A number of people stand out among the hundreds of volunteers who have helped shape and organize Lincoln Youth Soccer. In 1979, Harry Bradley and Liz King first organized what was to become Lincoln Youth Soccer. That Fall three mixed teams of 7th and 8th grade boys and girls played together with Concord. The next Spring Lincoln's first "Boys Only" 7th grade team played in the Middlesex League. In the Fall of 1980, the program expanded to include younger children, starting with Kindergarten.
In 1981 John Walker became president of the group. In seeking soccer opportunities for his own children, he became a major organizer of soccer both in Lincoln and in Eastern Massachusetts. Under John’s tenure, Lincoln Youth Soccer moved from the Middlesex League to the newly organized Boston Area Youth soccer (BAYS) League. During the mid-80’s under John’s leadership, Lincoln youth Soccer enjoyed ever growing participation by Lincoln’s children, with at one point virtually 100% of the boys and 80% of the girls eligible to play enrolled in the program. In an effort to meet the need to provide a higher level of competition for the best regional players, Joh Walker, Wes Pippin and others organized the Spirit of Massachusetts Soccer Club in 1987. “Spirits” teams were chosen through try-outs and played in a “premier” league made up of other select teams and Olympic developmental teams. The club was initially based in Lincoln, later switching to Concord for its practice and game fields. As the number of clubs expanded across Massachusetts, our tournament fortunes improved accordingly.
Wes Pippin next became the president and prime mover of Lincoln Youth Soccer. He organized rosters, coaches, league and tournament assignments, playing times, ET. Al. Wes was a one man committee. Wes was responsible for our initial participation in the Fall Assabet Valley Soccer league, and bringing outside club teams and clinics to play and teach in Lincoln.
IIga and Jim Paddock had become the next central figures in the burgeoning program, handling registration; setting team assignments; recruiting, equipping and supporting coaches and aides for the younger teams, and eventually establishing many of the patterns and policies that now direct the entire program.
Sadly, Jim Paddock died suddenly during the Spring of ’92 while on sabbatical in Australia. At his memorial service at the Fletcher School at Tufts University where he was a professor, many of the young boys he had coached over the years sat alongside his professional colleagues, a fitting tribute to his contribution to their lives. The first game of the 1992 Spring season was dedicated to Jim’s memory, a black patch was worn by all the boys he coached. Jim’s patience, humor and enthusiasm for soccer and for sports for children is sorely missed. This past Spring IIga Paddock also died, at the age of 54. In memory of their unselfish contribution to both Lincoln and Lincoln Youth Soccer, one of the center fields at the Lincoln school complex has been named Paddock Field.
Bruce Long became President of the organization in 1990, and was capably supported by his wife Cathy. She began work in the program in the Spring of 1989, prior to Bruce becoming President. Jim and IIga remained members of the Board of LYS until 1991. Bruce and Cathy continued to help shape, expand and lead the organization. Under Bruce’s presidency, the program grew in numbers of teams and players, fielded its’ first team to play in the state-wide Tournament of Champions (Girls U14, 2000), hired professional coaches for the U14 and U16 teams, introduced a series of soccer camps and a full time professional Player Development Officer (POD) working with all of the teams in the program, worked on several field renovation projects, as well as many other achievements. The LYS Board adopted a formal “constitution”, and began to meet regularly throughout the year.
Phil Odence succeeded Bruce as President in 2002 and began to implement some operational changes to support the more formal organization. Phil recruited more board members and worked on defining the roles of the board to ensure smooth operation of the many facets of running a soccer organization. Phil took LYS through its 25thyear and organized a large celebration to commemorate the milestone. He recruited Sven Ingard to be the Chairman of the celebration committee and little did Sven know this was Phil’s way of vetting the next President of LYS.
Sven succeeded Phil as President in 2004 and with the help of an active and committed board, guided LYS through some notable changes. One was changing the league affiliation back to BAYS after a number of years in the Middlesex League. Another was expanding the ages where tryouts were required from U14 only to U14 and U12 divisions. During Sven’s tenure, LYS also joined into a master agreement with the Lincoln Recreation Department to formalize the funding of field maintenance and began the process of becoming a not for profit corporation to ensure full protection for all participants under Massachusetts liability laws. In response to broad demand, the first Porta-Potty also made its debut in the Fall 2008 season. In 2008 LYS also sponsored a well-attended Coach Certification course for interested parents who continue to make up the volunteer army of coaches that really define LYS.
In 2008, Mike Rosenblatt joined the board after years of involvement in the program as a coach. Mike’s leadership on the board helped drive many of the year’s successes and when Sven stepped down at the end of 2008, Mike succeeded him as President.