2014-First 50 Years

August 15, 2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of AYSO. On August 15, 1964, five men, Bill Hughes, Hans Stierle, Steve Erdos, Ralph Acosta, Ted McLain gathered together in the City of Torrance, California and based on their previous attempts to initiate a youth soccer program in the United States, at different locations, found it necessary to change the entire youth soccer approach to an American Way that followed the successful format for other youth sports in the United States. This website, www.apayso.org portrays the story of the Pioneers of AYSO  with the intentions of not only recognizing all of the Pioneers of the first 50 years but to provide a pattern for the future years and the future Pioneers to reach out to every elementary school student in America to enjoy the world's number one sport, soccer.    
In reading the Pioneers of AYSO story you will be most appreciative of the humble beginnings undertaken by a limited number of parents and players who had the fullest intention of building a youth program that maintained that the advantages to our youth were foremost and achievable by the joys of athletic "fair" competition therein. Youth soccer has no boundaries in the size of the player and the competitive potential skills therein. The task was not to make soccer a success story but to make our youth succeed via soccer. With all the excellent AYSO Philosophies introduced in AYSO, the youth always, always, came first. Therein is the primary ingredient for AYSO's success. The journey would be long and require much endurance. For those of us who were there at the beginning, we are elated. For those who are with many years of effort, you are a blessing. For those of you who are just beginning in the journey, you will experience tremendous joy to compensate for your efforts.  WE ARE FAMILY, WE ARE AYSO.
From 125 players in the first year, 1964-65, AYSO has graduated approximately 7,000,000 soccer players. Hundreds of thousands have played at the high school level, tens of thousands played at the college level, and hundreds have played at the Olympic and Professional level. We do not intend to be pompous but we are entitled to pause at our 50th Anniversary, look back, look forward, and smile graciously.
We take time to honor our many who lived to serve AYSO. First by their energies and, most importantly, by their wisdom. Who would have thought during those early years that so much would be accomplished. There was an underlining to our efforts. Not only did we participate for our own youngsters but always we wanted to make it a more fulfilling road for those who followed. Therefore, when we made ground-breaking decisions they were not only for our moment only but also for your moments. There is a thrill in working with our youth, yours and mine. There is a "feeling" of impacting the future of our country knowing that athletics is a big part of forming many lives. For those of us who played in many other sports, soccer was/is a  unique way of participating in life. Our children got to know your children, albeit initially, on the field of play. But afterwards, a long history of "friendships" would be forthcoming. 
How many of you can remember that key goal, as a player, as a parent, that was scored......... or missed............. that brought a memory forever. At that moment the result was heartening or disheartening but in both cases heartening. What was a unique moment became a lifelong memory. Most coaches salved their player's wounds when the result was negative and soon thereafter the next game became most important. Each game was a "period of time in our life." As a player, you were young enough to offset the negative moment. As a coach, you had to lead the players to look forward and, in some cases, ease the pain to a player or two. But the memories of the next victory soon outweighed the past defeat.  
Sports is like that, lifelike. Eventually, you come to the conclusion that everything has a bright side and, most importantly, you acknowledge, finally, that you participated. Of all the benefits, participation is the sweetest. Whether as a player, Team Mom, Team Dad, Coach, Ref, or Administrator, you have the knowledge that you not only participated but also you were important to the total activity. 
For the millions of Players, we know you have great memories. For the Coaches, you know that leading a team of youngsters is better than most every activity. For the Referees, making that call that the player committed and administering the penalty was the beginning of law and order for that player, a great service. For the Field Maintenance Crew, it was always difficult to "set" the field but also rewarding to know that the players played on your artistry. For the Soccer Moms and  Soccer Dads, you were the closest to the players because you knew that "everyone" needed you at critical times. For the Administrators, you were the masters when everything went smoothly and you were the most sought after when  they didn't but it was/is a joy.
For the future Pioneers of AYSO, WE OLD TIMERS,  would prefer to be in your place to carry the future further.        WE ARE AYSO, LONG LIVE AYSO.

