The 26th of August, 1982.
It’s not a date like the 25th of December, or the 11th of November, 1918, but for many of the Amateur Soccer people out there it should be.
That day was the first meeting of what at the time was called “Senior Division of the United States Soccer Federation.” What would come after this meeting would be a variety of changes in name and structure. That same year the division would be restructured to a separate member entity of US Soccer.
In 1984 the name was changed to United States Senior Soccer Division.
In 1988 the name became United States Amateur Soccer Association.
It was in 2002 that the vote passed to change the name to United States Adult Soccer Association, the name it holds to this day.
From Amateur Soccer, eventually to Adult Soccer we see a muddling of an identity. Some may say who cares if its senior, or amateur, or adult, non-league, grassroots, or local? Many others do care. And they care a lot.
Senior has gone out of style some time ago, and while the association is named “adult” it’s not a very popular term amongst those who play, promote, and live this brand of soccer. In the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, they call us “local” and there is a fervent, well meaning, group of social promoters and clubs that opt for the English originating “Non-League.”
We appreciate those goals and we’ve read and understand the meaning behind that particular term. The thing is that it doesn’t fully understand or appreciate our history of soccer in this country. We have leagues and clubs, amateur ones, that date to days long before the 1980s and they are affiliated leagues and clubs.
The thing is that here, it’s in our name even, we prefer the name the association left behind in 2002. We prefer to call it Amateur Soccer.
That term connects to the US Amateur Cup, but also to the history of soccer in this country and sets our level of the game apart from all the rest.
Adult implies we aren’t youth. Senior we aren’t junior. Grassroots conjures images of cinder fields and mismatched uniforms. Local is too generic and Non-League just might be a bit too British.
Why do our clubs play and players play soccer? The reason is that we do it for pleasure. We don’t do it for money or to get a scholarship. We do it just to build something worthwhile and enjoy it all the same.
No we’ll stick with Amateur Soccer and we are hoping to push more people in that direction. Hey, maybe even the association will receive the push and go back to US Amateur Soccer Association. We can dream.
An important thing to note is the following, “Throughout those name changes, [USASA] always served amateur, adult soccer throughout the country.” (www.usasaregion1.com)