1969-70

PLAYERS 3,240                                                                                           TEAMS 216

 

AYSO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President Hans Stierle                              Vice President Mario Machado

Treasurer  Howard Krollfeifer Jr.              Secretary Bill Hughes

 

At the end of the 1967-68 AYSO playing season, Ron Littlefair was appointed the new AYSO Regional commissioner for the Torrance (South Bay) region. A graduate of Syracuse University, Ron had experienced watching his two sons during the early years of AYSO and coupled with his management days in Little League baseball and AYSO soccer, Ron was to be challenged as a regional commissioner through one of the most vital growth years of AYSO changes.

As the Public Relations Director in 1968-69 for the AYSO Torrance/South Bay, Ron had a close relationship with the City of Torrance government officials. Producing the AYSO South Bay Weekly Kicker beginning in the 1967-68 season, allowed Ron to not only enjoy the reports of joy but also the trials of others. Ron was well prepared to lead AYSO Torrance/South Bay in its most rewarding and most challenging year.

At the end of the last game of the 1967-68 season, Ron Littlefair and Joe Bonchonsky met 6 nights a week for 4 months to prepare for the new age of AYSO soccer within the City of Torrance and the South Bay to play a major role in growth. During their nightly meetings every possible stepping stone was evaluated. First on the list was to invite every elementary school student in the City of Torrance to play soccer in AYSO. Pamphlets were prepared in the thousands, bundled in groups of 25, taken to each elementary school principal to be distributed by the teachers of every class to every student. The AYSO Philosophy of EVERRYONE INVITED was born.

The City of Torrance was divided into two halves with Ron at the Riviera school registration site and Joe at the Jefferson school site. A parent of the player was required at registration and each parent was interviewed for an assignment as a coach, ref, maintenance crew, fundraiser, team manager, etc. If the reply was negative, the parent was informed that if there were not enough coaches the full team would be dropped, volunteers abounded.

Additional commissioners became a priority. At Garrett-AiResearch Company in the City of Torrance where Apollo “Life Support System” engineers, who during bridge playing lunch half-hour periods discussed their son’s involvement in AYSO soccer, Joe Bonchonsky encouraged seven of them to volunteer and to be commissioners of their respective cities. From the Ron-Joe meetings, challenges were identified for the 8 new commissioners and lunch periods at Garrett-AiResearch extracted the best of implementation decisions.

A formal procedure for balancing teams, increased playing time from ¼ of a game to ½ of a game, advanced coach and referee schools, no retention of players by the coach, financial solutions, manufacturing improved metal goal posts, purchasing power for better uniforms, quantity of quality soccer balls, and most importantly following Ron and Joe’s EVERYONE INVITED procedure through their elementary school principals and teachers throughout the entire South Bay thereby fulfilling AYSO’s philosophy of EVERYONE PLAYS. 

The eight new South Bay commissioners in the year 1969-70 catapulted the growth of AYSO not only in player numbers but also in improved rules and procedures. In 1969, the South Bay would have 93 teams of the AYSO total of 216 teams.   In 1970, the South Bay would have 187 teams of the AYSO total of 379 teams. B y 1976, the West Torrance Region alone (one of eight) would have 91 teams and 11 fields, with 21 officers plus 14 commissioners including 4 Girls Division  Commissioners.

 

The eight new South Bay commissioners of the 1969-70 season emanating from the 1968-69 season are noted as follows:

Alec Anderson, Inglewood and Westchester

Terry McAffee, Carson City and Wilmington

Chuck La Franchi, San Pedro and Miraleste

Dan Matulich, Palos Verdes

Bob Greenwood, Redondo Beach

Geoff Richardson, (non-AiResearcher), Manhattan Beach

Ron Crabtree, South Torrance

Dick Smisek, West Torrance

These eight commissioners guided by Ron Littlefair and Joe Bonchonsky literally moved AYSO decades forward with innovative changes that will be fully described herein.  Handling of the “old country” traditionalists with no player retention was a major accomplishment. Torrance/South Bay support to AYSO National was unstoppable.

