PLAYERS:                                                                                    TEAMS





AYSO West Torrance and the AYSO South Bay in the 1970s would assist in three major impacts via youth soccer. First was the unbelievable growth in boys’ youth teams. Second was the very important addition of girls’ soccer (1971). Third, the impact that AYSO alumni player graduates had on high school soccer, although anticipated by the decision of AYSO to limit their top age bracket to not including high school players thereby supporting the high schools in fulfilling their role in the Americanization of soccer, the growth of soccer in the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section, CIFSS, is worthy of a Pioneers of AYSO Story.

The high school CIFSS started with 4 teams in 1963 and was officially sanctioned by the CIFSS in the 1967-68 season with 17 high school teams in 4 leagues. By 1976-77, the CIFSS had 24 leagues and 210 high school soccer teams in two divisions, 4A and 3A. The growth of AYSO in every Southern California City provided not only the best of soccer players for every high school but the longer that AYSO existed in a city the high school championships followed. Roger Bryant the president of the CIFSS High School Coaches Association led his South Torrance High School team with AYSO player graduates to their first CIFSS championship in1970 and West Torrance High School led by coach Mike Eaton completed their first high school championship in 1973. West Torrance and South Torrance high school with their AYSO skilled players dominated the 1970s, each having two CIFSS 4A soccer championships. The high school soccer rivalry between  West and Torrance high schools for many years would become not only the most competitive on the West Coast but the player alumni would load the college teams to national prominence. Notably, UCLA, coached by Sigi Schmid (first year AYSO player) would capture 3 NCAA Division I championships with a great number of AYSO player graduates.

Many of the AYSO players who succeeded in high school and college would go on to successful professional soccer careers. AYSO in the 1960s set the stage for the 1970s success in the Americanization route for scholastic soccer programs that paralleled other American sports such as football and basketball. The AYSO decision to feed players into the high school program had a major impact on the California Interscholastic Federation and the Southern Section would soon have every high school with boys’ soccer and would be followed with girls’ soccer. The success of soccer in the high school and college programs, directly related to AYSO, would catapult the Americanization of soccer to its rightful place in the world of soccer.

In 2012, with over 100 million dollars annually in operation at the college level soccer programs and many more times that amount at the USA high school level with their thousands of soccer fields and their increasing level of skilled coaches, with many graduates of AYSO, the EVERYONE INVITED and EVERYONE PLAYS philosophies of AYSO comes to fruition in finding the gifted players throughout the country that will represent the USA in the Olympics and World Cups.  The ability of every AYSO region to expand by inviting every elementary school student in every hamlet is the key to not only providing the quantity of soccer players for their high school and college programs but also from that quantity comes the gifted players. The United States of America is now on the center stage of world soccer and with the ever-expanding AYSO soccer programs, working together as one, soccer in America has found its rightful place. ACTIVE PIONEERS of AYSO are entitled to the best of recognition amongst the many in soccer.

In the high school season of 2010-2011, throughout the USA, there were 11,503 high school with 395,351 boys playing high school soccer and there were 11,047 high schools with 368,351 girls playing high school soccer. 

From 1971-72, high school soccer in 2010 – 2011, has had the greatest increase in number of players. High school soccer players numbering a total of 759,351 players surpass the number of high school baseball players who number 471,723 players. In 2012, AYSO has over 6 million player graduates with over 550,000 active youth soccer players. 

The emphasis by AYSO in following the high school and college route to not only be the best route of education for its graduates but also parallels the sports of football, basketball, and baseball in reaching the USA professional levels of competition. The 6 million AYSO player graduates with their families now fill the soccer stadiums at the high school, college, and professional levels. In 1971, AYSO fans at the high school soccer game between West Torrance and South Torrance not only filled the high school stadium but also packed the UCLA-USC college soccer game. One of the best attended college rivalries is the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo VS University of Santa Barbara annual home and away soccer games, each game had 13,000+ fans (and televised nationally).       

It is to be acknowledged that AYSO soccer players are high school bound and an increasing number college bound; a number of gifted players will also enter the USA soccer academies from the high school and college programs to seek a professional status. The magnitude of the high school and college soccer programs with their abundance of playing fields, operating funds, and the ever-improving highly skilled soccer coaches, the gifted soccer players will not only emerge but also be experienced by participation in an increasing number of annual games throughout their early playing days. Together, the many routes for AYSO to grow into their players’ objectives and with the ever-increasing participation by AYSO regions who implement the AYSO philosophies of EVERYONE IS INVITED and EVERYONE PLAYS on BALANCED TEAMS, the “old country traditionalists” and the “new country enthusiasts,” who founded and pioneered AYSO together, evidence the fruits of their combined efforts.

A task WELL DONE from the original five founders to the hundreds of thousands of parents who give freely of their “time and treasure.”