Inducted January 28, 2005
Earnest Brown is best known to Oklahoma Soccer Association as the state’s first head coach. The native Oklahoman’s first involvement in the sport came when his son, Blake, announced he wished to play soccer. As with many unsuspecting parents during the sport’s early years, Earnest checked the box “helper” and two weeks later he was named coach of a soccer team.
In 1975, Earnest was pursuing his career in automotive repair and teaching at the Pryor Vo-Tech School. His background in education was to serve him well over the next decade. Knowing very little about soccer, Earnest did what many “volunteer” coaches did – he bought a book and a ball and began to teach himself the game.
As a basketball player in high school, it wasn’t long before Earnest discovered the similarities of the two sports. Always enthusiastic and positive in his manner, Earnest attracted the attention of several OSA founders who convinced him to sign up for a USSF coaching school in Shawnee in 1977. The course drew only 4 candidates, but Earnest was one of them and he used his training at the course to spread the word about coaching instruction.
In 1978, Earnest and his staff developed the state’s first coaching instruction curriculum and set about training coaches across the state. By 1980, he and his small staff had trained over 800 coaches across the state in the “F”,“E” certificates and “D” license. At one session in Oklahoma City, Earnest trained 145 coaches and it was not uncommon to have over 100 candidates sign up for the course.
Because he believes that the best teachers “show and tell,” Earnest attained the USSF “B” license in 1978 in order to develop his own soccer skills and training background. He used those skills in coaching the Broken Arrow Gladiators, the Broken Arrow Knights and playing on an adult team. His youth teams won two state championships during a four-year span. Earnest also coordinated the Oklahoma Select Teams and coached the U19 Select Team in 1984. Assisted by his wife, Sandra, daughters Mendee and Kristi, and son Blake, the Brown’s became the state’s coaching family.
Earnest now uses his education background as Minister of Education at Frink Baptist Church in the McAlester area where he continues his philosophy of “every student can achieve.”
Earnest’s legacy to Oklahoma soccer is seen in nearly every corner of the state. Every parent who signs up to coach his/her child and attends a coaching course owes a debt of gratitude to the vision of Earnest Brown – the coaches’ coach.
Father Paul Zahler
Inducted January 28, 2005
Oklahoma Soccer Association’s first steps toward the organization it is today were guided by a Benedictine priest from St. Michael, Minnesota. An athlete and scholar, Father Paul Zahler came to Oklahoma in 1950 to attend St. Gregory’s and play high school sports. He returned to Minnesota to complete his religious training and achieved his ordination in 1962. Attracted to the Shawnee school, Father Paul returned to St. Gregory’s where he began teaching Physical Education, Psychology and Child Development. He obtained a Masters Degree and a PhD from the University of Oklahoma during his tenure at St. Gregory’s.
By 1964, Father Paul noticed that large numbers of international students were attending St. Gregory’s and many expressed a desire to play a game called football that was not like the American version of that game. Gathering thirty players from countries such as Cuba, Bolivia, Mexico, Italy and Thailand, Father Paul organized a game against OBU. Soon, he was setting up matches against Southeastern State, Oklahoma City University, and Phillips University and having success with his coaching although he had never played the game. Within three years, a loosely organized soccer program was developing with adult teams from Tulsa, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma City, and OU.
At Casady High School in Oklahoma City in 1967, the Oklahoma Soccer League was born bringing adult, junior college, university, and high school teams together to provide a structure for soccer development. Father Paul was elected president of the league and would serve in that position for the next nine years.
Aware that the league needed to be a part of the organized soccer world, Father Paul pushed to join FIFA and adopt a set of policies. By 1968, that goal was achieved although the official name of the organization was changed to Oklahoma Soccer Football Association. Using the guidelines from FIFA, Father Paul influenced the organization by promoting the concepts of unlimited substitutions and training of coaches and officials. By 1975 youth soccer was growing in several cities and Father Paul recognized that including youth in the organization was important. Meeting with representatives from Green Country and others, in April it was agreed to form new bylaws and change the name to Oklahoma Soccer Association. Father Paul appointed the first Youth Commissioners, Don Jones for Green Country, Tom Kelly for Frontier Country, and Nick Mickulai for Red Carpet, to assist in starting youth soccer development across the state.
Father Paul promoted the idea of training soccer moms to be coaches and that every child should play at least half of the match. Before leaving office, Father Paul oversaw the creation of a full time OSA office in Tulsa.
Today, Father Paul is Founder/Director of the National Institute on Developmental Delays, an internationally recognized training center based at St. Gregory’s, author of Experience Quotient and Human Development, and continued supporter of a game he adopted nearly forty years ago.
