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2012 Inductees

2012 Hall of Fame Inductee - Ron LittlefairRon Littlefair was one of the earliest AYSO pioneers and became one of the most influential in the establishment and explosive growth of AYSO in its first 10 years. Some of the AYSO founders thought it would be good to involve a "red-blooded American"—a little league coach and "football type"—as their beloved sport was being introduced to America. Ron quickly became an advocate, and as a talented salesman and business man, was devoted to AYSO's success.

In the early going, Ron made long, wooden tables to do "sign ups" at Torrance schools. He purchased used mimeograph machines and had a virtual print shop in the family garage. People came and went at all times of the day and night. There were coaches, school board officials, city leaders and referees—printing rosters, newsletters and registration forms. The rest of the garage housed a kiln on which Ron made mugs for the teams and stored up to 500 sets of team uniforms, ready for the hundreds of players attracted by the "EVERYONE INVITED" outreach of Ron into his community.

Ron was a key partner in supporting two of AYSO's revolutionary philosophies: Everyone Plays® and Balanced Teams. His sons Andrew and Tom—also AYSO soccer players—remember that their Dad really believed in AYSO's philosophy of Everyone Plays©, taking it to heart and strictly enforcing it.

Ron was also instrumental in the early development of leaders. As the third Regional Commissioner for the city of Torrance, with a goal of increased participation, he established eight Regions with eight new leaders, resulting in the explosive growth he and the other early leaders so envisioned.

As the National Vice President of Growth and Development for AYSO, Ron traveled all over Southern California and then the United States. With explosive growth came the challenge of administering AYSO's player insurance program. Ron and a good friend created a self-insurance program for the organization, which grew from 900 players to 28,000 in a matter of a few years.

Ron and his devoted wife Marion privately financed many AYSO activities, secured soccer field use from school districts, helped high school soccer programs get established and framed the growth into college soccer. South Torrance High School was the first public school in the California Interscholastic Federation and Ron was instrumental in planning AYSO Jamborees at El Camino College, Alpine Village Field and the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Through all of his years of service, family and friends recall that there was never a cross word from Ron but always a giant smile, and that he one of the best listeners to other's problems. Whether disciplining a wayward coach, dealing with a game protest, managing Opening Day ceremonies or working with the community partners, Ron Littlefair was instrumental in "placing the interests of the youth growing within AYSO" at the top of his very busy list, thus positively influencing the lives of the kids, the families and the volunteer leaders of an organization that he so loves.

2012 Hall of Fame Inductee - Mike MichalskiMike Michalski began his career in AYSO as an assistant Regional Commissioner. The teams his two sons played on were occasionally invited to participate in AYSO tournaments around southern California and Mike observed a lack of organization. After he became an Area Director, he was approached by Lolly Keys, a National Office staffer, with a tournament sponsor. Mike realized this would be a great opportunity to put on a showcase tournament. This inspired the Sunny Delight Tournament, which highlighted the famous drink and featured five guaranteed games for each team over a weekend. Every player and coach received a tournament medal, pin and T-shirt, and regardless of their win-loss record, every participant received a medal.

Eventually, discussions with the National Office and NBOD about the quality of AYSO tournaments led to Mike being appointed as the National Commissioner of Tournaments. In this capacity, he helped write the first versions of Tournament Guidelines and reviewed applications for new tournaments while continuing as an Area Director. Tournaments across the country slowly started to become more accountable and organized and were advertised by the National Office.

In 1984, the euphoria of the Los Angeles Olympics inspired Mike, Lolly and the National Office staff to brainstorm how they could hold a tournament that would showcase the best of AYSO. For the next few years, Mike travelled to Section Meetings and popular AYSO tournaments to gather information and ideas on how to make a National event like this possible. By 1986, the framework of the National Games was established and was presented to the NBOD for approval. The inaugural Games in 1988 quickly "sold out" with teams from across the mainland and Hawaii. Initial concerns about the co-ed Soccerfest for older players evaporated as players ran down the field trying to write down phone numbers of their newly found teammates. The Parade of Teams and Referees, the Soccerfest, the medals, T-shirts and pins for all players and coaches all started at the first National Games in 1988. The tradition of medals for all lasted for the first four National Games and the Soccerfest has grown to include all divisions.

The Games continued in 1989, 1990 and 1992 in Southern California. The early focus was to build the cadre of volunteers and introduce training opportunities for referees from across the country. In the 1989 Parade of Teams, the marching volunteer referees surprised the people in the stands by saluting the spectators in unison by flashing yellow cards!

Being credited as the Founder and Tournament Director for the first four National Games is something that Mike has always been proud of—and he salutes those who have carried on the spirit and traditions of the AYSO National Games.

2012 Hall of Fame Inductee - John OuelletteJohn Ouellette has been the face and voice of AYSO's coaching program for over two decades. Having served over 33 years as an AYSO volunteer and 18 as a member of the national staff, his contributions to AYSO have had an almost immeasurable impact on the organization.

John started his career path in AYSO as a coach for his daughters in Utah's Region 239, and then became the Region and Section 9 Coach Administrator of Training for eight years. John then hit the national stage and served AYSO as its National Coach and Director of Coaching for 22 years.

He was responsible for the development of AYSO's National Coaching Program—a leader in the field of age specific training for players. He led AYSO in gaining its first and continuing accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education, an credential shared only by Special Olympics.

His influence is evidenced in many of AYSO's programs and materials. John was involved in the genesis of the Safe Haven program, the College Athlete Program, AYSO's online coaching courses, the "Just Let Them Play" video and the development of the National Coaching Course. John represented AYSO with many other soccer organizations and along the way travelled over a million and a half miles promoting AYSO. He was a technical consultant to and performer in the English Football Association coaching program video and a frequent presenter at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention. The impact John has had on AYSO and its imprint within the U.S. soccer community will last forever.

As keynote speaker at AYSO events, John wowed many an audience with his belief in and high expectations for AYSO coaches, his enthusiasm for the game and passion for AYSO's philosophies. It is impossible to count the number of players, parents and volunteers who have been moved by John's commitment to the kids and the organization as a whole. With his enthusiasm, humor and talent for conveying AYSO's message, no one would miss the opportunity to hear him speak or instruct, giving him the chance to motivate and inspire so many, and so well. Also of note is John's role as the instigator of the mayhem at the NAGM, otherwise known as the "T-shirt Lottery"!

John is back to his roots these days. While serving AYSO as a National Coach Instructor and continuing to participate in a few AYSO events, John is happy coaching grandchildren in Region 51, alongside wife Carol—an equally long-time volunteer, and his two daughters—Cori and Toni, who started the whole thing!

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