Inducted January 31, 2004
Don Jones commitment to Oklahoma soccer began in 1973 when he volunteered to organize and administer a fledgling soccer organization in the Tulsa area. One of seven people who had the vision of a statewide soccer program, Don worked to create Green Country Soccer Association and eventually Oklahoma Soccer Association.
A native of Arkansas who grew up in New York City, Don arrived in Oklahoma from New York after a brief tenure in California. Don used his management skills from his job with IBM to lay the foundation for Oklahoma soccer.
From 1974 to 1976, Jones served as GCSA’s first president. During that time period, soccer enrollment in Tulsa grew from 500 to 3000. He was appointed Youth Commissioner for the Oklahoma Soccer Association at that time, the first administrator of youth soccer for Oklahoma.
Don felt it important that every child should play at least half of every soccer game and made certain that concept was included in the GCSA bylaws. The guarantee of one half of play was the key to the rapid growth of youth soccer.
Reaching beyond the Tulsa area, Don was instrumental in developing soccer throughout the state. He assisted Frontier Country Soccer Association in its early years and was eventually elected to OSA’s presidency, a post he held from 1976-1978.
Highlighting those Tulsa years was a visit by the world famous Pele arranged through the work of Don and Tom Iadevaia. Pele visited only three American cities that year and it was the hard work of Don and others that brought the famed Brazilian to Tulsa.
After leaving Tulsa, Don completed the MBA that he had begun at the University of Tulsa and did substantial work toward the Ph.D. degree in Management at the City University of New York. He attributed his interest and success in the management field to his seven years of administration of soccer in Oklahoma. “I was a manager of a small group at IBM,” says Don, “but with GCSA I had to manage hundreds. Soccer gave me that gift.”
Don now resides in Ridgefield, Connecticut with his wife of 47 years, Martha Jane. Their children and grandchildren are all involved in soccer. Wes Jones and his wife, Beth, have four children: Katherine Jones, Ashley, Daniel, and Michaelanne Anselme. They live in the Tulsa area.
Cynthia Limeburner, (neè Jones) and her husband John have two boys: John Wilkins and Peter Doohan. The Limeburners live in Montreal, Canada.
Don refers to himself as “temporarily retired” but has plans to return to Tulsa in the future – a place he calls ‘home.’
His call to action in 1973 is as valid today as it was then. Attending a meeting with soccer parents, Don and others were told that the YMCA would not continue to support a soccer program. He turned to the assembled parents and said: “We can do something on our own.”
Inducted January 31, 2004
David Yockel has devoted over eighteen years of his life to Oklahoma soccer and has been rewarded for that commitment by numerous players, parents, and administrators who valued his love of the sport.
After a term of service with the US Army and a job in Houston, the Nebraska native moved to Oklahoma along with his wife, Nancy. When their son, Scott, reached 4, David became involved in soccer and began a journey that continues today.
From 1984 to 1989, David coached boys’ teams at Ione Soccer Club and Northwest Optimist club. Ione asked him to coordinate their first Soccer Fest in 1989 and he oversaw that tournament for two years before moving into the 1st VP of the Ione club, an office he held for 2 years.
David became a referee in 1990, continued coaching his son’s competitive team, coached a separate recreational team, and coached Scott’s baseball team. In his spare time, David decided to form and lead the first booster club for Putnam City West High School. He was president of that organization for 3 years.
In 1994, David began coaching his now U16 boys’ team in Lake Overholser Soccer Association. When Scott no longer wished to play competitive league soccer, David formed a recreational U19 team and coached them to championships in FCSA’s Day of Champions and the American Cup.
The ability to organize and administrate caught the attention of both clubs and country officers. By 1996, David was site administrator for FCSA’s Day of Champions at Lake Overholser, the FCSA Oklahoma Cup, and the OSA Youth Open. His U19 team captured the American Cup championship for a second year.
Elected president of Lake Overholser Soccer in 1997, David attended his first USYS National Workshop and discovered TOPSoccer, a program for mentally and physically challenged children that provides them the opportunity to play soccer. Upon returning from the USYS Workshop, he began forming TOPSoccer teams in the Norman area and eventually spread the program across the state. His inspiration for this program stemmed from his niece, Kimberly Finney, who always wanted to play soccer but had contracted cerebral palsy early in her life and was confined to a wheelchair.
With his interest in TOPSoccer and recreational development, David ran for the OSA office of 3rd VP of the Youth Board in 1998 and held that office for 3 years. During that period, he oversaw the growth of rural soccer in Oklahoma, raised the awareness of the American Cup as a state championship tournament for recreational teams, and increased the enrollment of TOPSoccer to over 100 players, drawing national recognition.
FCSA selected David as their TOPSoccer representative in 2001. He agreed and served that office for two years as well as again taking on the task of site director for the Oklahoma Cup and Day of Champions.