With Torrance/South Bay commissioners providing growth from within a region, the growth in numbers of players accelerated. The focus at the National level concentrated on growth via the addition of new regions. Internal growth within each region was the Torrance/South Bay growth success story.  Together AYSO National and Torrance/South Bay supported by the dual approach to growth would now implement the long-range plans. It was the regional support from all regions, both financially and with man-power, that made unbelievable AYSO growth possible.

The Torrance/ South Bay 1969-70 season with its addition of AYSO Philosophies, EVERYONE INVITED, BALANCED TEAMS (formulated), and EVERYONE PARTICIPATES are the result of eight commissioners (four foreign born and four American born) gathering together and determining the operational procedures and optimum organizational structure, especially for regions, that would result in quantum leaps of growth. Each of the eight South Bay commissioners would be fully responsible for their regions (districts) and stll act as "one" in the determination of management improvements. The forward thinking resulted in "common sense" solutions instead of "desires" of any one individual. Each commissioner, in addition to his regional duties had individual assignments at the "think tank" meetings.  The end-result was far reaching. For example, the finances obtained from player registration would include a specifc amount from each player to include monies for expansion outside of existing regions (nationwide), funding for AYSO National operations, insurance monies, equipment purchases, etc. Most importantly, standardized fund raising by "team sponsors" would be implemented to meet operational expenses. Out of this togetherness, balanced teams was formulated,  player's medical insurance was AYSO self-managed, mandated playing time was increased, etc., and most importantly, public relations with city government, high school principles and teachers, city recreation departments, coordination with orther youth sports received the highest of coordination. 
 
It was imperative that everyone who participates in AYSO were fully cognizant of not only the status of AYSO but the potential of AYSO growth to the youth of America. The time periods of AYSO were to be constantly recognized by all.                                            

There are three integral time periods in the 1960s that present the foundation of AYSO in its Americanization and worthy of summarization for a full understanding of the primary efforts of its founding pioneers.

First, the pre-1964 period reveals that the five founders were challenged in their individual earlier attempts to implement youth soccer programs. In 1956, Bill Hughes attempted to work within the affiliated Greater Los Angeles Soccer League adult program to form a “new country” youth soccer program but without major continuing success. In 1961, Hans Stierle started a youth soccer program at Garvey Park, CA and with measureable success moved the ladder forward. In 1964, the five founders, Bill Hughes, Hans Stierle, Steve Erdos, Ralph Acosta, and Ted McLean, together, found the correct combination and began to climb the foundation ladder, better known as AYSO.

The history of youth soccer throughout the Americas contributed to this first time period (pre-1964) primarily because lessons learned in many States required passage through the mix of old country experiences with new country values. It might be stated that this first time component was necessary to find the correct combination that would make AYSO the foundation for the growth of soccer in the USA. AYSO was still to undergo many trials simply because the “old country traditionalists” would have to compromise with “new country enthusiasts.” The fact that pre-1964 found “old country traditionalists” throughout the USA hanging onto their treasured procedures of organization had very little to do with growing the sport of youth soccer but simply wanted their individual procedure/ownership to prevail.

In the second time period, the first three years of AYSO, the AYSO founders, with much credit to these five men, presented the basic AYSO philosophies of EVERYONE PLAYS that would revolutionize the sport of youth soccer in the USA and would emphasize the tradition of the USA in that the most successful sports would commence in youth programs with elementary school students and the tens of thousands of school facilities providing unlimited support. Then the high school sports programs with thousands of high schools and their unlimited facilities would capture the soccer sport because of the leadership skills learned therein and the love of participating for your school; playing for your high school alma mater was key. The AYSO seasons, 1964-65, 1965-66, and 1966-67 presented many challenges to the AYSO leadership as revealed statistically. The AYSO seasons of 1967-68, 1968-69, and 1969-70 truly answered the founding fathers that they had the correct formulas initially.

