A Short History of FCYSL
The Association Leaders
There have been numerous Presidents and Boards of Directors over the years, beginning with Steve Weeman and Dennis Kemp. Another of the early League Presidents was Delmar David. He was responsible for construction of the McCurry North Concession Building, with parent labor and materials contributed from various local businesses. He also was the first coach for the women’s adult soccer team in Fayette County, the Thunderbirds, which were Georgia State Champions for at least seven years under Coach Mike Brewer.
Several years after Delmar David was President, Wayne Corley was elected President and did much to help support the rapidly expanding Recreation League and the Lightning Soccer Club.
The next president was Sharron Safriet. She was the first (and only) female President of the League. She was responsible for the construction of the upper pavilion and for beginning the tradition of giving each recreational player and coach an End-of-Season T-Shirt. Sharron went on to work for Georgia Soccer where, among many other things, she runs their tournaments. Running tournaments is something she first did while here at FCYSL.
After Sharron, Chris Williams was elected President, and served about 12 continuous years in that position. During this time the league began to expand very rapidly, along with the population of Fayette County. After the US Women’s dramatic win at the World Cup in 1999 the next walk up registration featured a line of parents stretching from the concession building all the way up the driveway to the parking lot. It became evident that much more field space would be needed to support the needs of both the recreational league and the select teams.
Steve Weeman suggested that Chris request the use of some County property across from the softball complex to build additional fields. Chris went to the County Commissioners and proposed that the County provide the acreage, and the league would provide the funds. The County Commissioners unanimously approved the request. Of course we had about 100 hundred kids in their soccer uniforms show up for this County Commissioner’s Meeting to help them with their decision.
Over the next few years, Chris Williams oversaw the construction of McCurry South with money raised by the League. Around $500,000 was spent on the new fields. Randy Chance, one of the Vice Presidents during this time, and an engineer by trade, was key in the designing, bidding process, and inspection of work during the development and construction of the fields. Randy also provided the design and construction of the picnic tables, about twenty, and the almost sixty wooden structures that hold all the trashcans (which are designed to prevent animals from dumping them over, as well as beings able to push then out of the way like a sled with the lawn mowing equipment). Chris also went to the County and borrowed $250,000 for lights for McCurry South, and saw that the loan was repaid over the next five years.
The Fayette County Football Club was also started during this time. It was originally called Fayette Thunder.
Mr. Couch retired from the County and moved out of the house where he had lived. The house was taken down and the driveway extended to where it is now. All the parking lots were paved. Lee Hearn, who was Director of the Road Department for Fayette County at the time, provided a lot of assistance with paving, as well as providing trucks to haul much needed dirt to raise some of our sinking fields. Chris also worked closely with Billy Beckett, the County Administrator, and Mary Alice Lawrence, the Director of Parks and Recreation, at that time. They were very supportive of the capital improvements that the league made with league funds, such as buildings and fields.
Once constructed, the County took over the maintenance costs of the new facilities. This partnership between the County and the League has lasted over the years and has helped make the complex what it is today. The League still takes responsibility for the maintenance of the actual field surface to ensure excellent playing conditions year round. Harold Vernon has tackled this task over the past years.
Finally after 12 years, Chris convinced Harold Vernon that he should run for President. Harold presided over the league and also applied his landscaping talents to making McCurry North and South to be as picturesque as they are at present. His wife Angela has been the curator of the flowers and shrubs.
After about four years, Harold gave up the presidency to concentrate on his position as Director of Recreation on the Georgia Soccer board. He got Chris Williams to be President again for about three more years.
Bryan McDermott became President for two years, until he was also dragged off to become the Vice President of Youth on the Georgia Soccer Board.
Currently Ron Krebs is using his talents to guide the league through a recession. He has also overseen the installation of new lighting at McCurry North, as well as the redesign of the lighting system to provide for more flexibility of field sizing and configuration.
Chris, Harold, Bryan and Ron all worked closely with the current Director of Parks and Recreation, Anita Godbee, as well as with an outstanding County Maintenance Department
There are numerous others who have given their time and talents to help make the league what it is today, such as Don Holder, who has been a Board Member longer than anyone else, and long past the time when his kids played soccer on these fields.
All About The Kids
FCYSL is not about these parents, but about the kids who have really made us all proud by their accomplishments.
We have had players on the US National Soccer Teams. Kelley O’Hara is the most recent having won an Olympic gold medal with the US Women’s Team. She was one of only three players on that team to play every minute of every game. Clint Mathis was the first soccer player to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It was on May 22, 2002 as he was getting ready to play on the US Men’s National team in the World Cup. Ricardo Clark has played on two US World Cup teams, professional teams in Europe, and now plays for Houston Dynamo in the MLS. Rakel Kravelsson played for the Icelandic Women’s National Team and professionally with the Philadelphia Charge of the WUSA. In the professional ranks we have recently had Ricardo’s brother, Richonne, accepted in a special training system for professional referees.
In addition to some great soccer players, the League has helped some of our players who went on to other fields of endeavor. Ben Landis and Kenny Adams who were both outstanding players are now doctors. Jason Thompson has returned from law school to practice law in Fayette County, run for Judge, and coach his kids in the League. Andy Thompson, Jason’s brother, has returned to Fayetteville and is a Lightning coach. Their dad, Tommy, coached both Jason and Andy when they were kids and now helps to coach his grandkids.
There are countless players who have been through FCYSL. Many have returned to help out or have brought their children to play here. Despite the constant changing of the guard the Fayette County Youth Soccer League continues to thrive.
Chris Williams & Bryan McDermott