1974 - First 10 Years

There are many ways to present AYSO during the first ten years. While statistics are finite and realistically portray progress they do not present the “time and treasure” that men and women, parents, devoted to the youth, not only of their families but also the youth of the communities. AYSO is the organization of these parents that allowed them to come together at gatherings in homes, pizza parlors, on the field of play, and especially training schools (i.e., KofC Hall Redondo Beach, Joslyn Center in Torrance, etc.) , private buildings and wherever their community held meetings. These volunteers had one primary objective: to raise a family with the assistance of participating in the sport of soccer.

In the PIONEER STORY of AYSO you will get to know but a few of the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who captured the spirit of fair, competitive play, and enjoyed the high of winning and the low of losing but always with a great amount of respect for the opponents. The coach plays a major role in preparing the players to play as a team and as individuals therein. Yet, when the game commences, the coach is replaced by the players on the field in executing the strategy previously taught by the coach. Soccer players innovate during the game and therein the leadership skills are developed.

The referee is the law enforcing officer and is guided by the laws of soccer and they allow for fluidity of the game and enforcement against those who are not playing in the spirit of the sport.  With a game well played, the referee is truly unknown and in a game with complexities, the referee is literally faulted for the players’ and coachs' inabilities. One recognizes this as the story of life in that, many times, life is not fair, a lesson learned on the field of play with no serious consequences other than the lesson learned. In the review of the first ten years of AYSO it is intended that you acknowledge the fact that the basic foundation of activities was oriented primarily to the youth. It was this concentration on what was best for the youth that dominated the actions of the adults, especially the founders, the parents, coaches, referees, and administrators. 

AYSO in her first ten years met the unbelievable task of taking what was considered a “foreign” sport and Americanized it organizationally to find a place, a home, in our country of immigrants. The task was not easy because “old country traditionalists” were engrained in their familiar ways and, naturally, devoted to carrying on their traditions. One must realize that the traditionalists were staunch supporters of youth soccer in their singular ethnic old country and in America, with its blend of many ethnic traditionalists, needed a new view of life and sports. Decades were lost throughout the Americas simply because “old country traditionalists,” rightfully entitled, wanted to continue what they felt was their property.  During the century previous to the commencement of AYSO, soccer actually flourished as noted in the 1930 World Cup where the USA finished third. In 1950, the USA World Cup team defeated England 1-0 and Bill Jeffries, a Scot, in actuality was a college soccer coach at Penn State. It took an “old country traditionalist” to weld a team of Americans to awaken the spirit of soccer in the USA. At the youth level, it took a blend of "old country tradtionalists" and "new country enthusiasts" to revolutionize the Americanization of a Youth Soccer Organization, AYSO, to commence measurable growth of the sport of soccer in the USA.

The first ten years of AYSO had visionaries who were tested in the years before 1964 and educated in their trials of not only soccer but also all of the American sport successes. AYSO was blessed in starting with founders who envisioned the successful route and incorporated philosophies that were eventually acceptable to “old country traditionalists” and “new country enthusiasts.”  The EVERYONE PLAYS philosophy of AYSO was readily accepted by those parents who were searching for participation by their offspring and AYSO became their haven. During the first ten years, the philosophies of AYSO grew and the numbers of youth playing soccer grew in parallel. EVERYONE INVITED allowed for the spread of youth soccer in unbelievable numbers and a search for the gifted; out of quantity comes quality.  BALANCED TEAMS presented each player with the fairness of good competition and the thrill of each game was enhanced to the players challenging level.  

The parental participation is awesome and the EVERYONE PARTICIPATES philosophy was engendered into the development of regional organizations where local control, supported by an understanding, experienced and tested National Office, provided the glue that seriously increased the growth rate. AYSO National became a home to each local home and with “youth before the sport,” the sport of soccer united regions throughout the Americas and this togetherness emboldened each region to invite every elementary school student in their locale to participate to their fullest. The decades before AYSO were necessary to "exorcise" the shortcomings of those years and now with quantity, the stages were set to find the gifted players to move into the high schools, colleges, and higher levels thereafter. The primary purpose of AYSO to provide the world's sport to our youth and, thereby, assist our youth to achieve their personal goals in life was, is, and will always be our foremost mission. 

