Photo courtesy Del Amo Rotary Club
Two years ago American Youth Soccer Organization founder Hans Stierle was honored by the Galaxy and other groups for his role in introducing hundreds of thousands of children and their parents to the sport.
The Rotary Club provided the initial impetus for the project and half the money, said president-elect Carl Kaemerle. AYSO contributed the other half and with the help of Mayor Frank Scotto, a soccer fan and long-time AYSO volunteer, and Torrance Unified School District Supt. George Mannon, the plaque was placed at the main entrance gate to the soccer fields just before the AYSO season began.
Hans’ biography, as provided by the Rotary Club, is reprinted here. In addition, it should be noted that Hans served as the general manager of the then NASL Seattle Sounders in 1983 and in 1996 was inducted into the AYSO Hall of Fame:
Hans Stierle (pronounced Stir-lee) was born in 1932 in Chicago Illinois.
Several years later his parents moved the family to Germany where Hans saw soccer played for the very first time.
After World War II his parents moved back to Chicago and before he regained his knowledge of the English language Hans had convinced neighborhood kids to play soccer. Shortly after Hans started a neighborhood soccer team for 15-18 year olds called the “Viking Juniors” and in 1950 Hans was picked as starting left winger for the Chicago Junior All-Stars.
After his family moved to Southern California Hans was drafted into the Army, and in 1953 he was the starting inside left for 62nd AAA Battalion where his team was the 7th Army Champions in Europe, beating teams in France and Germany. In 1954 Hans was now player/coach/and manager of the 62nd AAA Battalion soccer team, and the 7th Army’s leading scorer. And because of the success of the team, they were invited to tryouts for the U.S Olympic Team.
Hans became founder/coach/referee/and administrator for the Garvey Park Junior Soccer League in South San Gabriel, Ca. in 1961 where he emphasized balanced teams and the “Everyone Plays” philosophy, later to prove integral to AYSO.
On October 13, 1962 he met Christel Feinhals at a soccer dance in Los Angeles and on October 20, 1962 they were married.
In 1964 after Hans and his two sons walked across the street from their home and recruited neighborhood kids to join in soccer practices at Jefferson Elementary School in Torrance and in September 1964 with the help of other soccer enthusiasts the American Youth Soccer Organization was born.
Hans became one of AYSO’s founding fathers. He served as its first chairman and first president from 1964 to 1976.
He also served as executive director and national director of public affairs. He designed the traditional AYSO logo and the “PLAYSOCCER” slogan. In 1991, Soccer America magazine named Hans one of “20 Men of Influence” in American soccer from his 12 years as AYSO president.
Hans and his wife are now retired and living on Vashon Island in the state of Washington, near Seattle.
Incidentally, Hans still attends Sounders games courtesy of old friend Sigi Schmid, now the coach of the Sounders, and one of those boys who played in the first AYSO season more than four decades ago.