------ANNIVERSARY draft 9-15-2013

On Saturday February 13, 1965, at high noon, the Bulldogs played the Hornets, half-time score, Bulldogs 1, Hornets 0, final score Bulldogs 1, Hornets 3; the first-ever AYSO youth soccer game was played on Jefferson Elementary School field in West Torrance, California. Fifty years later, we celebrate the meeting of five gentlemen who founded AYSO on August 15, 1964: Bill Hughes, Hans Stierle, Steve Erdos, Ralph Acosta, and Ted McLean. . To fully understand the significance of these two events you must understand the American status of soccer for the previous 100 years, not only in the USA but also in the world.

This is a personal story, not because I was there at that first AYSO game that my two sons played in but because my story is your story, each and every one of you, as today’s pioneers of AYSO in your region. By understanding the status of USA soccer for the 100 years before 1964, you will acknowledge the past 50 years of miracles in AYSO and thereby take on those action-items that will continue to perform additional miracles. Yes, MIRACLES! In 1964, we could not fathom what the status of USA soccer would be after 50 years of AYSO, and 50 years from today; your offspring will also be very impressed with their Pioneers of AYSO story. We have just begun.

The AYSO story is a story of youth, youth as players; and parents, parents as volunteers. True, your children will be tomorrow’s Pioneers of AYSO simply because there is so much more to accomplish. You are the Pioneers of AYSO today and your success completes our success of the early pioneer days of AYSO.

In the USA, the 100 years before the beginning of AYSO, soccer was considered a foreign sport. Youth soccer was with limited success especially on the East Coast. True, youth soccer existed in a number of large industrial cities in various States, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and St. Louis in the mid-West, San Francisco and Los Angeles on the West Coast. Why was soccer growth limited? Why did soccer in America remain a foreign sport for so long? It is necessary to understand the status of hundreds of thousands of immigrants. It was their sport, they loved playing soccer but they wanted to preserve their old country organizational procedures and as a result, their inability to innovate, to change, to Americanize; their passionate love of soccer had them protecting their cherished traditions.

Yes, there were successes before AYSO. In 1930, the USA World Cup team reached the semi finals and although the players were mostly foreign-born, they were, comparatively, considered amateurs or semi-professionals. In the 1950 World Cup, the USA team defeated England, 1-0, in the shot heard around the world, but no American major explosion in soccer growth. Again the few American-born WC players had limited professional experience. Bill Jeffery, the USA WC coach was one of my engineering instructors at Penn State, and as a Scot, he had the best attitude, the deep will, and the ability and experience to lead the USA in beating England.

For the 50 years before AYSO, youth soccer in the USA was very limited, high school soccer did not have an abundance of youth soccer graduates to demand wide support; college soccer existed but mostly with foreign students, and the attempts at professional soccer were minimal and not financially supported by skilled entrepreneurs. The one bright note was the success of semi-professional soccer leagues in our

industrial cities on both the East Coast and the West Coast. For example, in Southern California there was the Greater Los Angeles Soccer League. Unfortunately, they were organized along ethnic lines and protective of their foreign traditions of organization and operation. Each GLASL adult team had a youth team and to win at all costs prevailed. Let us review an example of their youth league operation.

In 1956, Bill Hughes formed a youth league of nine teams within the GLASL and limited their players to their ethnic names. Albeit, there were club youth teams representing the Germans, Yugoslavians, Maccabees, Armenians, Scottish, English, Mexicans, etc. Some youth teams had 25 players of whom only 14 played in most games and soon players dropped out. On the Yugoslavian youth team some players had to drive 20 miles to practice and soon players dropped out. There was no relationship to a geographical community, a school, etc., resulting in no relationship to a growing, neither fan base nor a growth process. All youth teams were connected and limited to an adult ethnic soccer club who continued their national and ethic identity and did not share outside their foreign organizational and operational interpretation. Soccer was truly a foreign sport in most cases before AYSO commenced. As a result of the inability to Americanize, the 1956 GLASL youth soccer league had teams drop out after but a few games and the GLASL youth league folded after the season was over. Youth soccer throughout the USA before AYSO was destined for minimal success. However, lessons in Los Angeles were learned and the hunger for the youth to play was to be continued.

