PLAYERS  52                                                                                                    TEAMS 4

                           Names to be added.
REGIONAL HALL OF FAME MEMBERS (1964-65 first year of involvement)
       Included in West Torrance "page."               
add others incl. all officers,
use the above format for all regions
add regional stories... example follows:
                                                     AYSO BIRTHPLACE CITY OF TORRANCE

On February 13, 1965, the first game of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), after weeks of formation and training in 1964, was played on Jefferson Elementary School field in the City of Torrance, California. At 1:30 PM, the Bulldogs and Hornets, ages 9-12, kicked off and in the decades to follow, over 7,000,000 youth would graduate from AYSO by the year 2014. Five hundred and fifty thousand, (550,000+) youth would be playing in 2012. The hundreds of thousands of coaches, referees, commissioners, administrators, and parents, would participate in the love of the game and with the joys that brought families into the sport. AYSO would become the foundation of physical activities for boys and girls not only in their elementary school years but also in high school, college, and professional years. The first of many AYSO philosophies, EVERYONE PLAYS, was the primary key of the successful youth program, beginning in the first year 1964-65 

In that first game, the playing history of AYSO would begin, the journey was underway, but many years of history preceded and many men and women had various adventures that were necessary to Americanize the world sport for successful implementation that finally captured the hearts of the American Youth.
The initial pioneer stories of Bill Hughes, Hans Sterile, Steve Erdos, Ralph Acosta, Bill McLean, Bill Wolstencroft, John Cooper, Andy Keir SR, Gregg Madden, Gordon Watt, George Kay, Duncan Duff, Joe Bonchonsky, and many others who witnessed the players in that first game of February 13, 1965, will have their AYSO Profiles contained in the APAYSO PROFILES sections of this web site. Their personal stories of youth and adult playing days are necessary to fully understand the complications involved during the decades before AYSO beginnings. The many attempts to involve the youth of America are filled with successes and failures but most all were necessary to ultimately achieve the success of AYSO. In the Pioneers of AYSO National level story of the APAYSO, the overall pioneer story of AYSO is presented.  A Regional pioneer story of AYSO in the City of Torrance is to be captured herein. West Torrance had one playing field at Jefferson Elementary School in the 1964-65 season. West Torrance with the addition of players from many cities then became Torrance followed by the name South Bay. In years to follow, the name West Torrance would describe the present region. 
There were two Cities of prominence in the first year of AYSO, the Cities of Torrance and Culver City. The pioneer story of Culver City will be presented as a separate document under APAYSO CA CULVER CITY. The tale of these two cities is instrumental to portray the complications of starting youth soccer programs throughout the United States where other youth sports were thriving in Little League baseball, Pop Warner football, youth basketball, ice hockey, track, and a multitude of youth sports that captured the imagination of American families. It might be stated, that soccer was considered a foreign sport in 1964 but it must be mentioned that American AYSO soccer truly came into being when the City of Torrance AYSO leadership eventually invited everyone in every elementary school to play in a youth sport where every child has a meaningful leadership development activity as an individual in team participation.
The first-ever official AYSO game on February 13, 1965 was unique because it involved a high percentage of foreign born parents with American born offspring. Three of the first four coaches on that first day in the City of Torrance were born in the “old country” and all but a few of the players were American born. Referee John Cooper who officiated the first game was a Brit and truly experienced by his many playing and reffing days. John Cooper became the solid AYSO first officer of fair play. Years later, John was to ref AYSO play-off games that were played in the Los Angeles Coliseum.  John Cooper, a special referee, always with a smile on his face, was our first chief of refetees and most importantly, he was the champion of building character amongst the players through his own leadership.  
Importantly, the individual stories of the youth players of that first year became the high point of the AYSO Player Pioneers who went onto high school, college, and professional careers as players, coaches, and administrators. While there are many who excelled, the first most prominent  of many would be Sigi Schmid of Torrance, one of the AYSO first year players, who, in his AYSO Player Profile takes you through his UCLA soccer playing days, high school coaching days, college coaching days at UCLA (three NCAA Championships), USA National Team assistant coach, professional coach (two Major League Soccer Championships, (LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew), three USA National Club Championships, (Seattle Sounders) and with his leadership, a first year player pioneer quality spokesman for the many benefits and growth of AYSO.      
Amazingly, many of the AYSO Torrance first year players, not only became instrumental in the growth of AYSO but also initiated the Southern California’s public high schools to commence their soccer school days and then flood all of the California Colleges, such as El Camino and UCLA with highly skilled players. The impact of AYSO in the growth of American soccer through the high school and college programs became part of the AYSO Americanization of soccer into the fabric of the main stream for American sports.

