Texas Youth Football & Cheer Association
Scalable Web Architecture for Certification Management
- Web Development
- Drupal Registration Portal
- 11-50 Employees
- San Antonio, Texas
“With Praxent, I always knew what would be done for the next 2 weeks.”
– Chris Coleman, Executive Vice President, Texas Youth Football Association
5/5 CLIENT REVIEW
Our certification management software helps certify 18,000 junior league athletes for the Texas Youth Football & Cheer Association.
“What this system has done for us now is streamline the process where we’re really only down to one sheet of paper, which is a birth certificate. [The process] used to take an hour. The way it’s been streamlined now, we’ve cut that almost in half.”
BRIAN MORGAN, TYFA
Certifying the league’s thousands of participants each year was a labor-intensive process involving six separate pieces of documentation plus the creation of a photo ID
The cost of photography was thousands of dollars
Previous attempts to automate the process crashed servers and created volumes of administrative work
How We Helped
Mobile app development
Scalable web architecture
Process improvement + automation
Cut athlete processing time by nearly 50% for over 18,000 athletes throughout Texas
Enables coaches to access up-to-date roster data and quickly verify player eligibility
Saves TYFA thousands of dollars annually by eliminating the need for professional photography
Cuts volunteer training to a minimum with a simple, user-friendly interface
The Texas Youth Football & Cheer Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, serves 18,000 football players, cheerleaders, and coaches in major metropolitan areas and small towns across Texas. Unlike other youth sports leagues, TYFA is a non-weight limit league where players are assigned to teams by age, not by weight. For this reason, TYFA requires all football players and cheerleaders to obtain an annual certification and photo ID from the league to verify their age and ensure they’re participating within the correct age group.
Certifying the league’s thousands of participants each year was a labor-intensive process involving six separate pieces of documentation plus the creation of a photo ID – at a cost of thousands of dollars for photography. Previous attempts to automate the process crashed servers, requiring volunteers to resort to pen and paper methods at the last minute, creating volumes of administrative work that was error prone, time-consuming, and expensive. TYFA came to Praxent looking for a better way.
How we Helped
The Praxent team crafted a scalable web architecture so that volunteers can check birth certificates, complete profiles, take photos, and print photo ID cards reliably and efficiently.
The web-based application is scalable – capable of processing up to 4,000 participants at a time
The system works anywhere, in a gym or on the field, and runs efficiently on any computer or mobile device
The user experience is easy to use and intuitive, to minimize time needed for training
The system also sends guardians a waiver, which they can sign electronically
Our job was to deliver on TYFA’s commitment to player participation and safety. The scalable web architecture we created for TYFA resulted in a faster and more cost-effective way to get athletes out on the field.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
We’re a non-profit 501(c)(3) youth football and cheerleading league. By the number of participating organizations and members, we are the largest independent group in the state of Texas and one of the largest in the country. The league was founded 23 years ago and our headquarters are in San Antonio. We are self-governed, operating on a volunteer basis.
I am the executive vice president of the organization and I’m in charge of IT. I exclusively manage our partnership with Praxent.
Opportunity / Challenge
What challenge were you trying to address with Praxent?
We certify kids for gameplay and cheerleading, looking at their birth certificates and gathering information about them. Our aim is to have kids participate in games on an equal footing, instead of having older players grouped with younger ones, and so on. Before our project with Praxent, this was pretty much done on paper. Players and parents filled out paperwork and signed waivers. We also had manual IDs. It was time-consuming and forgetting to bring an ID could lead to forfeiting a game. We wanted to become paperless and have everything built into 1 system. We had been working with someone else in the past, but their attempt at building something was a disaster.
What was the scope of their involvement?
Praxent has developed a web-based app, which allows our organization to upload kids’ information. Parents receive emails when a child has been put into the system. They can then click on a link, fill out the remaining information, and sign waivers. Certifying kids and coaches is also paperless, and we can create real-time digital ID cards. During games, any coach can bring up a roster on their mobile devices, scroll through the pictures of their teams, call out names, and verify that everyone is in place. If a child is not in the system, they don’t get to play. I can use my phone to suspend any kids for fighting and so on, and this won’t allow them to play.
