1966-67

PLAYERS 240, ages 9-12, 13-15                                                                   TEAMS 16

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PRESIDENT HANS STIERLE      VICE PRESIDENT  MARIO MACHADO      

SECRETARY BILL HUGHES       TREASURER HOWARD KROLLFEIFER Jr
 
 RECORDING SECRETARY  TED McLEAN   
 

The benefits of Culver City self-termination actually strengthened AYSO in that the AYSO leadership in overcoming a decline would place continued adherence to the basic AYSO rules and regulations and prepare AYSO to meet the many challenges of the future.

Combined with the increasing American-born AYSO participation, AYSO was to capture the new generation of young families that came to love AYSO soccer and their youth who relished in the joy of playing a sport designed to implement a love in full, active participation. AYSO soccer with a blend of “old country” traditionalists and “new country” enthusiasts would now establish the building blocks for quantum leaps of growth that would revolutionize American Soccer.

The growth of AYSO will occur for many reasons but personal contact will always be at the foundation. In the fourth year of AYSO, Tom O ’Sullivan a resident of Portola Valley in Northern California was pouring a "cold one" at a pub in the Ambassador Hotel in Woodside when he overheard the conversation between Bill Wolstencroft and Lolik Jasinsky concerning the AYSO youth soccer success in Southern California.  Tom with a great love for soccer would expand AYSO for the first time out of Southern California and the outward journey would begin. In the fourth year men like Tom with the first AYSO region ouitside of Southern California captured the hearts of Northern California soccer "traditionalists and enthusiasts" by fully understanding the AYSO Philosophies that propelled the American Way across the nation.   
 
There are many great stories of the earliest years of journeys into new areas and they will be noted herein. But the Southern California story of Howard Krollfeifer, Jr, one of our earliest Pioneers, will be one of many of the greatest PIONEER STORIES. The apayso story requested of Howard was submitted on September 28, 2011 by Howard Krollfeifer Jr and thoroughly illustrates, un-edited, his early PIONEER STORY IN AYSO and the challenges of the day that supports the growth challenges met by Hans Stierle, and other AYSO Board members.

  

AYSO EARLY PIONEER DAYS, HOWARD KROLLFEIFER, Jr

"My employer, James Talcott, Inc., relocated me from their New York office to Los Angeles office in June 1964.  In January 1966, I was living in Hollywood, CA, working in Los Angeles, CA and a reservist in the 311th Logistical Command Battalion in West Los Angeles, CA.  During a break at an Army meeting, I organized a soccer game with several other reservists and was approached by my Sergeant Major, Forrest Beatty.  I was a Staff Sergeant under his command and he inquired about my experience with soccer.

I told him I played during high school in Rutherford, NJ, had a partial scholarship for soccer at Fairleigh Dickinson University, played amateur soccer in New Jersey in the German-American League for Passaic Sportsfriends and was presently a member of Germania in the Greater Los Angeles League.  He asked me if I would be interested in getting involved with a newly formed youth soccer program.  When I said "Yes" he furnished Bill Wolstencroft's phone number and I called him the next day.

Mr. Wolstencroft and I had a lengthy conversation and he said that he was involved with the AYSO program in the Torrance area and that there was a need for someone to form a region in the North Hollywood area as there were several people expressing an interest but they lacked someone to "lead the way".  He asked me to contact Bill Hughes, AYSO Executive Secretary, who lived in that area (which was also closer to where I lived) and take it from there.

Several nights later, I met with Mr. Hughes and, over a drink or two, he filled me in on AYSO, asked me to be Regional Commissioner for the North Hollywood Region and invited me to attend the next meeting of the AYSO Board of Directors and Regional Commissioners.

I do not recall the exact date but I do know it was in February 1966 when I went to the Beverly Hills Hilton for the meeting in the office of the Food and Beverage Manager for the hotel, Steve Erdos.  Mr. Hughes introduced me to Hans Stierle (Pres.), Steve Erdos (Treas.), Bill Wolstencroft, Ron Littlefair, Ralph Acosta, Ted McLean and several others whose names escape me.  During the meeting I was proposed as Regional Commissioner for North Hollywood and was approved.  Later in the meeting, Mr. Erdos (the Food and Beverage Manager at the Hilton) announced that he was being transferred to Palm Springs by his employer and that he was resigning as Treasurer.

