South Bay Wolverines

1967 American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) Champions

South Bay Wolverines team photo

Local newspaper articles (PDF format)

Cinderella Story before championship | Cinderella Story after championship
Team Brochure for Coliseum Game w/Game Ticket | Team Picture with Trophies

Wolverine Team Members
*I have heard from these team members
Hernan Umana *
Mauricio Crosswaite
Bob Salampessy
Doug Verkaaik *
Juan Paolo *
Davy Padilla
Bruce Salisbury *
Mike Ebanks
George Salampessy *
Gus Ponder *
Luis Hernandez
Rick Thomas *
Jack Dicus *
Bob Risner *
Bob Haugh *

Memories of the Wolverines

Send memories you have of the Wolverines to Tim Dicus

From Bob Haugh 9-17-2010

I currently live in San Clemente Ca. next to my daughter and her family. I have 3 grandchildren who I have watched grow up. I lost my wife to cancer about 16 years ago. I am very healthy, and have a nice life. I last coached a Palos Verdes team both boys and girls for a couple of years. I finished playing on soccer teams about 15 years ago, but I still enjoy kicking the ball around. I play golf weekly with a good group of guys. It was nice to hear that you guys have kept in touch. It was a great time putting the team together and playing at the Coliseum. It was a good time in my life also. It is amazing how far soccer has come since then. I'm sure you have all watched the World Cup, it didn't rise to any great expectations. I had predicted Holland would win! Keep in touch and let me know if you are in the area, I live about 5 miles from Hernan.
Best Regards,
Bob Haugh

From Doug Verkaaik 6-8-2009

What a great surprise to hear from you guys. The Wolverines was an incredible experience, a rogue team made up of a potpourri of players from the South Bay, an aggressive offense and a rock hard defense!!. We were awesome and undefeated until the end. Our coach, Bob Hough, hired me to do his work at the Hawthorne Press while he went on a long vacation to Scotland. I have parlayed that experience to a great career here at the Union Tribune. I write weekly columns, publish magazines and many other advertising products related to the restaurant industry. You can find my columns on our website; the entertainment tab, then the restaurant tab and scroll down to my Dining Around logo icon, hit that and my columns come up. I don't play soccer anymore, just turned 60, but still surf and play golf. The memories of the Wolverines are a highlight in my life for sure. Thanks Jack for putting this together, and Juan you were a solid forward. Let's keep in touch!

From Juan Paolo 6-5-2009

Hi, Juan Paolo here. I will never forget my experience with the South Bay Wolverines. Got to make a lot of friends there, a couple I still see around, and it ended up being the springboard to a short but fun professional soccer career in South America. I remember just running thru every team we played by an average of at least 4 goals a game.I think the hardest game we had was in Torrance, an overtime game that ended up returning the next day(because of darkness) and I scored a goal after about 3 and a half hours of playing to end it. The Coliseum game was a great memory, especially getting to meet and talk to Pele after our game in the locker room. But sadly one of the moments I remember the most was losing our first game (I blamed myself as I had played in a semipro game the night before and I could not give it the extra push we needed in the game we lost by a goal.When the game was over we kind of looked at each other and said lets take a "little break", and that was the last time we saw each other. Lets get in touch again!!!!

From Jack "Tim" Dicus 5-26-2009

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Bill Hughes, one of the founding fathers and first executive secretary of the AYSO. Click here to see the entire article.

AYSO Philosophy and History As Written By Bill Hughes, April 2, 1989

April 1967 - Because of support from the Los Angeles Toros S.C. (professional team), some of our members belonged to their supporters club and filled most of its executive board. We were invited to play a preliminary game in the Coliseum and this was to be televised. Our season had just ended and so the AYSO overall championship was to be played with its subsequence presentation of the team cup and player's medals. To us, this was a perfect way to attract teams and players for next season. However, one fly in the ointment. What if the game ended in a tie? My suggestion was to end it quickly by penalty kicks. This was accepted and so while insignificant at the time, AYSO invented penalty kicks as a sweet ending to ties when necessary. Only in the last (recent) World Cup did F.I.F.A. adopt this solution nearly 20 years later.

From Rick Thomas 5-23-2009

Note: This is a response to a question by Jack "Tim" Dicus: "How did we end up in the Coliseum if we weren't CIF?"

This is off the top of my head. Westchester was the CIF champions. We played in the Torrance Youth Soccer League. Any team (I guess any organized team) could enter the league. Non school affiliated teams and school teams could play (summer league?) that's what made it so exciting, we could play against the best teams in the area. I think Westchester, Inglewood, and South played after-CIF league play to have continuity within their teams for CIF league play? Westchester won their division and we won the other division putting us in the Coliseum game.

Thanks for sharing this, I still have all the news clippings and program thanks to my Mom. I will admit, I pull them out from time to time and read them reliving some of the moments. I never new how privileged I was to have been part of the Wolverines until years later. Thanks for sharing, its nice to know that its means something to other Wolverines also.

From Bruce Salisbury 5-22-2009

Hey Tim (Jack):

We were rogue students, Tim. We were forced to operate outside what was acceptable, the norm, and conformity. You, Bob (Risner), Rick Thomas and I as soccer enthusiast were rejected by the entire Hawthorne School administration. Not just the coaching staff, but the school principle Mr. Wetzler. We had two meetings with him. At the first meeting he told the four of us that in order to have a team we needed a coach, a filed to play and practice on, uniforms, transportation to and from games, insurance and a teacher to sponsor the team. Between the four of us we came up with a coach Mr. Bob Haugh, I think Bob or you found him based on a new article about him playing in England's Soccer World Cup and his desire to coach a local team in the U.S (Hawthorne to be more exact). Our parents offered to drive us (transportation) to and from games, and did. Our parents offered to pay the insurance, but Coach Haugh eventually got sponsors to foot the bill for insurance and uniforms. Bob Risner was working for the local parks and recreation department and arranged for the fields and soccer balls. Mr. Frank Graves, my wood shop teacher, agreed to be our teacher sponsor. Two weeks following the first meeting with Mr. Wetzler, at our second meeting we told him what we had done and accomplished and he proceeded to say and I quote plus or minus forty years of memory "You do not understand. There will be no team." We walked out and said "forget him" more my words than yours. We did create a soccer club which was our only tie at that stage to Hawthorne High.

Tim, Mr. Haugh called all over the Los Angeles area to locate teams willing to compete against the South Bay Wolverines since we incorporated multiple local high schools. There was no CIF; we were never a part of the federation. What we were was a conglomerate of diverse young men bent on achieving our goal and leading the way. That is what made you, Bob, and me great US Army Officers. That is what drove both you and Bob to risk your lives for others multiple times in Viet Nam, thank you by the way. You and Bob were (are) the best of the best. Even Rick Thomas gained from the experience by not quitting after the first failed game. As I said the other day in my email to you, I am grateful to have been a part of that great soccer adventure. It warms my soul to have been a part of something that powerful and good. The only thing that might have put whipped cream on our diverse team would have been to have some girls on our team too. A friend of ours daughter recently won a college scholarship to play soccer. I am also grateful that Hernan Uma\F1a came up with the electronic version of the team picture.

Your friend,

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