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Hancock Soccer Association (HSA) is a Recreational Soccer League. We were founded in 1970 by Joseph Herring and Patrick Collins. The first fall season had about 280 boys ages 8 through 12 playing on organized teams. They played teams from other communities in northwestern Ohio. Home matches were played on a field located behind First Presbyterian Church on South Main Street. The Association also offers a competitive (travel) program for youth players which is operated under the name of Findlay Soccer Club.
We are incorporated and registered in the State of Ohio as a non-profit 501(c) organization and are also registered with the U.S. Federal Government (IRS) as such. We are a self-sustaining organization governed and operated by an elected Board of Directors as required under Ohio State Law and regulations established by the U.S. Federal Government. We are also a member of the United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) registered through Ohio Youth Soccer Association North (OYSAN) and are affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). As such, we also are required to operate under the rules and regulations as established by USYSA, OYSAN, and the USSF.
The City of Findlay allows us to use the green space of Emory Adams Park for our home soccer game fields. We own and maintain all of the soccer equipment and maintain all of the soccer field grounds and turf located at Emory Adams Park.
Today, HSA has around 1,000 boys and girls ages 4 through 18 playing spring and fall seasons in the Recreational League and on competitive (travel) teams. Our U-12 through U-19 recreational teams play matches with Black Swamp Soccer League (BSSL) opponents. The BSSL is a USYSA registered recreational league and their teams are from various Hancock County communities near Findlay. Our competitive teams participate in the Northwest Ohio Youth Soccer League (NWOYSL) and the OYSAN State League. Competitive teams also usually participate in one to three USYSA sanctioned tournaments per season.
1995 marked the 25th Anniversary of HSA along with several changes. The HSA Board of Directors began to investigate the possibility of joining USYSA. Rising costs of liability insurance, the training programs available through USYSA, and other factors were cited as reasons that it would be in the best interest of the association and its players to join USYSA. Representatives of the Findlay travel teams approached HSA in March of this year with a verbal request to join HSA. Merger negotiations, meetings, and discussions between the travel teams and HSA continued throughout the remainder of year. The First Annual Fall Classic Recreational Tournament for HSA and BSSL teams was organized and conducted in the fall season. Age divisions participating in this new recreational only tournament were U-10 through U-19. The purpose of this tournament was to allow recreational players the opportunity to participate in a tournament and to provide funds for a newly created Hancock Soccer College Scholarship program. This scholarship program was founded to recognize area graduating high school seniors who were former HSA participants and to assist them in their future academic endeavors. Thus, HSA entered into a new era of not only making available the best soccer program for area youth, but also of playing an active role in our local community academic affairs.
1996 was a year of many milestones and saw a major restructuring of HSA. Our recreational players became registered with OYSAN and we officially became a member of USYSA and affiliated with the USSF. Merger negotiations continued with the travel soccer teams. On July 17 the travel teams coaches submitted a formal letter of application requesting to join HSA. The HSA Board of Directors voted to allow the travel teams to become a part of HSA on a trial basis for the fall 1996 season. Six boys teams U-9 through U-14 and 4 girls teams U-11 through U-18 joined HSA. The teams participated in the NWOYSL. All matches (recreational and competitive) began to be officiated by USSF Certified Referees only. Our recreational divisions U-12 and above began inter-league competition with the BSSL teams. Declining numbers in HSA recreational player enrollments in these age groups necessitated this in order to give the participants more teams to compete with. The first HSA College Scholarships were awarded to three graduating high school seniors this year also.
Final negotiations of the travel teams merger into HSA were completed in 1997 and the travel teams officially became a part of HSA, known as the Competitive Division of HSA and named Findlay Soccer Club - HSA (FSC). The HSA Constitution and Bylaws were amended to reflect the merger of the two formerly separate entities. Several new Board positions were created as a result of the restructure. The new HSA Constitution and Bylaws were unanimously approved by the HSA membership, and went into effect January 1, 1998. The Third Annual HSA Fall Classic Recreational Tournament was restructured in 1997. The BSSL began to host a fall recreational tournament in Van Buren for age divisions U-8 through U-10. It was decided by mutual agreement between the BSSL and HSA that HSA would support the Van Buren Tournament and the BSSL would continue to support the HSA Fall Classic Tournament. All HSA U-10 recreational teams began to participate in the Van Buren tournament and the HSA tournament format was changed from U-10 through U-19 age divisions to U-12 through U-19 age divisions. Today, the HSA Fall Classic Recreational Tournament is held in conjunction with and as part of the Flag City Classic Tournament.
The first open tryouts for Fall 1998 - Spring 1999 competitive teams aged U-9 and above was held in June of 1998 at Emory Adams Park. There was a very large turnout of potential new competitive soccer players at these tryouts and several new competitive teams were formed.
In 2008, a major project at Emory Adams Park was launched. The Findlay Rotary Club and HSA approached the City of Findlay with a proposal to install two "prime" soccer fields in the south section of the park. One full size (110 yard by 70 yard) field and one U11-U12 size (80 yard by 50 yard) field were proposed to be built. The fields would include underground drainage systems to prevent pooling of water, underground automated sprinkler systems, and field lighting. The project (construction and maintenance) would be mutually funded by the Findlay Rotary Club and HSA. The City of Findlay would bear no cost for this project. The City of Findlay approved this project and construction began in August of this year. Construction of these new fields, named "Rotary Arena", was completed in August of 2010 and they were opened for use by our recreational and competitive teams for the Fall 2010 season. These new lighted fields enable us to schedule matches "under the lights" for our youth teams. Future plans call for expansion of the irrigation system to supply water to the remainder of the soccer fields in the middle and north sections of Emory Adams Park along with other field improvements. The first annual Flag City Classic Tournament took place September 24 - 26, 2010 to help fund the costs of maintaining these new fields.
HSA continues to evolve and grow to meet the soccer needs of the Findlay area youth. Many changes over the past few years have taken place regarding the sizes of teams, play structure, and field sizes as USYSA introduced "small sided" concepts, rules, and regulations for its membership. Small sided soccer has been the "norm" in European and other countries for several decades. Over the past several years, USYSA has been attempting to catch up with the rest of the world soccer community regarding the structure of youth soccer programs. HSA has done our part as a USYSA member by implementing the USYSA small sided play formats and will continue to follow USYSA rules and regulations into the future.