Beginning with nine teams in the City of Torrance and Culver City, and with nineteen teams in 1965-66, AYSO expanded into the San Fernando Valley and Sierra Madre.  Losing Culver City in 1966-67 season was to be compensated by their later return in Culver City, Santa Monica, and Hollywood.

The year 1966-67 found AYSO increasing into two age divisions and, thereby, the second time-period of AYSO succeeded in passing the test of not only survival but also the beginning of accelerated growth.

The third time period of the 1960s, with the strong foundation of the previous years, was explosive in many ways.  The AYSO seasons of 1967-68, 1968-69, and 1969-70, truly found a fast-growing niche for growth via the addition of Division III, ages 7-9. Parents delighted in participating with their youngest simply because anticipation of a sports future for a youngster, skills unknown, were revealed by the most honest smiles of joy on both the player and the parent. Division III was to introduce the American-born parent to the foreign born parents, both with American born players.

The second time period, 1964 to 1966, set the foundation and the third time period of the 1960s, 1967 to 1970, found that climbing the ladder would require many innovative steps to be taken. The AYSO founding philosophy of EVERYONE PLAYS was to be supported by the AYSO philosophy of EVERYONE INVITED, BALANCED TEAMS and EVERYONE PARTICIPATES.

The City of Torrance and her two commissioners, Ron Littlefair of South Torrance and Joe Bonchonsky of West Torrance, initiated the EVERYONE INVITED procedure by printing tens of thousands of invitations to be processed first to every school student in the Torrance Elementary Schools and then the newly found eight regions within the Los Angeles South Bay would complete the totality of the invitations to the tens of thousands of elementary school students.              

With the previous years establishing the foundation of AYSO, the season of 1969-70, found AYSO on an unlimited growth step. EVERYONE INVITED, EVERYONE PLAYS and on BALANCED TEAMS, truly captured the Americanization of youth soccer to its fullest. The foresight of five founders was now complimented by the engineering accomplished by eight commissioners in the Cities of Torrance/South Bay, the surrounding cities forming the South Bay of LA.  The pioneering growth of AYSO will be increased with the many regions in AYSO who will add their stories worthy of National level impact, as the APAYSO STORIES from within each region are written.

AYSO was now ready to fully cross the country with the best of formulas. The growth foundation was set by searching for quality by seeking quantity first, and then providing American soccer with its success route into high schools, colleges, and the professional ranks. There will always be the tug-of-war between the “old country traditionalists” and the “new country enthusiasts” but the success formula was established by the formulae of AYSO PHILOSOPHIES that placed youth first. As long as each region places youth before soccer, AYSO will lead at the foundation of success for EVERYONE in the Americas. 

Soon after the 1969 AYSO season, the public high schools of South Torrance first and then West Torrance would join the parochial high schools of Los Angeles and eventually every high school in Southern California would feed into the college soccer programs. The AYSO-fed UCLA college soccer program primarily with AYSO player graduates and AYSO trained coach, Sigi Schmid, of the first AYSO playing year, would set the example throughout the States on the American Way process for soccer, youth to high schools to colleges.

The 1960s in AYSO reached the top of the California ladder and with the best of leadership, unselfishly, commenced the sharing of her fortunes by expansion into other States with the AYSO PHILOSOPHIES that brought success to all who now form the AYSO NATIONAL FAMILY.

The years to follow will still require mediation between the “old country traditionalists” and the “new country enthusiasts” but now that the AYSO youth of the 1960s are the skilled coaches of high schools and colleges (and professional teams), the American route of citizen-financed elementary schools and high schools providing opportunities for college education to soccer players follows the American tradition for all sports. Some of the first AYSO graduates are now (2012) grandfathers and they form the STRONGEST echelon of the PIONEERS of AYSO who are now organizing to assist in AYSO fulfillment of further objectives that we are all to seek and treasure.  It is a primary objective of the Pioneers of AYSO to support every AYSO region to invite every elementary school student throughout the Americas to play soccer in the AYSO Family.       

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