PLAYERS 450                                                                                               TEAMS 30








AYSO grew from 9 teams in 1964-65  to 19 teams only to be reduced to 16 teams in 1966-67. The season of 1968-69 with an AYSO growth to 72 teams and Torrance (South Bay) growing to 30 teams therein established the growth procedure that would lead AYSO for generations to come. With 18 teams in the South Bay Division III, ages 7 to 9, and parents who truly treasured participating as their youngest performed with the skills derived from practicing with their older siblings, the South Bay/Torrance region would increase in numbers that gained attention throughout the State of California.

The excellent public relations with city government and the elementary school system not only kept the price to participate at a reasonable level but also commenced the planning to invite every elementary school student in the next years. AYSO in finding her Division III niche established a parental participation that was unstoppable. The 18 South Bay teams in Division III were complicated by the players' physical location throughout the South Bay and the formation of each team in a specific city. While this did not provide balanced teams, the potential growth within each city of the South Bay would guarantee an unbelievable growth in years ahead.         

The AYSO Division III season of 1968-69 would set the hallmark within AYSO cities throughout the State of California. No longer would AYSO mark its team growth in double digits but in triple digits and in less than 10 years from its founding AYSO would be growing in teams by the thousands.

Looking back at the AYSO decision to add Division III (ages 7 to 9) in the 1968-69 season, that decision could be considered the primary decision of Americanization through parental participation. In 1968, West Torrance would organize a Soccer Parents Organization plus the Torrance Sports Organization would be formed to coordinate all youth sports in Torrance, and soccer fields would soon be located in every school yard in the South Bay with metal soccer goal posts to be used by all of the students during school physical training classes. Soccer balls and soccer uniforms were needed in larger quantities and soccer parents would invest time and treasure to provide an oversupply with a not-for-profit operation.

It was not only the players’ enthusiasm but AYSO found the key to the growth of youth soccer. With the influence of the “new country enthusiasts” and the “old country traditionalists” locating common ground and compromise therein, the following year would introduce “balanced teams, no retention of players by coaches, and with EVERYONE INVITED, the AYSO philosophy of EVERYONE PLAYS would find parents offering their unlimited services unconditionally.

The success route of AYSO was founded through the trials of the first five founders in their unconditional service years prior to 1964, exorcised during the first three years, 1964-65, 65-66, 66-67, advanced by the addition of Division III in 1968-69, and multiplied by the growth success of Division III catapulted forward not only by the continuing growth of Division III but also by the maturing of skilled players in Divisions I and II. 

The Hans Stierle decision to encourage the high schools to be fully operative with high school soccer players, graduates from AYSO, completed the initial Americanization route for the sport of soccer in the Americas (see National story, 1968-69). It was to be nothing more than the constancy, patience, and perseverance of AYSO parents to be adamant in adhering to the Americanization of soccer that was now truly becoming an American Sport in the fullest of success.


Many youth soccer organization not only share in the success of youth soccer in America but it was necessary, together, that the affiliated and un-affiliated youth soccer programs, especially AYSO, take those steps that would catapult the USA into a soccer nation that would make us all beam with pride. AYSO, in the 1960s, accepted the position of independence to not only grow the American youth soccer program but also to commence the beginning of acceptance of soccer’s proper position in the USA. AYSO does not expect more than her fair share of soccer’s growth in the USA but AYSO glories in her accomplishments and today’s positioning of the sport of soccer in America.  Nationwide,  by the year 2012, AYSO is still in her infancy and together, affiliated and unaffiliated, youth soccer is at the foundation of forming a major thrust for the health and prosperity of all of our youth and their future.