The complications within the attempts at professional soccer leagues suffered from the various limitations, especially the shortage of fans. The major benefit of youth soccer leagues prior to 1964 was the lessons learned. For example, Hans Stierle experienced excellent growth with growing pains in his Garvey Park Recreation Department youth soccer program in South San Gabriel; after one year, work circumstances moved his residence to West Torrance.

Dave Duff, the president of the GLASL in mid-1964 acquiesced to Bill Hughes’ request to start a youth soccer program, once again. At a GLASL monthly meeting Bill Hughes asked for volunteers and four hands were raised: Hans Stierle, Steve Erdos, Ralph Acosta, and Ted McLean. These five men met on August 15, 1964 and with Bill Hughes’ rough draft set of rules and regulations, AYSO was born. From this day on, soccer was no longer to be a foreign sport. The previous lessons learned were corrected at the beginning. Of all the American AYSO philosophies, the first one, EVERYONE PLAYS, initiated the primary route for AYSO success. Officers were elected, geographical areas of responsibility assigned, a refined set of rules and regulations initiated. The story of these five Pioneers of AYSO is captured in the web site

www.apayso.org and we look forward to the pioneer story of every region in AYSO to be included therein. It is important that you understand the trials and tribulations of the years before AYSO and the actions of the Pioneers of AYSO especially during the first ten years of AYSO plus the special character of the leaders therein, the foundation and opportunities for American youth everywhere.

Let us capture the beginning of initial team formation in AYSO. In late 1964, my sons Michael and Joseph were playing softball at Jefferson Field, when Hans Stierle, first President of AYSO, approached the players while bouncing a Polka Dot big ball. Hans invited them to kick the ball around, a big round ball that many had never kicked. Soon thereafter Hans had the boys signed up for the first year of AYSO. Hans’ family residence was across the street from Jefferson School and soon became the first headquarters of AYSO. There was a key reason for the softball players joining AYSO. In softball, if you are the second baseman and no one on base when the ball is hit to you, you have two choices. Catch and throw the ball to first base or commit an error. It was a regimented youth sport; and most players did not participate at any one possession of the softball. Soccer, on the other hand, allowed the recipient of the soccer ball to exercise many options and all players were moving to establish a team formation in an offensive mode. The ball recipient could one-touch pass the ball to an open player, or the ball may be controlled and dribbled to operate as many participate in a team activity or the recipient can dribble further down field to establish a play in that the ball is controlled for a shot on goal after a number of players participated. The sport of soccer was not regimented and the players had to make decisions that changed often. Everyone on the field of play was "thinking" and "developing leadership skills." The soccer coach was not dominating during the time of play, the players were actually learning to coach during play and every player could be involved on both offense and defense. There were no time-outs and participation was constant. Youth soccer players soon fell in love with the sport of soccer and its individual and team participation became a life-long love. It was a love that evolved at a very young age and the comradeship of togetherness reached into their hearts.

Steve Erdos, a Rumanian, lived in Culver City in western Los Angeles and soon after August 15, 1964 successfully organized AYSO youth soccer teams. Ralph Acosta in Alhambra took seriously ill and unable to establish teams. He was active in the first few years of AYSO as Vice President; he died from his illness a few years later. Ted McLean, although active, was unable to establish teams the first year in his expansive northern area of Los Angeles. Bill Hughes, the initial founder of AYSO was also limited in San Fernando Valley due to the serious illness of his wife; he and Ted McLean did find time to serve on the initial AYSO Board of Directors.