The first ten years of AYSO were complex but the stage was set for millions of players to graduate with their new found expertise to take not only AYSO youth to the next growth period but also to infiltrate the high schools and colleges with skills developed in America. AYSO succeeded in her first ten years but the full story was just in its beginning.

The statistical review of the number of players and teams in AYSO best indicates the growth curve and the pride of those PIONEERS OF AYSO who now cherish the fruits of their labors

                                               AYSO STATISTICS OF THE FIRST TEN YEARS

               SEASON                      # OF PLAYERS                             # OF TEAMS
































In most cases, the number of players totals 15 players per team. The fact that some players move out of their community, etc, during each season (and are re-placed) is acknowledged and the number per season may be higher.  

In this website, the Pioneers of AYSO will present the National story for each year and then, in turn, summarize each ten year period of the first 50 years. It is important to understand the impact the Pioneers, parents and players, of AYSO had on the Youth, High Schools, Colleges, Olympics, and Professional soccer programs. The Pioneers of AYSO were not alone and their Philosophies and Placing Youth before the Sport of Soccer impacted the growth of soccer in the USA at all levels.


At the 50th anniversary of AYSO, on August 15, 2014, the Pioneerrs of AYSO today will not only look back but also look forward to the next 50 years of growth. In a realistic , practical analysis of the future, we Pioneers of AYSO have just begun and based on the unifying of all within AYSO, the potential is unlimited. 


In reading the Pioneers of AYSO Story, you are reminded that each participant at all levels truly enjoyed the exceitement and thrills of joy working and playing together not only for the benefit of the youth at that time but also the building of strong future citizens to enable this loving country of ours to be the country of destiny.    ENJOY!


It must be remembered that the first ten years were outstanding not only because the youth soccer organization, AYSO, developed an excellent working relationship within but the Pioneers of AYSO had a nationwide effect on all other youth soccer organizations who were trying to adhere to their interpretation of what was best in America. The "other"  youth soccer organizations for more than 100 years struggled when they tried to expand outsdide of their geographical territory. The five founders of AYSO had previously experienced the difficulties in youth organizations that they initiated: Bill Hughes in the Los Angeles affiliated youth organization of the 1950s and Hans Stierle in the Garvey Park (Los Angeles) experiment.  There was something that had to be changed and that was the AMERICANIZATION, not of the sport but of the philosophies of the youth organization. 


During the "opening" meeting of the five founders, their history of minimal success must be out-maneuvered to not only succeed as a youth soccer organization but also define the AMERICAN WAY. The first ten years resulted in the addition of AYSO Philosophies that complemented the  most important ASYSO philosophies of EVERYONE PLAYS. This primary philosophy of the early Pioneers of AYSO became the foundation of AYSO that differentiated them from all other yourth soccer organizations in America. Initial resistancve was met from some of the foreign born coaches and parents who wanted to build their own team dynasties therein. The wisdom of the early Pioneers of AYSO not only required each player to play 1/4 of each game, initially, but soon the parental approval of placing the youth before the sport resulted in the additions of many AYSO Philosophies that became the hallmark for youth organizations across the nation.  


Within a few years, the Pioneers of AYSO increased the playing time of each player from 1/4 of each game to 1/2 of each game. Some coaches revolted but soon, the influence of parents and the steadfast Pioneers held fast to finding the foundation for success. On top of EVERYIONE PLAYS, the sixth year of AYSO resulted in EVERYONE INVITED and BALANCED TEAMS was formulated to completely ensure that the AYSO youth players enjoyed the best of playing conditions from within their abilities. Thoughout the next few years, the  AYSO Philosophies grew and are defined in the NATIONAL AYSO PHILOSOPHIES within this web site. 


