Most people who have had kids, or who have been kids since the mid-1970s know about AYSO. This is especially true on the West coast, where the American Youth Soccer Organization started 50 years ago. With over 50,000 teams and 500,000 players today, it’s not hard to find a shot of a smiling kid with a soccer ball and the AYSO logo on their jersey in living rooms across the country.
AYSO wanted their 50th year to be great, so they started 2014 off with a float in the Rose Parade, and are planning the world’s largest pickup game in May. They also have an interactive digital timeline with audio, video, and picture galleries telling the story of AYSO from its founding in Torrance, California in 1964, to footage of their float with a great shout-out from Parade announcer Bob Eubanks, whose own son has been in AYSO since he was four.
I was lucky enough to get to work with the communications team at AYSO as a video and audio editor for some of the first-hand historical accounts they recorded. These fascinating clips were taken by the staff over the course of several years leading up to their golden anniversary, and have interviews with the members of the first nine AYSO teams; footage from the Seattle Sound Wave, house band of the Seattle Sounders playing at a the 2012 National Annual General Meeting; and nearly 50 years worth of beginnings and stories in-between.
When I was in college, I was a curator at our university library. I used to repair and preserve old books and artifacts, and for a time, I wanted to go into curating professionally. Being able to preserve history fascinated me. I still remember holding a war receipt written out in George Washington’s own hand and thinking about the journey of that one small piece of vellum. I got that feeling again when I was working on this project, and it occurred to me that, we as communicators are also curators. Thanks to the Internet, and the ease of recording and storing information, we can preserve and share first-hand accounts and records like these videos. Then we can easily educate our members and our network, not only on our brand, but also on our brand’s investment in the community over the years of its history.
Working with the AYSO communications team, and learning more about an organization that has become an essential part of many American childhoods was uplifting, edifying, and enjoyable. I look forward to seeing what the next 50 years brings.
Photo courtesy of Katie Brady