Of the five original founders, two men succeeded in forming teams for the first year. Steve Erdos had five teams in Culver City and Hans Stierle with four teams in Torrance. The first year of play revealed the potential by the quality of soccer coaching from foreign ex-soccer players and the soccer game played was excellent from the beginning. I lived two blocks from Jefferson School, involved in the soccer field maintenance and was able to witness the excellent playing and organizational activities of Torrance AYSO more so than Culver City. The Pioneer Story of Culver City will be included in the Pioneers of AYSO web site starting with their five teams in Culver City, Westchester and West Los Angeles.

In the first season, parents who played soccer in Europe coached three of the four teams in Torrance. An American College former soccer player, Gregg Madden, coached the fourth team. The playing skills developed quickly and were of a high quality after but a few months of practice starting in late 1964. The AYSO parents who supported Hans Stierle in West Torrance were mostly of foreign birth and truly active. With coaches, Bill Wolstencroft, Andy Keir, Sr. and Jr., Gordon Watt, Willie Carson, Gregg Madden, George Kay, Lorenz Lenhart, our referees John Cooper and Norm Jackson, and our first Soccer Mom, Christel Stierle with Sophie Adamson, Jean Klasila, Inga Bonchonsky, etc. AYSO West Torrance region, was solidly organized under AYSO’s first president and West Torrance’ first regional commissioner, Hans Stierle.

The stories of the first years are priceless and include the building of wooden goal posts, solving the scarcity of quality soccer balls, manufacturing unique uniforms, parental demands, request for rule changes, elimination of food booth, raising of funds, parental misunderstanding of soccer playing rules, need for practice field lights, and, most of all, the need for more referees. Sound familiar to many of you?

AYSO grew from 9 teams in the first year to 19 teams in the second year including four teams in the eastern part of Los Angeles and four teams in the northern section of Los Angeles. West Torrance increased from 4 teams to 6 teams, a 50% increase. AYSO officers were encouraged by the more than doubling of teams from 9 to 19. Soccer teams in additional cities were planned. The local newspaper articles added to the needed publicity for growth. Torrance planned to add a second field at the Alpine Village. Many problems existed and had to be quickly solved which is to be expected in a new beginning. The wooden goal posts were easily vandalized, soccer balls were not manufactured in the USA and quantity was a necessity at a low cost to provide each player with their own individual practice soccer balls. Coaching and referee schools were in demand. The stories of the Pioneers of AYSO, men and women, boys and girls, are priceless. The web site,

www.apayso.org, is unlimited and your stories are to be included. For example, wooden goal posts were vandalized by teen-agers. At Jefferson field, they would tie a rope to their Volkswagen and drag the wooden goal posts on the night before a game. Later, when metal goal post inserts were cemented into the ground, the Volkswagen had to have a running start. Did you ever see a Volkswagen without a rear-end?

In the third year of soccer, a change was required in the age groups to avoid 9 year olds playing against 14 year olds. The establishment of two age groups became a major benefit to the growth of AYSO because of the competitive fairness on the playing field. In previous years before AYSO, circumstances curtailed many youth soccer league beginnings but the experience, especially of Bill Hughes and Hans Stierle, became most important. In the third year, Steve Erdos of Culver City incurred out-of-state job relocation and the entire Culver City AYSO region terminated. With but only one year of absence and a hunger for the sport of soccer, Culver City would return as three regions in the fourth year: Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, and Culver City. The third year resulted in AYSO decreasing from 19 teams to 16 teams. Fortunately, the foundational success of AYSO soccer in Torrance carried the year and new teams in northern section of LA were formed: Sierra Madre, Northridge, and Claremont were to be added.

AYSO was blessed to be able to communicate its activities and thereby able to impact soccer throughout the USA especially via other youth soccer organizations. Soccer West magazine headed by Clay Berling of northern California was very receptive to printing the AYSO STORY and when Soccer America evolved, nationwide, the AYSO STORY increased her audience via authors such as Paul Harris, Brian Pugh, Joe Bonchonsky, and many others in AYSO. AYSO would soon have national attention because of its excellent growth and Americanization. AYSO with its excellent growth, and rules therein, directly impacted the other youth soccer organizations with its AYSO Philosophies and America was moving forward, at last.

