1967-68

WEST TORRANCE, TORRANCE, SOUTH BAY  1967-68                                                           
 
PLAYERS: 1,044 THREE DIVISIONS                                                     TEAMS: 72 

REGION COMMISSIONER: BILL WOLSTENCROFT

ASSISANTS ANDY KEIR SR, FRANK PISCIOTTA
PUBLICITY DIRECTOR: RON LITTLEFAIR

 

There are many AYSO leaders that deserve the title of PIONEER OF AYSO but none more than Bill Wolstencroft, a Brit, who grew up in England not only playing soccer but also living soccer to the fullest. Bill Wolstencroft, taking over the Torrance (AKA South Bay) leadership as Hans Stierle, first president of AYSO, became more involved in the totality of AYSO growth, nationwide, demanding more of his precious time, carried AYSO South Bay through the amazing results of introducing soccer to the youngest of ages to date.

While Hans Stierle was leading all of the AYSO regions through their introduction year of Division III, Bill Wolstencroft, South Bay/Torrance region commissioner, was adamant in allowing any youngster, even throughout the season, who wished to play, an opportunity to join even when all 4 Division III teams, starting out with 12 players, filled up to 15 players. Bill Wolstencroft in the middle of the season added two more Division III teams to accommodate those who were learning of AYSO soccer and its expansion via Division III, ages 7 to 9. Success in AYSO growth had a new foundation; one that the parents treasured and participated most fully.

Division III, totaling only 6 teams in the 1967-68 Torrance/South Bay season, would grow to 18 teams in the following year, and to be prepared, new fields, quantity and quality of soccer balls in three sizes, (Size 5 for Division I, Size 4 for Division II, and Size 3 for Division III), were required not only for each team but availability to each player to hone their skills in their own back yard, and at affordable costs.           

AYSO was now undergoing the many challenges of growth. In addition to the need of fields, equipment, coaches, referees, and field maintenance, the addition of American born parents would outnumber the “old country born” parents. Attitudes of little league parents and demands of hard working volunteer parents would come into the operation of South Bay AYSO.  One person, Ron Littlefair, appointed Publicity Director of the South Bay, did more for establishing public relations in this prime region of AYSO and in the most difficult of times, the continuing formative years. Relations with the many organizations of city government and school boards were of essence. Like many Torrance AYSO Pioneers, Ron Littlefair eventually moved into the AYSO National Office. Ron served as National Vice President of Growth and Development, Publicity Director, and Insurance Consultant. In the season of 1967-68, Ron placed his public relations marker,  and Torrance (AKA South Bay) would lead the Southern California cities to their rightful leadership place in AYSO.

Most importantly, Ron, in many varied positions, was instrumental in having the South Torrance AYSO region assist in the first public high school, South Torrance High School, to join the California Interscholastic Federation South Section, the largest section in California. AYSO was positioned to follow the American way of sports, youth, to high school, to college, to the professional ranks.

Regional commissioner Bill Wolstencroft, with special attention to Division III, surrounded himself with the best of volunteers and with an increase in the number of players from nearby cities participatuing, the City of Torrance  would take on the challenge of leading the South Bay expansion. The next three years of AYSO in Torrance would require not only an increase in volunteers but also a willingness to share in the joy of AYSO's place in youth sports.
 
At this stage of AYSO growth, Torrance (South Bay) AYSO would be best positioned to set the standards of having city government and AYSO on the same playing field. It was not to be taken for granted that AYSO would be fully accepted by city officials who grew up in other sports. Ron Littlefair, a Torrance City stalwart in Little League baseball not only cajoled the City into supporting AYSO soccer but was instrumental in these growing years to prepare, print, and deliver the weekly Soccer Kicker to every team in Torrance that expressed the joy of the youth. Ron was a true AYSO volunteer involved in solving the most difficult of tasks at all levels while detailing each and every growth factor.

