Torrance honors AYSO pioneer

i-2145a6b487771e4a6a0bcfebfc789d0f-olds.jpgTorrance Mayor Frank Scotto, a long-time AYSO coach and official, and A.Y. Olds pose with a municipal proclamation issued at a recent City Council meeting (Photo courtesy city of Torrance).

Here’s the text of the proclamation:

WHEREAS, the City of Torrance recognizes with great pride, A. Y. Olds, who was one of the first managers working in Torrance to build the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO); and

WHEREAS, in 1964, AYSO began operations with nine teams – four teams in Torrance and five teams in Culver City. Under the guidance and vision of A. Y. Olds, the second Region 12 Commissioner from 1970-1975, AYSO rapidly grew throughout Torrance and the South Bay; and

WHEREAS, A. Y. Olds was an assistant coach for his son’s team, the Riviera Vultures, coached by Jim Colby in 1969. They were the first Torrance team to win the AYSO State
Championship, after playing games at EI Camino College and the Los Angeles Memorial
Coliseum; and

WHEREAS, A.Y. worked for many years with Ron Littlefair and Hans Stierle, the founder of AYSO, enlisting the aid of local first-generation immigrant volunteers to help him in Region 12, all from countries with strong soccer heritages, including Larry Cook (England),
Paul Adamson (Germany), Andy Keir Sr. and Jr. (Scotland), and Paul Dietaker (Germany).
It is interesting to note that Andy Keir Jr. played on the U. S. Olympic soccer team in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. It must be remembered that back in the early to mid 1960’s soccer was an unknown sport and it took years to build its current reputation; and

WHEREAS, A. Y. Olds adopted regional budgets and worked tirelessly in public relations and development to obtain sponsorships to support the local teams and events. In 1970, he and his team raised $1,000, a large sum for those days. They also established game
schedules and started the coaches’ draft, much like those used in professional sports
today. A. Y. also established the Region 12 scholarship program to support local student
athletes going to college; and

WHEREAS, A. Y. Olds invited girls to also play AYSO soccer in the South Bay, and this spurred more growth in youth soccer. By 1975, Region 12 enrollment had climbed to 1,500 players, second only to Palos Verdes, the perennial #1 enrollment area. South and West Torrance competed for the best players and highest enrollments, as they still do today. In fact, AYSO provided the fertile training ground to develop young players in the community and the two High Schools played each other several times for the State championship. A. Y. is proud that his son, Jim, played for another State championship in 1978, this time for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) game between South High and West High; and

WHEREAS, the South Torrance Lions Club, of which A. Y. was a member, hosted one of the first exhibition soccer games between Torrance players and European players at EI Camino College in 1972. The Lions assembled an All-Star team of AYSO players to play the Hanover 96 semi-professional team from Germany. The stadium was filled to capacity with 12,000 people in attendance, who saw the Germans barely beat our local stars by a 5-3 score; and

WHEREAS, thanks to its Pioneers, AYSO has more than 50,000 teams, more than 650,000 players and is supported by more than 250,000 parents across the nation, who passionately dedicate their time and talents as coaches, referees, team parents, administrators and sponsors.

Now, therefore, I, Frank Scotto, as Mayor of the City of Torrance, California, do hereby
honor, commend and express sincere appreciation to A.Y. Olds for his outstanding contributions and dedicated service to the youth of the community. Mr. “A.Y.S.O.”, A. Y. Olds has made a positive and lasting impact on many lives and serves as an inspiration for all citizens.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at Cheers!