The fourth year resulted in a greater interest in AYSO and four new regions commenced in Northern California, led by Tom Sullivan. The four new regions included Portola Valley, Redwood City, La Honda and Woodside. Their fast growing area would become the first step outside of Southern California and commence the true beginning of an AYSO national growth program.

Most importantly, the fourth year of AYSO resulted in the implementation of an additional age group division. The parents who had younger players provided AYSO with the beginning of a quantum leap forward, Division III, ages 7-9, was underway and did you ever witness screaming by the parents at a soccer game. There was something special about Division III not only by the players but also the parents. The enthusiastic spreading of the word by new parents was contagious for growth. For example, West Torrance at the beginning of season four had but 4 teams in Division III but West Torrance regional commissioner Bill Wolstencroft not only allowed for players to be added after the season began, to fill the rosters, but the late sign-ups resulted in the addition of two new teams in Division III at mid-season. New players were not told to come back next year, they played immediately. This procedure of adding players at all times indicated the excellent attitude within AYSO. Now, American-born parents were in demand as coaches, referees, soccer Moms, and administrators. The growth was so successful in Torrance/South Bay that Division III grew from 4 teams to 16 teams in one tear, 1969. The flexibility of AYSO management working together with each region inputting forecasted a major success for the future.

Throughout the years of AYSO there are great stories of individual teams but no one team will ever produce a greater story of the AYSO sports attitude than the BlueBells of South Torrance in the fifth year when 16 teams were formed in Division III. The 16 teams were selected geographically resulting in one team never winning a single game in their first season. Yet, the BlueBells’ coach had his players shake hands of their weekly opponents before and after each game and this was, knowingly, that they would most likely lose each game. To top this sportsmanlike gesture, the coach wrote a song that the team would sing after each game which included congratulations to their worthy opponents who would learn the lesson that winning is not everything.

AYSO had changed annually, from 9 teams to 19, to 16, to 72, to 216 (93 teams in the South Bay), to 744 teams in the sixth year. The growth was so successful in the fifth year it became time for the Torrance/ South Bay region to increase to multiple regions after the fifth season.

In order for the South Bay region to increase successfully to 8 individual regions therein, growth problems had to be solved efficiently. Most importantly, there was a major need for leaders in each of the new regions. Little did we know that AYSO would grow to 4,100 teams ten years after the beginning? Little did we know that girls’ soccer would become a major portion of AYSO and impact the Olympics and Women’s World Cup? Little did we know that the 50th Anniversary would reveal 7 million AYSO graduates with over 500,000 active players? Little did we know that nearly 90 American players would play professional soccer overseas in 2013. There were many miracles required along the way and the City of Torrance and the entirety of the South Bay would champion the way especially by sharing with other regions their growth experience successes during the sixth season.

The sixth year in the Torrance/South Bay region, along with other regions, would make decisions that initiated an accelerated growth for soccer. The results of AYSO growth after the sixth year would strongly implement high school soccer growth and this became the second step in the Americanization route for soccer success in the USA. In 1964 there were but six Catholic parochial high school soccer programs in Southern California. With the American route for success for most all sports being youth, high school, college, Olympics, and then professional, AYSO paved the way more than any other soccer organization in implementing the successful American operational and organizational procedure. Soon, every high school in Southern California would have boys’ soccer and 90% would have girls’ soccer. The invasion and skills development of high school soccer by AYSO graduates would impact college soccer with American-born players and the first three steps of Americanization were underway. Who, in 1964, would have believed that the USA Women’s’ Olympic Soccer Team would have completed the fourth Americanization step.

Many in the USA claim their efforts as the primary reason for the national growth of soccer in the USA, and yes, they were important contributions, but no one equaled the importance and the success for the Americanization of soccer than AYSO. At its birth, in 1964-65, soccer was no longer a foreign sport.

