History of RYSA

Rockdale Youth Soccer Association was founded in 1972, as there was no organized soccer in Rockdale County. In 1971, Bob Boggus and Larry Ginder traveled to Dekalb County for their children to play soccer. In February, 1972, a meeting was arranged with Dwight Langley, Bob Boggus, and Larry Ginder to explore the possibility of Rockdale County starting a soccer program. There was no interest at that time. Larry Ginder then placed an ad in the Rockdale Citizen to register soccer players. Forty-six children were registered and RYSA was born. The Association received its charter from the State on August 19, 1972. Bob Boggus knew Ben Gross from Atlanta and his love of soccer and suggested they ask Ben for a place to play. Ben was excited about the idea and was most generous. He provided the first playing field at the corner of Salem and Old Salem Roads (Gross Field). Practice areas were provided by Ben Gross along both sides of Salem Road. Parents volunteered to cut grass, mark fields, run concession stands, referee, and do anything that was required to make the new Association a success. 
Player participation grew from 46 in 1972 to 280 in 1975; 617 in 1977; 812 in 1978, and 928 in 1979. Today there are over 1400 children and several hundred adults playing soccer in Rockdale County.

As the Association grew in numbers, facilities also expanded:

1974 - RYSA used two additional fields provided by Ben and Alex Gross: Gross Lake and Chiefs’ Field (later enlarged by RYSA and the name was changed to Upper Fairview - but that is a story in itself).

1976 - A much needed field was built across from AT&T on Salem Road on land provided by Ben and Alex Gross using county equipment and volunteer help.

1978 - RYSA built two fields on Fairview Road on land provided by Ben and Alex Gross using county equipment and volunteer help.

1978 - RYSA purchased 38 acres on Old Salem Road for field construction. Money needed for land acquisition was raised by the Association members through various fundraising activities: the famous Onion Sale, Fall Carnival, and Fall Raffles.

1980 - Construction began on the Old Salem Road complex which contains seven fields: Founders, Friends, Family, Freedom, Independence, Enterprise, and Memorial. Bronze plaques representing contributors to each field are located at the Soccer Complex. A 400 car parking lot, concession stands and restrooms, maintenance building, and picnic area were also constructed.

1982 - RYSA initiated a three day invitational tournament attracting 170-plus teams from the eastern United States.

1988 - RYSA constructed the first league-owned and operated indoor soccer facility. The Grand Opening was on November 4, 1989 with an Exhibition Game by the Atlanta Attack Professional Indoor Soccer Team.

1996 - RYSA installed lights on Friends and Independence fields.

RYSA is operated as a non-profit organization and managed by a President, Commissioner, and Board of Directors who are elected annually. Property is held in trust by four Trustees.

The Gross family has continued to contribute to RYSA.

Written by Robert L. Boggus, Jr.


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