After his resignation was reluctantly accepted, Mr. Stierle asked if anyone had finance or accounting experience or knew someone who did.  When nobody spoke up, I said that I had a BA degree in finance and accounting, worked for an Arthur Andersen & Co. (CPA's) for several years and was treasurer of several organizations prior to coming to Southern California.  Mr. Stierle then asked if I would be the AYSO Treasurer and I said "Yes".  He proposed that the Board approves that action and I became Treasurer.  Mr. Wolstencroft said that if I was going to be Treasurer that I should also be on the Board of Directors which was also approved at that time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

From no involvement with AYSO in January 1966, to one night a month later I became a Regional Commissioner, Treasurer and Director.  Talk about moving fast!!! My next project was to set up the financial books and records in a consistent manner for all of the regions to have comparable reporting that could be consolidated for the entire organization.  Keep in mind that all of this was taking place long before computers were available and everything was done manually on accounting spreadsheets.  A few months later I submitted my recommendations and they were approved at a Board meeting sometime in the spring of 1966 for use at the commencement of the season to begin in September 1966.  At that time AYSO had sixteen (16) teams in two (2) age divisions and approximately two hundred and forty (240) boys playing AYSO soccer.

Monthly Board meetings took place at Roger Young Auditorium, at least two (2) meetings were held at Danny Villanueva's restaurant in Beverly Hills and a few were held at offices of the Board members when another location could not be obtained.  During the years 1965 and 1966, as AYSO continued to expand, problems arose with the Southern California Soccer-Football Association (SCSFA) because AYSO refused to be controlled by SCSFA and chose to expand on its own.

In November 1966 I purchased a home and moved to Claremont, CA and resigned as North Hollywood Regional Commissioner but continued as Treasurer and Director.  (I will address the founding of the Claremont Region in a separate paper.)  During the summer of 1967 pressure was mounting on AYSO from SCSFA because AYSO was told they could not conduct competitions without SCSFA approval.  In addition, AYSO players were being utilized as ball boys for the Los Angeles Toros in the North American Professional League (NPSL) because Mr. Stierle was on staff for the Toros.  It was in the summer of 1967 that I made a suggestion to the Board of Directors that AYSO should incorporate and obtain tax-exempt status.  I was given the approval to proceed and hired a high school classmate and good friend of mine, Harry L. Usher, Esq., with the Los Angeles law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to prepare Articles of Incorporation and by-laws for AYSO.

In the Fall of 1967, AYSO continued to expand with a total of seventy-two (72) teams in all three (3) age divisions and over one thousand (1,000) boys playing AYSO soccer in various areas of Southern California as well as a Region in Northern California in Woodside/Portola Valley under the leadership of Tom O'Sullivan.  Now AYSO was conducting competitions in another territory "sanctioned by the United States Soccer-Football Association (USSFA)" and a problem was being created by AYSO because they were going to play games in both portions of California without "proper approval."  The result was AYSO was expelled from SCSFA. 

Because of the rapid expansion, the Secretary and Treasurer both complained about record keeping with regions all carrying names and some geographic over-lapping began to take place.  At a meeting in October 1967 it was decided to drop all region names and assign numbers.  A heated discussion took place wherein Torrance and either West Los Angeles or Culver City laid claim to #1 and Hans Stierle ended the debate by declaring that Northern California would be #1 and the other numbers were up for grabs.  Sierra Madre asked for #2 and I took #3 for Claremont.  Other numbers were selected and Torrance, AKA South Bay, obtained #6 as the commissioner, Bill Wolstencroft, was "stewing" about not being #1. 

I continued working on the Incorporation and the project was completed in November 1967 with the existing regions transferring all of their assets and records to AYSO on November 30, 1967.  The Assignment document was executed by Hans F.W. Stierle (Pres.), Mario Machado (Vice Pres.), William J. Hughes (Secretary), Howard Krollfeifer (Treasurer), William Wolstencroft, Al Renner, Robert Barker, Alfons Joordens, Nuri Erturk, John Stranford and Erik Rudolph (all Regional Commissioners).  The Articles of Incorporation were executed by Hans F.W. Stierle and William J. Hughes on December 06, 1967 and the by-laws were approved by the Board of Directors the same night.  The following week I obtained the tax-exempt number from the IRS and the State of California and had the Articles of Incorporation and By-laws filed with the California Secretary of State on December 15, 1967.  I have in my possession the signed copies the documents as well as a picture of me reading the Articles of Incorporation and by-laws to the Board of Directors prior to their approval and acceptance.  Bill Wolstencroft, Ralph Acosta and Ted McLean are in the same picture.

In April 1968 AYSO had grown to over 1,200 boys playing on seventy-four (74) teams in eight (8) regions: Woodside-Portola Valley, Torrance, San Fernando Valley, West Los Angeles, Glendale-Burbank, Sierra Madre-El Monte, Riverside and Claremont-Glendora.  AYSO decided to again flaunt its successes by renting the Los Angeles Coliseum for the finals in the age groups participating.  Needless-to-say that created a major issue with "organized soccer" since AYSO brought teams down from Northern California.  To add insult to injury, Mr. Machado was now a staff member and color commentator for the Los Angeles Wolves of the North American Soccer League (NASL) as well as Mr. Stierle joining the Wolves (after the Toros folded) and AYSO ball boys were at all games.