Ron Littlefair, like many AYSO parents devoted “time and treasure” beyond the norm to elevate AYSO. While many of the Torrance AYSO profiles incorporated in this web site are outstanding, the Torrance AYSO Profile of Ron Littlefair illustrates his love of country as a fighter pilot with over 100 missions, his love of AYSO as a dedicated individual and team leader, and most importantly, not only as a Family Man but also as an AYSO Family Man. The adult leadership of AYSO will be witnessed in their Profiles throughout the AYSO STORY nation- wide and the Pioneers are unlimited  in quantity and quality; this STORY is to be never-ending.  

The fourth year of AYSO in the South Bay witnessed the “explosive” growth of AYSO in the number of additional players, fields, improvement of equipment, and the critical procedures of involving more adult volunteers.                

Torrance AYSO, aka South Bay, expanded rapidly and was ripe for expansion by forming 8 regions from within in the years to follow  and while there were many outstanding men involved, the time for girls’ soccer was approaching as they observed their brothers come home exhilarated by their excitement on their field of dreams that they wished to share.
 
In addition to the inclusion of boys Division III, the Soccer Moms involved as Team Representers were undergoing pressure from their daughters to play in AYSO. The Soccer Moms gained attention by challenging the Soccer Dads to a game of soccer on the playing field. On March 23, 1968, 22 Soccer Moms (plus one professional goalie) took to the Jefferson Elementary School Field and trounced the Soccer Dads, 5-1, and soon thereafter (1971) girls soccer would be introduced to AYSO. Mario Machado of Hollywood notoriety was the primary supporter for both the San Fernando Valley and South Bay regions at the national level. Coupled with the introduction of boys Division III (1967-68) and girls soccer (1971), AYSO was now positioned to have Everyone Invited thereby creating the foundation for accelerated growrth.
 
The first three years of AYSO presented challenges and the fourth year became the break through year that witnessed a major introduction for growth. The unaffiliated status of AYSO was not burdened by the ethnic oriented attempts previously undertaken in the Los Angeles Area. Bill Hughes was ecstatic for the many old soccer traditionalists and new soccer enthusiasts that were emanating from among the old country and the new country. There was a new breadth of fresh air and placing the youth before soccer was the main pulse.  
 
In the upcoming years the challenges would be primarily of providing services to the coaches and referees; the youth would bring along their Soccer Moms and Soccer Dads. The new breed with the old breed illustrated that the American Way would evolve within AYSO and it was but a matter of great sacrifice, time and treasure, and with patience of adhering to the by-laws, rules and regulations developed during the first decade of AYSO.    
 
It was the skill of leaders who provided the acumen and "sweat and toil" that would manufacture uniforms, construct soccer goal posts, provide an oversupply of soccer balls, work with city governments and public schools for their recreation fields, conduct schools for coaches and referees, raise funds not only for local development but also funds for AYSO development in other locations, and, most importantly, provide the environment for the growth of AYSO soccer families. Of all the accomplishments, "fair play" in a sport that was being pillered in USA newspapers, and with parents that would carry the load of Americanizing the organization that would offset others from demanding their way of growing soccer in America, the Soccer Moms and Soccer Dads would come forth and be the mainstay within AYSO.    
 
There was no detail too small, nor any grievance left unsolved, that was not attended to during AYSO formative years Every week Ron Littlefair prepared the soccer game news (attached) titled "South Bay Kickers,"  a treasure to those players who are now grandfathers fully involved in life. Thank you Ron Littlefair for the excellent public relations, coaches for their patience in welding the skilled with the learners, referees for your justice instilled on the field of play, and for all of the Soccer Moms that Christel Stierle and others  who prepared the way for girls soccer that would result in AYSO contributing to the first ever worlds' World Cup and every Olympic gold medal contest, with the USA winning four out of five. The influx of AYSO graduates, boys and girls, into the high schools and colleges is our topping on the cake.  AYSO HAS A DREAM, A DREAM OF INVITING EVERY BOY AND GIRL IN AMERICA TO PLAY YOUTH SOCCER, (affiliated and unaffiliated), and in the spirit of fair play and sheer enjoyment. 
 
The Early Pioneers of AYSO are most proud of the players of the early years, especially knowing that they are now coaching their sons and daughters (2012), and in the formula of today's Pioneers of AYSO, together, WE HAVE JUST BEGUN.  
 
 
Subpages (1): South Bay Kickers
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