In the early 70s, I had set up a scouting program for our area in Scarsdale called Greenacres. It was so successful that before long I was asked to set up scouting in two other areas. It was fun doing but I realized that most young boys had no real sport to play other than football and baseball, and yes, basketball. The boys had to have certain talents to play those three sports and most boys didn’t fit the bill, as only the very best were chosen out of all who tried out, leaving over 70% of the boys in the town with no real sport to play. That is why scouting became so important but it was not enough for boys needing a sport.
One day I was approached by a parent of a new scout who like myself wanted to be more involved helping the boys, and wondered if we could set up a soccer team. I had no idea of what the game of soccer was, and so asked about it. He told me it was sort of like football, but not so aggressive or dangerous. after he explained how the game was played and how it wasn’t important how big or Athletic the boys were, but rather it could be played by all with only the will to be on a team, and just have fun kicking a ball. I said, wow that sounds great as both my sons had absolutely no interests in the sports available. So, we made plans to start with him doing the teaching and me the organizing. It worked and as we moved forward with our plan, it grew. However,most everyone here in America had no idea of what the game of soccer was, and it was only because this parent who was from England where it is was very big, as well as it was all over the world. The reason the English neighbor thought it was a good game for all the young kids who weren’t good at baseball or football, as there was another and different sport to play just for fun.
I agreed and we two began in our local school district at Greenacres. We started by visiting with the gym teacher who thought it was a great idea and knew the sport slightly, so he promised to allow us to show up at his classes. at the first meeting we asked the boys if they would like a game of fun where they would not have to learn anything, but just kick a ball. Now we had another problem to overcome and that was I had no idea about how to play the game. Baseball, yes, football, yes, but soccer, no way. so, we asked all the boys to ask their fathers if they knew how to play soccer, or if they would like to help us to teach and play soccer. Low and behold a father showed up at the next meeting in the gym class and he said he played semi-pro soccer in Brazil when he was young and would love to coach a team, and even to the parents who could learn to become coaches. so now we had a start and proceeded to go to the local parent association which controlled all area activities and ran all that went on in the district, and it was called The Greenacres Association. It was run by the males of the families owning homes in the district who were voted into office every three years, with meeting every month. So we went to the next meeting for their approval to allow the soccer games to be played in the school yard when Football or baseball weren’t being played, which was just before twilight when we were able to start to play. And so it Began, and began it did with over 60 players wanting to learn. Wow! Wow! when we started it was just a big learning curve, but found the boys were having fun, more fun, than they imagined, and they didn’t have to train, or do anything but run and play at kicking a ball. after a year of soccer, we had 3 teams of ascending ages from Greenacres, and after we advised the other districts of our success, they asked for help in setting up a team of their own, so we began bringing each of the other teams to play against each other, and before long Scarsdale had 24 teams and nearly 400 players, 24 coaches, and 48 assistants with me running the program as chairman and head coach. I found that it wasn’t always fun doing the job, as every so often I had to fire a coach due to his either favoring is son, or making it more important to win using only the best players, leaving others not so good to sit out the whole game. So, all I did was travel from game to game each weekend asking the right question of the boys sitting on the bench and how much they got to play. It seemed to work as I was continually voted back into office each season, and before long Soccer was the major sport in Scarsdale, with soccer fields built in each district. However, my sons were always most important in my mind, and as they were growing up, we found things we did together from soccer, to skying, to motorcycling, to playing serious racquetball, and finally to watch them move out into their world, and begin conquering it in their own special way. So far, all three has surpassed my wildest dreams!