What made AYSO TICK? The development of AYSO Philosophies adhered to by every AYSO region was the key to the AYSO FAMILY of regions. This leadership role by AYSO and its unbelievable progress impacted the entirety of soccer in the USA and after 1964-65, no longer would youth soccer in America be without AYSO philosophies. The first AYSO year of EVERYONE PLAYS became the Hallmark of AYSO. The sixth year of EVERYONE INVITED and the formal formula for BALANCED TEAMS plus the SHARING OF GROWTH EXPERIENCE catapulted AYSO in changing the "foreign sport" of the years prior to 1964 to an American National Sport of soccer. AYSO is truly a FAMILY ACTIVITY, AN AMERICAN FAMLY SPORT

While there were many great leaders in every region of AYSO, THE SIXTH YEAR, 1969-70, was most creative. Each region in AYSO has its key years and rightfully so; it is planned that the Pioneers of AYSO web site will include those stories, your stories, for every region. . In the acknowledged birthplace of AYSO, the CITY OF TORRANCE, with players from the surrounding cities of the South Bay region, the sixth year of AYSO is entitled to stand out as one of the many highlights of the 50th Anniversary of AYSO. Let us review that magnificent example of AYSO sharing during the growth of one year.

At the conclusion of the fifth year, 1968-69, regional commissioner Ron Littlefair, and assistant regional commissioner Joe Bonchonsky, met six evenings per week until the beginning of the sixth season to discuss every potential problem and potential solution to accomplish a smooth transition to eight new regions with unconstrained growth. First, every elementary school student in the South Bay would receive a personal invitation from his schoolteacher to play AYSO soccer. BALANCED TEAMS would be formulated. Fields would be made available from the public school system and City recreation departments. Goal Posts would be built and made available at cost. Uniforms would be manufactured locally. Coach and Referee classes would be of the highest quality. Soccer Parents Organizations would be organized to raise the needed funds. Lights were provided for soccer practice. AND, the most important key was to locate eight regional commissioners who were the best of leaders in each of the new regions to solve those and many other problems.

Torrance/ South Bay is an Aerospace complex with a European brain drain for the Aircraft Industry. Garrett-AiResearch of North Torrance was a major subcontractor and in the early 1960s, the design and manufacturer of the Life Support System on the Apollo Spaceship was a major task. Engineers, technicians, skilled machinists worked 10 hours a day, six days a week, and four hours on Sunday to beat the Soviets to the moon. As overstressed engineers, we played bridge at the lunch hour for mental relaxation. During our games of bridge, most of our bridge players mentioned how their son played in their Saturday AYSO soccer games. Seven of the engineers lived in eight of the new regions throughout the South Bay. The key was to give up bridge for one lunch period per week and concentrate on youth soccer. The results of the Littlefair-Bonchonsky daily meetings were presented to the engineers, new commissioners, and the volunteers had the best of attitudes in serving the families of the South Bay. This family of AYSO regional commissioners not only had full regional responsibilities but each commissioner was assigned to head a special committee supported by seven committee men, the other South Bay regional commissioners. The challenges were many and the joy of solving them provided the best of attitudes in AYSO. The results of this AYSO FAMILY of regional commissioners are detailed in the Pioneers of AYSO web site. Let me detail two of the many accomplishments: finances and balanced teams.

Ron Crabtree, regional commissioner of South Torrance, formulized the procedure of balancing teams. In a six-team league there would normally be three experienced coaches returning from the previous year and three new coaches. The advantage of selecting the more skilled players would go to the three returning coaches. The six coaches would draw a number from a hat and each coach would select a player in round-robin fashion until at least 11 players on each team would be selected. However, before selecting, the coaches were informed that the team they are selecting would not necessarily be their team to coach. After the six teams were selected and numbered, one through six, each coach would draw a team number to be his team to coach. Could you picture each experienced coach making sure that team No.1 had the equal skills level as team No.6. Balanced teams provided fairness in competition and the excitement of each game provided a love of the sport of youth soccer for every player.

