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Washington Youth Soccer’s Stars Shine at
US Youth Soccer Awards Gala


Washington Youth Soccer has produced hundreds of stars in its many decades — from legends of the pitch like Kasey Keller and Michelle Akers, to some of the biggest names in coaching and youth administration.

It’s possible, however, that none have had the impact on youth soccer in the United States like that of Karl Grosch, whose contributions to the game were rightly honored in February with his induction into the US Youth Soccer Hall of Fame.

This year’s induction ceremony took place at the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala, part of the annual US Youth Soccer adidas Workshop in Fort Worth, Tex., Feb. 25-27. Grosch — who was inducted alongside fellow US Youth Soccer founder Jimmie Wofford, former US Youth Soccer chairwoman Mavis Derfinger, and U.S. soccer legend Julie Foudy — earned a standing ovation from the audience at the Gala, including most of the top coaches, administrators, referees and state officials from throughout the United States.

Grosch — who served as president of Washington Youth Soccer from 1970 to 1977 and was co-founder of the Federal Way Youth Soccer Association, where a field today bears his name — was one of the founding fathers of US Youth Soccer, helping to draft the initial US Youth Soccer constitution, bylaws and rules and regulations in 1974 with fellow Hall of Fame member Don Greer and Robert Nessler. Their actions led to US Youth Soccer uniting all youth soccer programs throughout the United States.

As Grosch recalls it, the three men spent three days mapping out US Youth Soccer's organization. Although it was revolutionary at the time, their goal was to provide a democratic structure to create uniform rules and guidelines to facilitate intrastate, interstate and international play. Their first draft of the bylaws was handwritten.

In 1974 at the U.S. Soccer annual general meeting in New York City, the 58th Annual USSF Council officially formed and recognized US Youth Soccer as an affiliated, self-governing body for youth soccer in the United States. US Youth Soccer had 100,000 players at the time — barely two-thirds the playing population of Washington Youth Soccer today.

In addition to co-creating US Youth Soccer, Grosch was the co-founder of the Federal Way Youth Soccer Association in 1967, and was president of Washington Youth Soccer from 1970-77. Under Grosch's leadership, Washington Youth Soccer moved from a strictly volunteer-run group to a professional organization with an office and staff.

In addition to his duties as president, Grosch was also a licensed referee for both youth and adult games and co-founded the Washington Youth Soccer Referee Association.

In 1974, He was appointed as the first US Youth Soccer Region IV commissioner. He was a member of the USSF National Planning Committee from 1983-1984 and was the chairman from 1984-1985.

Grosch was honored by being inducted into the Washington Youth Soccer Association Hall of Fame in 2000 and was also the first recipient into the US Youth Soccer Region IV Hall of Fame in the same year.

In addition to Grosch, Washington Youth Soccer was also represented on the podium at the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala by Teresa Obenauer and Marco De Olivera, who were recognized, respectively, as the Region IV Administrator and Boys Competitive Coach of the Year. Obenauer and De Olivera were honored as Washington state winners in their respective categories last spring, making them eligible for Region IV accolades. Each of the Regional winners, announced in February, were invited to participate in, and be recognized at, the Annual Awards Gala, where the National “Of The Year” winners were announced.

For more information on any of the honorees recognized at the US Youth Soccer Annual Awards Gala, visit usyouthsoccer.org.

NOTE: Some information in this report was taken from the event summary at USYouthSoccer.com.

Washington Youth Soccer

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