Inducted January 28, 2005
Marypat Bell may hold the record for longest service to Oklahoma Soccer Association among all its members. Since 1975 when her oldest daughter, Jennifer, began playing for South Tulsa Soccer Club until today when her grandson, Greyson, plays U6 soccer, Marypat has been involved in administering the game.
A native of Billings, Montana, Marypat arrived in Tulsa and graduated from Bishop Kelley High School. She attended Benedictine College for one year and saw her first soccer match there. Returning to Oklahoma, she enrolled at OU and graduated with a major in political science and history. She returned to college after her younger children, Gretchen, Stephen, and Emily, reached school age and completed her work on a Masters Degree at TU in Special Education.
In between, Marypat devoted her life to soccer in Oklahoma. Working with Harriet Peacher and coaching the Eliot Green Hornets for two years, Marypat learned that coaching was not her forte and when Harriet asked her to become registrar for South Tulsa, Marypat agreed. Soon she was elected Secretary of Green Country and began her climb through the administrative ranks of OSA.
Marypat moved into the secretary’s office and eventually completed a term as GCSA president. When Tom Iadevaia approached her to run for the chairmanship of OSA, Marypat agreed and in 1984 she became OSA’s sixth Executive Board Chairman, a position she held until 1987. Following her election loss, she began her involvement with the adult division of OSA that lead to her election as treasurer of Region III of the United States Adult Soccer Association. She returned to the Chairmanship of OSA from 1987 to 1996, becoming the longest serving Chair in OSA history.
During the 1980’s, Marypat was highly involved in the selection of Tulsa as a site for the United States Youth Soccer Association’s regionals. Tulsa hosted the 1982 regional tournament and Marypat co-chaired them when they returned in 1989. She also worked with the Tulsa Parks Department and other sports organizations to create the Westbank Soccer Complex that would eliminate many of the conflicts between youth baseball and soccer teams in the Tulsa area.
In 1996, USASA elected her to Deputy Director of Region III, a position she still holds. She was elected to the United States Soccer Federation’s Board of Directors representing the adults and has been a member and chair of the USSF’s Rules Committee for several years.
Her activities now include not only Greyson, but also Jennifer’s daughter, Delanie; and Gretchen and Chris Clark’s son, Ford. Stephen is single and living in Casper, Wyoming; Emily and Jeff Zachary live in Tulsa with Marypat’s granddog, Max, and grandcat, Maddie. Traveling, reading, bridge, family and friends fill her spare time.
Marypat presently teaches Government and History at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa where she is the senior class sponsor. She continues to use her thirty years of soccer administrative experience to the benefit of Oklahoma Soccer Association.
Inducted January 28, 2005
After escaping from Hungary in 1956, Peter Aradi considered himself fortunate to arrive in the United States. Staying with relatives, Peter began learning the English language and continuing his college studies he began in Budapest before the revolution.
Peter worked for IBM, RCA, and ATT&T before moving to Tulsa to work with American Airlines. In between, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in the Pacific where he met his wife, Shigemi. While he always played recreational soccer for fun, Peter found he had a talent for another sport – volleyball. He played for the Air Force team competing against the Japanese National Team and other squads.
Peter and family moved to Tulsa to work at American Airlines and found a number of international players working at American. In 1974 at a tournament at Tulsa’s Boulder Park, his teammates convinced him to referee the match because no one else would. Peter’s reputation for knowledge of the game spread and he was asked to coach a youth team. “I discovered I was not a player nor a coach,” says Peter. But Don Jones requested that Peter put on a referee class in the summer of 1975. In the fall of that year, Oklahoma registered its first USSF referees.
After returning from New Jersey in 1977, Peter attended a Region III referee instructor class in Dallas. He came home and organized the first referee instructor class held in Oklahoma and in 1978 attended a national referee instructor course in California. Upon his return, Peter was named State Director of Instruction for Oklahoma.
When the Roughnecks of the NASL came to Tulsa, they were required to have a local assessor at each match. Peter soon became an assessor for both the NASL’s Roughnecks and the United Soccer League’s Oklahoma City team.
By 1978, Peter was named both SDI and State Director of Assessment and he began developing an assessor training program for Oklahoma. The first national Assessor Course for USSF was held in 1981 with Peter attending and teaching. For a year he was the USSF National Director of Assessment before resigning for health reasons.
Education was important to Peter and he obtained a liberal arts BA and a Masters degree from OU and a Masters in history from TU while living in Oklahoma.
Retiring from American Airlines in 1990 and active refereeing, Peter continued to assess and assign officials with USSF and NISOA for several years. His focus after retiring was on teaching and Peter taught 9 years at Rogers State College and semester courses at TU.
Fully retired now, he is proud of the referees he assisted in becoming national referees and the number of soccer fields he sees in Tulsa. He is also proud of his two sons: Roger, his wife Teresa, and twins Tristan and Genieve who live in Austin, TX; and Eddie who lives in Dallas.