The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) was founded in 1964 by European soccer enthusiasts living in Torrance, California. Forty years ago, in 1972, Pasadena, Altadena and La Cañada players separated from the second region to form in AYSO (Arcadia), starting the thirteenth region in AYSO’s history. Today, nearly 650,000 boys and girls and 250,000 volunteer coaches, referees and administrators are members of AYSO. There are now over 1600 regions in all with over 50,000 teams. Region 13 is one of the largest regions in the country, providing recreation and personal development for over 3,400 boys and girls aged 4 through 18.
Region 13 has been a pioneer of new ideas in leadership, organization and community involvement. In 1973, we were one of the first Regions to establish girls soccer. In 1974, Region 13 became the first to organize and operate using established business management and marketing principles. In 1975, AYSO Region 13 was the first to create an investment fund for the development of community recreational facilities. We fostered the concept of making shin guards mandatory. This history of success has created a tradition of excellence in which we can all take pride.
For example, between 1976 and 1978, Region 13 was the driving force behind the conversion of parking lot H into the fine playing fields that exist now in front of the Rose Bowl. We have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars and spearheaded lighting projects in Pasadena, Altadena and La Cañada. Annually, we help fund field fertilization and sprinkler maintenance of many of the playing fields in our Region. We are the envy of many AYSO Regions as we enjoy the privilege of playing most all of our games on Saturdays in a single general area, either the Rose Bowl-Brookside complex or the Victory Park-Pasadena High School area. This situation is a direct result of our Region’s approach to being a good neighbor.
In 1982, Region 13 contributed $38,247 to the City of Pasadena, concluding a five-year joint venture to build the restroom, storage, and snack bar facility at Brookside, which was dedicated to the memory of AYSO volunteer Edward Lapointe, Region 13’s Field Manager. Also, our Region was the largest private contributor ($30,000) to the funds for the installment of field lighting at Victory Park in 1986. In 1989, we donated $21,000 for the installation of lights on the upper field area of Victory Park for additional evening practices. In 1992, we provided over $18,000 to improve and maintain local school and park fields. In 1997, we contributed over $100,000 to a $550,000 joint Region 13, City of Pasadena and Pasadena Unified School District lighting project that will light fields at Victory Park, Pasadena High School, John Muir High School and Washington Middle School. We have also contributed over $10,000 to replace and rehabilitate the sprinkler systems at Muir High School and Pasadena High School. In 1998, in combination with Pasadena Southwest Little League, we invested $60,000 in the complete renovation of McKinley Field.
Region 13 enjoys a cooperative relationship with many other youth sports organizations. As mentioned above, for example, the development of McKinley Field was a joint project with Southwest Little League. We were also responsible for the formation of the La Cañada Youth Sports Coalition. As the need for more playing fields for our kids becomes critical, AYSO members are playing a leadership role in the Pasadena Field Task Force and other efforts to provide more and better fields for everyone to enjoy. The entire community benefits from this cooperation, particularly in the area of field development. Because soccer fields are basically open meadows, unencumbered by permanent buildings, fences or other devises, everyone in the community, both groups and individuals, can share fields created by our efforts.
Accomplishments like these obviously require lots of work and dedication. Luckily, Region 13 has a strong leadership base that we urge you to join. Welcome to AYSO Region 13. We have a history of success. You have become a part of our tradition of excellence in leadership, community involvement and child development that will remain favorably with you and your children for the rest of their lives.