Alec Anderson, regional commissioner of Inglewood, and a Scot, was committee chairman to suggest the financial operations. Seven dollars per player was the registration fee. Alec suggested $1 per player to AYSO National headquarters for their operation. $2 was assigned to medical insurance per player; this was before Ron Littlefair’s implementation of AYSO self-insurance program. $3 was to be retained by the regional commissioner for equipment and operations. And with a thoughtful family of AYSO regional commissioners, $1 per player was to be assigned to AYSO National headquarters to be spent for development of new regions in areas were AYSO did not exist. $1 represented 1/7 of each player’s registration fee. Now you know why we are known as AYSO FAMILY.

Naturally, finances to operate are never enough unless you raise adequate funds and spend wisely. The formation of an AYSO Soccer Parents’ Organization was established to obtain team sponsors at $150 per team. The City of Torrance Police Department was the first sponsor to fund two teams. They considered this money well spent. Instead of chasing wayward boys on Saturday, the policemen attended the Saturday soccer games and watched the boys be obedient to the referee on the field of fair play.

During the entire sixth year period, many of the problems of growth everywhere were solved by the AYSO Family of regional commissioners and are detailed in the Pioneers of AYSO web site. "Leadership" amongst volunteer parents is essential, and at the fiftieth year, it is most fitting to honor all of the regional commissioners throughout all of AYSO by identifying those early eight region commissioners who solved many of our early problems to set the best of standards to assist you in your regional commissioners’ assignments.

We honor all regional commissioners by naming the eight new South Bay commissioners in the sixth year of AYSO.


Alec Anderson, Inglewood,… Rugby player from Scotland

Geoff Richardson, Manhattan Beach,…. Soccer player from England

Bob Greenwood, Redondo Beach, …. American football player

Dan Matulich, Palos Verdes,…. Olympic water polo player from Yugoslavia

Chuck LaFranchi, San Pedro-Miraleste,…. American baseball player

Terry McAffee, Carson-Wilmington, …. American bridge player

Ron Crabtree, South Torrance,…. Soccer player from England

Dick Smisek, West Torrance….. who with Don Hazzard, Mario Machado, their wives, and other regions would champion the beginning of girl’s soccer in AYSO in 1971.

These eight commissioners, four foreign-born and four American-born, were very dedicated for many years, served the youth of AYSO. Today, we look forward to the day that every elementary school student, boys and girls, in the entirety of America will be invited to play in the American sport of soccer via the American Youth Soccer Organization.

At this time, at our 50th Anniversary, based on the history of the early Pioneers of AYSO and the excellent status of present day AYSO Pioneers, each and everyone of you, will not only measure the success of our player graduates by their play in high school, college, Olympics, and professional soccer, but be reminded that each and every player who played in AYSO has gained the true benefits of playing youth soccer. This is best measured during each game when a player receives a pass and is required to "think" of all the options and opportunities of what to do. Shall I one-touch pass the ball? Shall I trap the ball while considering all the options, and select the best one? Shall I judge the location of my nearest fellow player compared to others and then make the right decision to move our team forward?

Youth soccer, where all are invited and the love of the sport of soccer in initiated. High school soccer where the skills of soccer are refined by the best of player development and search for the most potential players throughout the entirety of the country is concentrated. College soccer where the competition will soon rival the best of skills and professional players will evolve. Olympic and professional soccer will provide the heroes to assist in all youth to envision a future for each player, boys and girls. This four-step process is the Americanization of the sport of soccer.

It is this development of "leadership skills" on the field of play that best describes why we in AYSO place our youth before sport. Soccer is a sport that has truly been Americanized by AYSO parents and players, a sport that allows our children to learn, to think, and journey forward after their playing days with leadership skills actually learned on the field of play. It is the joy of playing soccer for all of the benefits to our youth that will continue us to cherish each moment of the first 50 years and it is our knowledge that AYSO is organized to grow where every volunteer, all of you, will continue to be FAMILY, OUR AYSO FAMILY, with a future to be brightened by every youth in America. God Bless each and EVERY ONE of you who participates with a Happy Heart in this BLESSED AYSO FAMILY. GOD BLESS AYSO.