The Yockel family now includes Scott and his wife, Lauren. Instead of holidays at soccer tournaments, David and Nancy can spend those weekends traveling to visit their son and daughter-in-law in Texas.
Inducted January 31, 2004
Gunter Guirten arrived in Oklahoma in 1960 and one of the first things he did was to find a soccer team on which to play. He was pleased to discover several teams in the Oklahoma City area, and the twenty-six year old German immigrant signed up to play with the Celtics.
For seventeen years, Gunter played adult soccer for a number of teams and helped recruit players to a variety of squads. In 1967, Oklahoma Soccer Association was formed with input from Guirten. He was one of four registered USSF referees in the state at the time.
He was one of the first State Referees in Oklahoma and quickly became involved in officiating matches at the adult and youth level. He became well known across the state as a referee and promoter of soccer officiating.
By the 1970’s, he had become an assessor, assignor, and instructor of referees. Working with Peter Aradi in the Tulsa area, Gunter set up assessor and instructor training for referees in the Oklahoma City area. He helped form an Oklahoma City referee chapter and was eventually named assistant State Referee Administrator, overseeing all referees in the western half of Oklahoma.
In 1971, Gunter took on a new role – father. For his wife, Maria, a native of Venezuela, their son Gunther would provide plenty of opportunity to continue their involvement in soccer. When Gunther was old enough to sign up, Gunter coached his son through the U12 age bracket.
When professional soccer appeared in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Gunter was there to lend his experience. He was often a 4th official at the games and was by now a State Assessor and Instructor who watched as some of his protégés were given the opportunity to work in those matches.
High schools began offering varsity soccer in 1985, and again Gunter volunteered to assist in the training and assigning of those officials. As he had for years, he used his experience to aid in the development of young officials who were just getting started in refereeing. Whether they officiated club, adult, high school, or college matches, Gunter provided them insight and direction as they progressed on their referee careers.
When Maria passed away in 1998, Gunter stepped away from soccer for a time. But he recently announced he is ready to return to instructing and assessing a game that he has loved since he was a little boy in Germany.
The referees of Oklahoma look forward to having input from Gunter for several more years, and when they hear his comments they will know how profoundly he enjoys the game of soccer – a game to which he has devoted his life.
Inducted January 31, 2004
Tom Iadevaia arrived in Tulsa in 1970 as a SABRE computer programmer for American Airlines. Within a few years, he became one of the founders of organized soccer in Oklahoma. Tom began playing with Tulsa International, an adult team based in Tulsa, and continued playing for that squad through the 1980’s. Encouraged by his teammates on TI, Tom began the process of developing adult and youth soccer in the Tulsa area. Using the YMCA organization, a fledgling soccer program was begun in 1973 only to face dissolution when the Y refused to continue its support. Along with Don Jones and others, Tom helped create Green Country Soccer Association for the Tulsa area. After an initial enrollment of 1267, the organization topped 7000 players within two years.
Not content with youth soccer development in the Tulsa area, Tom began a drive to organize the adult teams to form a cohesive unit that would provide skilled soccer for area teams and not force them to drive to out-of-state venues. From his leadership came the Northeast Oklahoma Adult Soccer Association and a league of 77 teams, both male and female. He also worked with leaders in the Oklahoma City area in the development of Frontier Country Soccer and Central Oklahoma Adult Soccer League programs.
By the end of the 1970’s, the Tulsa Roughnecks came aboard the North American Soccer League and Tom was there to develop even more soccer enthusiasm. He worked with Pepsi to bring Pele to Tulsa and the Brazilian’s visit drew thousands to the sport.
Tom twice served as chairman of the Oklahoma Soccer Association’s Executive Board. His first term was from 1977 to 1980 and again in 1985. During his first term, OSA’s current bylaws and constitution were created as well as development and implementation of referee instruction and assessment.
Obtaining his State referee badge, Tom was often seen at tournaments as player, administrator, coach, and referee. He obtained his USSF “B” license and coached his son, T. A., and their team, the Tornados, to a regional appearance in Raleigh, NC, and the finals in Dallas in 1983. T.A. and his wife, Kimberly, have two daughters, Abbey and Meghan Rose and currently reside in Dallas, Texas.
When Oklahoma began varsity soccer in the high schools, Tom was there to guide Tulsa Memorial and took them to a state championship final.
During that time he was approached by a number of players and asked to organize a team and coach it. He set about forming Tulsa Futball Club, TFC, a team he coached for 6 years and led them to an invitation to the Dallas Cup – first Oklahoma team to be invited.
Tom is no longer active in soccer and his wife, Gayle, no longer has to answer the many telephone calls he used to receive. If asked about his work establishing Oklahoma soccer, he replies: “It was a labor of love.”