everyone. Within her small business she found the Rising Stars Academy and began to become heavily involved with basketball development camps. Come June 2022, Idalis joined the MYAS family to build a Marketing department to further the exposure and resources of MYAS.

Youth Sports Done Right