PLAYERS  5,585                                                                              TEAMS   379





Success in AYSO is not to be measured only by statistics, or by the accomplishments of those adults responsible. AYSO success is measured by the values attained by each player, individually and collectively. Surely, some adults re-lived their youth days through their offspring and truly enjoyed their accomplishments. But as noted, success is measured by the entirety of AYSO. Having been founded by a few, nurtured by many, enjoyed by all, AYSO measures success like a Monday nite quarterback, looking back, measuring where things could have been accomplished better, quicker, easier, and more inclusive, leaving room for future improvements. Success, therefore, is to be measured by today’s (August 15, 2014) looking back and future success by looking forward. The Pioneers of AYSO, through this web site, are oreiented to have each and every region present their stories and honor the leaders and players therein. This web site is a never ending activity and unlimited. 

In 2014, AYSO with her early founders joyfully resting with the greatest of memories has a measuring stick of "well done." The many of the last 50 years who persevered under times when they felt alone now realize the fact that AYSO is actually you, and at times feeling alone in your thoughts but not in actuality. AYSO is Family, your Family, my Family, our Family, and priceless. Like the AYSO responsible persons of the first time-component you are now responsible for your generation, your time-component, responsible to yourself and your challenges. True, your challenges are new and unique but today, even more important is the challenge to invite every elementary school student, nation-wide, into AYSO to provide our youth with learning leadership qualities while playing on the soccer field, a goal that you can score. With obesity curtailing too many youth in reaching their objectives, inviting EVERYONE to play AYSO soccer is more important to the strength of America than the success of winning soccer championships. True, you will feel alone when these challenges are presented but you are not alone. The responsible persons of the early time-components made it possible for you to be positioned in your excellent status. Yes, we will measure success statistically, claim the great innovations, celebrate in our accomplishments, but truly we would love to have started out in your circumstances. We are envious of you and we also recognize that we played our part; however, you are closer to complete success than we ever dreamed.

The AYSO success route has not changed; youth, high school, college, professional, Olympics and World Cup will always be one of the growth measurements of AYSO success. I am confident that you realize it all starts with the first level, our youth, yours and mine.      

Many soccer fans of today give credit to other avenues of soccer for success in America and they are to be honored. However, statistically speaking, it was AYSO and its tremendous growth that resulted in high school and college soccer’s increased successes, (the traditional American Way for success in American sports), that have made professional success and the USA a major force in worldwide soccer. Other youth soccer organizations began to compete with AYSO, by implementing some changes, and we all gained.

The most clear-cut example of AYSO success is the accomplishments of the USA womens' teams in the OLYMPICS and WORLD CUP. The number of AYSO women graduates that filled the high schools, colleges, and professional ranks is a direct result of the tenacity of the AYSO leaders especially of the first three years when they overcame what appeared to be a “stumble,” regained her strength of convictiions, added AYSO Philosophies, and added AYSO girl’s soccer shortly thereafter.

Most importantly, the future success of America in international soccer, including the men’s World Cup, will be fully dependent upon the strategy of the AYSO to locate the best gifted athlertes in their inviting every elementary school student in the USA as initially accomplished in the City of Torrance and the South Bay in the year 1968-69. Throughout the USA there are gifted youth, youth that are capable of becoming the modern-day Pele, Beckenbauer, George Best, Dave Beckham, Messi, Sigi Schmid, Ricky Davis, Landon Donavan, and many other gifted athletes.

One does not create inbred skills; one locates the youth that possesses those innate skills, introduces him/her to the joy of youth soccer, provides an atmosphere that develops a love for the game, elevates the players’ desires to allow for the hunger of competition to evolve, and then and only then, selects the best of the best as potential candidates to the highest levels of soccer training and play . Some youth reveal the potential in their earliest years of play, some youth require their teens to exhibit the full potential, but, most importantly, EVERYONE MUST BE INVITED to the AYSO experience.

There is no way to select the best available from but a few talented simply because the most skilled soccer player may be located in any city, any town, any borough, all over the USA. Sports’ historical success in the USA is not a result of only the sciences of the specific sport but an all-encompassing format usually attained through youth programs then high school and college avenues. The true success of AYSO will also be in the preparation of those graduates who will coach in the youth, high school, college and professional levels. When EVERYONE is invited and EVERYONE PLAYS, AYSO will have Americanized the sport of soccer and achieve the goals sought with others to evolve.

The World Cup and Olympic medals won by the USA Women’s teams is a classic success story of youth, high school, college and then the professional level as the success route. AYSO has always placed the youth before the sport and the fulfillment of a college education has allowed millions of boys and girls to not only enjoy the sport and receive the opportunity of a college education but also to garner some great achievements in leadership for every youth through the sport of soccer during the American process of EVERYONE PLAYS.      

AYSO measures success in many ways. The one activity that stands out is the ability of the Pioneers during the year of 1969-70 when Ron Littlefair and Joe Bonchonsky and the eight commissioners of the South Bay took those action items that presented a working relationship with other youth sports. The intent here was to make sure that each youth found his niche in sports especially knowing that some youth would succeed in locating their expertise. Joe formed an organization titled, “THE TORRANCE SPORTS ORGANIZATION.”  As president, Joe invited the key Torrance members of Little League Baseball, Pop Warner Football, Youth Basketball, and an open invitation to any youth sport organization. The objective in utilizing tax-payer-funded facilities with coordination amongst the youth organizations' playing schedules was deemed paramount to the success of all youth. Meetings were held and each sport aligned their schedules to allow each sport maximum time of City of Torrance facility usage. AYSO Soccer and Little League Baseball both had long seasons and the overlap was minimized to the satisfaction of both. This procedure allowed a player to participate in both soccer and baseball. Southern California weather allowed both sports to engage our youth year round.   

The cooperation between the youth sports allowed the continuation of compatible scheduling in high school sports and as a result, soccer was destined to follow the known American success route of the youth, high school, and college path.   

High school football coaches wanted their football players to play high school soccer simply because of the physical skills developed in playing soccer were advantageous to the football team. The different seasons for football and soccer, especially in California, resulted in a supportive role for soccer by the football coaches. 

AYSO now is at the foundation of individual success stories via soccer. The fact that parents get involved as volunteers during their offspring’s youngest years provides the healthiest of environments for the youth of America. AYSO, as illustrated in the PIONEER STORY OF AYSO, breathes with volumes of success and is organized to grow with their youth in the years ahead. If there is one dynamic in AYSO it is that the “Y” of Youth is magnified by the “A” of American. Every soccer country has their characteristics in play and participation to reach international prestige. AYSO is at the foundation of the American Way to its rightful place in the Soccer World.

With millions of AYSO graduates in its first 50 years and with the Pioneer Spirit of today’s time-component, AYSO has just begun. 50 more years, 100 more years, AYSO Pioneers will pause and look back with great gratitude for those individual families who made up the AYSO FAMILY who knew that the challenges are best met by placing the “Y” in Youth before the “S” of soccer in AYSO.