In the fall of 1968, my employer transferred me to their San Francisco office and I began refereeing games in Region #1.  In addition I maintained my positions as Treasurer and Director and continued to work with the Directors and Regional Commissioners to expand the organization.  In the meantime, relationships with the "affiliated" soccer organizations deteriorated as AYSO explored expansion outside of California.  Carl Bizjak and Joe Ricapito were involved in AYSO Regions #1 and #3 and expressed an interest in Washington and Indiana respectively when they relocated to those areas.  I had numerous meetings with Matt Boxer, President of the Northern California Soccer-Football Association (NCSFA) in a effort to resolve the unaffiliated status of AYSO all to no avail.  AYSO wanted to become affiliated directly with USSFA not individual state organizations.

In early 1969 AYSO decided to expand its already successful play-off schedule by announcing a two-day, six-game tournament with teams from Northern and Southern California and Utah.  To commemorate the occasion, the City of Los Angeles issued the following proclamation:

 

City of Los Angeles

 

State of California

 

Resolution

 

American Youth Soccer Week

 

WHEREAS, the American Youth Soccer Organization has provided a healthy, useful and exciting outlet for many American youth throughout the nation; and

 

WHEREAS, Youthful soccer players are gathering in Los Angeles for a youth festival of soccer and friendship; and

 

WHEREAS, this peaceful gathering of youth may open new outlets for the youth of the City during their recreation hours:

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council of the City of Los Angeles commends the American Youth Soccer Organization and declares the week of May 17 through May 24, 1969 as American Youth Soccer Week in Los Angeles.

 

I have in my possession a reproduction of the actual Resolution.  It should be noted that over 5,600 people participated in the tournament and, shortly after that event, FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, banned, for life, Messers. Stierle, Machado, Hughes, Krollfeifer and Wolstencroft from participating in "organized football".

The expansion of AYSO continued in 1969 (122 teams), 1970 (216 teams) and 1971 (379 teams) and the inclusion of girl's teams (46) in 1972.  My involvement with AYSO became progressively more difficult as I changed jobs and was relocated several more times eventually settling in New Jersey.  I do not know the exact date that I resigned as Treasurer and Director but it was in late 1970 or early 1971.  It was decided that it would be far too costly for AYSO to incur expenses for me to attend meetings on a monthly basis as well as a problem I would have taking off excessive amounts of time from my position.  I continued as an "advisor" to AYSO for several years.

In 1972 I began refereeing soccer games in New Jersey for high school and amateur teams, became a provisional referee for semi-professional games and eventually I was handling professional matches in the German-American League, Italian-American League, Garden State League and Luso International Soccer League.  In 1973 I became a referee in the American Soccer League (ASL) and officiated at numerous play-off and championship matches.  I was fortunate to be the referee in two (2) championship finals.  In 1978 I became a referee in the North American Soccer League and in 1979  I was named to the FIFA panel of referees where I remained until 1986 (so much for a FIFA lifetime ban) when the NASL discontinued operations.

In 1996 Barry Ulrich, a former AYSO Regional Commissioner from Claremont contacted me about the beginning days of the "Claremont-Glendora Region" and said that AYSO was "looking for me" as they wanted to propose me for the AYSO Hall of Fame because of my involvement in the early years.  He provided my contact information to Sal Pantezzi, AYSO Board member, and wished me luck.  Subsequent conversations with Mr. Pantezzi resulted in him confirming my involvement with AYSO in the early years and I was subsequently elected to the AYSO Hall of Fame with the induction ceremony taking place in Washington, DC at the Annual General Meeting over Memorial Day weekend in 1997.  On Father's Day, June 15, 1997 I was also inducted in to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, NY.

The foregoing was prepared from recollection and a review of some papers I still have in my possession from my AYSO days.  I also used information contained in the AYSO Fact Sheet, Everyone Plays for the years 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972 and the AYSO 25th Anniversary Album.

 

Respectfully submitted, Howard Krollfeifer, Jr.               September 28, 2011

 

The key to the success of AYSO will always be the dedicated men and women who gave of their time and treasure. The story of Howard Krollfeifer, Jr. is but one of thousands and it is in anticipation that the PIONEER STORY of AYSO will factually and truly reveal the strengths and dedication of men and women that made it possible for the historic growth of AYSO to be realized. The  PIONEERS OF AYSO PROFILES to be included in this web site illustrate that AYSO men served in World War II (and wars to follow) and upon returning home, this greatest of generations were active family parents, especially of the AYSO FAMILY.
 
To obtain the great stories of hundreds, thousands of the members of the AYSO Family, this website will also include Profiles at the regional level and thereby afford the opportunity not only to read of their personal story but also of the history of the Pionneers of AYSO, past and present.
 
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