The fourth year of AYSO, 1967-68, the addition of Division III, players under 10 years of age, in fact, became the spring board to growth.  It was not only the playing spirit of the 7 to 9 year olds but the proud moments of the parents observing their offspring truly enjoy not only working the ball but the comradery of fellow players joining in the team work that placed many a smile on the young players' face.  Other sports were available to the under 10 but the abilities to participate in youth soccer had great advantages and therein the sport of soccer soon (in Torrance) out numbered all other youth sports. The youngsters knew that swinging a big bat at a pitch poorly thrown was not much joy. Futhermore, limited individuality as a baseball player was not much fun. If the baseball came to you at second base, with no runners on, you had but one choice, throwing the ball to first base, in AYSO soccer the player had many options and decisions to make. While AYSO made sure that their players could participate in AYSO and Little League by adjusting ther playing seasons, soon the true love of playing youth soccer retained more players than baseball. 


Pop Warner football found the youth players counting the minutes played or the plays played while the continuous action in youth soccer, without a break, resulted in the players truly enjoying the play of 1/4 of the game and  soon thereafter 1/2 of each game with many players playing the entire game. Youth basketball favored the taller youth and even then in the earliest of days, the ability to throw the basketball into a hoop relatively high in the air found many players turning to youth soccer. 


Most of all, AYSO soccer with its requirement for individuals to make decisions was a "feeling of participation" by each player. It was in the year 1969-70, the sixth year of AYSO soccer, when four foreign born soccer traditionalists and four American born soccer enthusiasts located in Torrance/ South Bay became commisioners in nearby cities that these eight engineers decided to truly grow AYSO soccer especially with AYSO Philosophies added. With regional commissioners all over Southern California, EVERYONE INVITED, EVERYONE PLAYS, BALANCED TEAMS, NO RETENTION, EVERYONE PARTICIPATES, etc. soon became the "growth foundation" for the unlimited growth of AYSO.  After the first ten Years of AYSO soccer, it now became a task of spreading the good news not only to new regions but also to existing "other" youth soccer organizations. Throughout the USA, the AYSO PHILOSOPHIES impacted everyone and the greatest beneficiaries were our American youth.


One additional key to AYSO success was to generate the AMERICAN WAY for the growth of soccer and provide a future for the graduate players of AYSO. In 1969, under the leadership of Hans Stierle, the challenge of following the USSF approach of forming club teams at the high school age level was met by the Pioneers of AYSO and the youth to high school to college, the AMERICAN WAY, was implemented by AYSO especially in California. By limiting the maximum age of AYSO players in Division I, to under the hgh school freshman age, AYSO unleashed all of the parents and the players upon the high school system and more than any other claim for the successful growth of adult soccer in America by all others, this definitive act of the Early Pioneers of AYSO and the positive proof of the 2012 high school soccer participant numbers is verification of the wisdom of the early Pioneers of AYSO.


The addition of girls' youth soccer to AYSO in the first ten years is a story of great success not only in the growth of girls' youth soccer but eventually the success of the USA Women Olympic and World Cup Teams as the Number One Nation in Womens'  Soccer.  The additon of girls' soccer completed the AYSO Family and the first ten years of AYSO where the youth came first the sport of soccer would now grow without bounds across the entirety of the USA.


It must be stated that the Early Pioneers of AYSO were not the only pioneering group for determining the route of soccer success in the USA because many other youth soccer organizations were coming of age. We, the Pioneers of AYSO, will unashamedly be extremely proud that the AYSO Philosophies initiated in the first ten years, 1964 to 1974, had a great impact on other soccer organizations adopting their versions of the AYSO Philosophies. To a greater achievement, the AYSO Philosophies have found the AYSO impact on many other American youth sports especially in the EVERYONE PLAYS philosophy, a major improvement in the participation of youth in all youth sports.  


The First Ten Years of AYSO established the strong foundation for the success of soccer in the USA and through the AMERICAN WAY, and after our first fifty years, we are proud of our volunteers who have dedicated unselfishly the energy not only to celebrarte fifty years in 2014 but to also peek into the future and envision the success after 100 years, after 200 years.


The first ten year review concentrating on the youth will be followed in this web site by the first 20 year review with an emphasis of the statistical impact of AYSO YOUTH and PIONEERS on high school soccer.  














Subpages (2): [Untitled] [Untitled]
Joseph Bonchonsky,
May 31, 2012, 12:04 PM