Volunteers can log in, create their own profiles, pay online, take tests, and so on. They can log in to our system on tysasportsnetwork.com, which acts as our backend. Members have access to data but limited to their areas alone. However, our team has access to the entire system in order to address issues. The system allows us to cover organizations spanning half of Texas.
During meetings, we communicated with a project manager from Praxent, as well as with what I refer to as a thinker. He was the one who took my ideas and conceptualized them, determining what could and couldn’t be done. Once we had a frame to work on, we gave it to the programmers. Our initial group from Praxent consisted of at least 4 people. Over the last 2 years, we’ve continually increased what the platform was able to do and changed elements in order to make it faster and more user-friendly.
How did you come to work with Praxent?
I found Praxent through an online search for Drupal developers. At the time, that was the platform for our front-end site and I was looking to work on both systems. Praxent came up, along with a few others. We had an interview with them and I liked everything that I saw and heard. We agreed to have Praxent provide exactly what we were looking for.
How much have you invested with Praxent?
The cost of our project with Praxent has been around $400,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We have been working with Praxent for 3–4 years, tweaking the product for each upcoming season. Praxent was able to knock out the product starting from zero within 6 to 8 months. Praxent has always kept someone available for us for any issue, especially within major certification periods.
Results / Feedback
Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
Praxent put together an awesome product for us. There are no other leagues using this system. It’s not only tailor-made for us, it also gets rid of paperwork and makes everything real-time. For the past couple of years, the system has worked without a hitch. We used to spend a couple of hours per organization, and there are a lot of them, in order to process 100–150 kids, cheerleaders, and coaches. We can now finish the process in an hour or less, using 2 people instead of 4 for the same work. When a child or a coach comes to us, we can find them quickly, ask a few questions, snap a picture, and be done. As soon as this happens, the data becomes available in the system. That quickly, the team can then walk out and play a game. The system has revolutionized what we do.
How did Praxent perform from a project management standpoint?
Compared to places I’ve dealt with in the past, Praxent’s process was quite unique. They break up the work in sprints and delegate tasks using cards which represent difficulty, from 1 to 5. There would be an X amount of points for every 2-week period. At the end, I would usually visit Praxent’s office and have a review. If there was anything to test, Praxent showed me the work, and I would decide if it was good or not. I have conference calls with them now, for the most part, given that we’re mainly tweaking things.
What did you find most impressive about Praxent?
Other web developers I’ve worked with would perform tasks willy-nilly and didn’t give me an idea of what the result would be. With Praxent, I always knew what would be done for the next 2 weeks and had a chance to test the results. The concept was quite refreshing.
Are there any areas Praxent could improve?
Absolutely not. As a non-profit, our budget is real tight. Praxent was an expensive shop, but I received results way beyond the cost through what I was able to save in terms of time, paperwork and IDs. I was spending somewhere around $75,000 or $85,000 per year on physical IDs alone beforehand, along with the time and effort to process things by hand. I don’t have to do that anymore. The system has easily paid for itself, as far as I’m concerned. And the whole processes is now less prone to error, which is another huge benefit.
I’ve worked with other companies in the past that seemed to spend all their money on fancy offices, but couldn’t really do the work. They looked the part, but couldn’t program the part. Praxent had simple offices with no cubicles or fancy, big windows. They were simply nice people who got the work done well, in good time. This was what finally sold me. There were few times when we’ve had to go back and fix something. These issues were usually related to changes we requested that had ripple effects.
ON TIME / DEADLINES
Praxent was always on call for me, especially when we were first building the product and when had our first certification runs. Praxent does have other projects, but we can still set aside time.
SERVICE & DELIVERABLES
VALUE / WITHIN ESTIMATES
As a non-profit, Praxent’s cost can be a bit high, but our return was more than worth it.
WILLING TO REFER
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