Many of the AYSO first year players have stories that must be told. The AYSO Profiles section of the APAYSO is to be filled with special attention to these first year players and many to follow. The first AYSO game at Jefferson field in West Torrance, a school field across the street from the residence of Hans Stierle, first president of AYSO, has many highlights not only in the play but also in the significance of that first game. Hans and Christel Stierle’s residence on Talisman Street served not only as the headquarters for AYSO in Torrance but also to become the first National Office for AYSO and its tremendous growth. For many years, Hans and Christel Stierle’s home served as the “nerve center” for AYSO as they enjoyed watching the first year of play by their first son, Paul, who played exceptionally well in that first AYSO year. Paul was to be followed by brother Kurt and sister Heidi, both of whom went onto stellar play during their extensive careers.

The number of AYSO early year soccer players who distinguished themselves in high school and college is to be detailed in their AYSO Player Profiles herein and, most importantly, their professional, Olympic, and World Cup successes became vital to those AYSO players that followed especially of the first decade of AYSO, who became most enthusiastic about their opportunities to go to college. The colleges on the West Coast would soon be inundated with skilled and well disciplined AYSO soccer graduates who now, in 2014, are parents and grandparents coaching, reffing, and active administrators of their offspring and others in AYSO, high school, college, and professional teams.   


The City of Torrance in the second half of the 20th century provided unique circumstances that were necessary for AYSO to not only commence but to flourish and become the example for every city in the United States. Torrance, a City with a big heart and vision, an excellent elementary school system that made every school yard available free to AYSO, a City government that supported all youth sports’ programs with the Torrance recreation sites, night lights for practice, coordination of field usage for all youth sports, and a City of bedroom communities with an Aerospace Industry that welcomed highly skilled engineers and highly skilled tradesman from the “old country” of whom most all were experienced soccer players and volunteered for AYSO coaching, reffing, and administration.


The die was cast for AYSO in Torrance to succeed in the first year of AYSO and for decades to follow lead as an example. When the American born players of American born parents were introduced to AYSO with its “youth first” philosophy, the American born parents joined the old country born parents and solidified the strength of the initial years and the explosive growth of AYSO in the surrounding cities of Torrance, center of the South Bay of Los Angeles. A combined effort of the “old and the new” resulting in a continuous growth that today numbers in the millions of AYSO national graduates. 


The first year of AYSO in the City of Torrance with its one playing field, with but four (4) teams (ages 9-12) with a total of 52 players, four coaches, four assistant coaches, one referee, and highly motivated administrators, led by AYSO president Hans Stierle as commissioner, would, in the first decade of AYSO, capture the essence of youth soccer that became the solid foundation for the United States of America to Americanize not only the sport of youth playing soccer but the Americanized participation of youth to the highest achievements of an international rating amongst the soccer powers of the world. 


One of the objectives of AYSO was to provide a procedure to seek the gifted players in America who were located in every town and hamlet in America. The story of AYSO soccer in the City of Torrance is shared by a multitude of communities throughout the Americas following the lead of the procedures, philosophy, and achievements initiated in the AYSO Birthplace City of Torrance.


As you read the annual presentations of Torrance becoming the center of the South Bay Region and then forming 8 Regions in the Los Angeles South Bay with four regions to eventually evolve from the City of Torrance, one can only be thankful of those PIONEERS of AYSO who fully realize their “time and treasure” was expended fruitfully and the primary benefactors were to be the youth of America. 


The success story of AYSO not only begins with a handful of adults and a few dozen players. It also begins with thoughtful parents who expanded their parental opportunities to be members of a larger family, THE AYSO FAMILY. Filled with pride and many, many accomplishments of active citizens they now carry forward the traditions of a well-based AYSO foundation.  The Pioneer Story OF AYSO may have commenced in the City of Torrance but as your read of each region to follow you will find that every city has their own pioneer story with their great individual accomplishments that formulate the AYSO FAMILY STORY. The PIONEERS of AYSO will illustrate, as the story continues, with the volunteer service of many parents who devoted countless hours and resources that entitles each region to share in the title ACTIVE PIONEERS of AYSO, (APAYSO), a task well done. We will all look back with family pride; and we have just begun. In the decades to come, AYSO will continue to flourish and every youth in every elementary school will be invited to not only find the gifted players but also for each player to know that he or she has truly brought soccer to be an American sport. The stories to be told are in their infancy and the ones to benefit the most are the players that found the joy of athletic competition that their parents provided.      
Click on West Torrance at the top of this page to proceed to the next year of interest.