CLASS of 2009
Inducted February 6, 2009
Joe Jahraus' art provided Oklahoma Soccer members with logos, mastheads and bumper stickers for decades, but few knew that Joe provided much more to OSA than his drawings. The University of Missouri School of Journalism graduate met his wife Sharon in college. His first job was with Ralston Purina's advertising section.
Within a year Joe was contacted by Hallmark Cards and he and his family (which now included Jon and Laura) settled in Kansas City. Joe's job at Hallmark was Creative Director of the Contemporary Card line that evolved into today's Shoebox cards. After four years with Hallmark, Skelly Oil Company brought Joe on board and back into the field of advertising.
1972 marked Joe's transfer to Tulsa with Skelly. He was now Director of Advertising and Jon was playing soccer as well as Laura. As with most young parents in the 1970's, the Jahraus family saw soccer as an alternative to other highly competitive sports. Joe was involved in the initial meeting at Thornton YMCA where Green Country Soccer was created. "I was there with the leaders of what would become GCSA and OSA," says Jahraus. From that first meeting a core leadership developed and the sport was under way. "I remember taking a reel of film about Pele and the sport of soccer to several organizational meetings throughout the city to make our civic leaders and the movers and shakers of Tulsa aware of soccer and what it had to offer our youngsters as a sport along with football and baseball...the rest is history."
In 1980 Skelly merged with Getty Oil and Joe became Assistant Ad Manager and in charge of sales promotions. "Getty sponsored all major league professional sports on the east coast and midwest and we became highly involved with the North American Soccer League. When the Roughnecks were purchased and came to Tulsa, Getty became a big-time sponsor," says Jahraus.
Getty held a contest for the team name and it was Joe who created the iconic Roughneck posed next to a huge soccer ball for the new NASL team. "I drew the image of the roughneck character and Roy Harwood developed the lettering for the logo."
During that time Joe attended a referee class and began officiating matches. He would continue officiating and coaching Laura's soccer team for several seasons. And, like many other soccer volunteers would mark lines, set up nets and serve as a club officer.
For Joe the growth of soccer in Oklahoma has been remarkable. While the design of the Green Country Soccer and the Roughneck logos are part of his legacy, what impresses Joe is the number of players involved today and the multiple opportunities they have to play soccer...from the youth leagues on through to college teams throughout the United States. As Joe says, "A long way from that first meeting at the YMCA."
Inducted February 6, 2009
Robert Reising moved to Tulsa in 1971 along with wife, Sue; daughter, Gretchen. Soccer was unfamiliar to the Louisville, Kentucky native but not to his associates at American Airlines. His computer skills and a degree from Centre College in Kentucky took him to New York where he met Tom Iadevaia and was hired to work on American’s crew scheduling program. Moving to Tulsa, Robert and Tom shared an office at American. It from that office that Tom Iadevaia first ordered soccer balls for the fledgling Green Country Soccer Association.
When Gretchen and Robert’s son Robert III signed up to play soccer, dad was asked to assist with the team. “I flunked out of college gym class,” says Reising, “so playing or coaching was not for me, but I wanted to help my children by learning the game so I took the referee course.” The instructor was Peter Aradi and soon Robert was officiating Green Country matches.
Reising’s legacy, however, would not be as a referee but as an administrator. With less than a year of exposure to soccer, Reising was tapped for leadership. “Tom Iadevaia asked me to take over the job of State Youth Commissioner in 1978 and I agreed,” says Reising. It was an office he held for two years. During that time he worked with the regional tournaments as well as state tournaments. In the spring of 1979, while attending the Annual General Meeting, Reising was elected Regional Commissioner for Region III of the United Youth Soccer Association, the youth body of the United States Soccer Federation. “I was just getting into the office of State Commissioner and suddenly I was over a region comprised of thirteen southern states.” It was a post he held for six years until retiring in 1985. During that time he would use his weeks of vacation time for soccer and spend three weekends a month on the road for soccer.
Robert was instrumental in bringing the regional offices to Tulsa. During his six years as regional chairman, United States Youth Soccer’s regional headquarters were on 51st street in Tulsa.
“I had to give up the referee badge,” says Reising, “because of time conflicts between administration and officiating.” But he would not get away from referees that easily. “Marypat Bell approached me after my term with US Youth and asked me to run for Oklahoma Soccer Association’s 1st Vice Presidency,” says Reising. The office oversees appeals and disciplinary situations in OSA and Robert held many hearings during his two years in the position. Robert is proud that no appeals of his committee’s decisions were filed during his tenure.
As one of the founders of OSA, Reising looks at soccer in Oklahoma today and is pleased with the fruits of his labor. “Look around and see all the soccer pitches,” he says. “They are everywhere and when we began we had to fight for space. But soccer will continue to grow because it is fun and that’s why the kids love to play.”
Grandchildren are the focus of the Reising family now. Robert III and son Joseph live in San Francisco while Gretchen and husband Michael live in New York with their son’s Logan and Grant. All three grandsons have soccer balls.
Inducted February 6, 2009
Suzi Page exemplifies the “can do” spirit of Oklahoma Soccer. Arriving in Oklahoma with her husband Bob and sons Chris and Patrick, the Overton, Texas native quickly became immersed in a game she had never seen or played. Within a few years she was not only playing the game, but she was coaching it, refereeing it, and administering it.
When Chris asked to play soccer, Suzi turned to Bob and pushed him to coach their oldest son. When Patrick wished to play, Suzi decided it was time for her to coach.
“There were few women coaches in those days, but Bobby Bryant and Charlie Fox put on seminars and I attended,” says Page. She followed those early classes with F and E certificates as well as attending a USSF National C class. Her desire to learn all she could about the game of soccer drove her to attend clinics around the region and nationally.
The training paid off and her success at coaching in the Broken Arrow Soccer Club would be phenomenal. Her teams included recreational, competitive, and Olympic Development squads. Boys or girls’ teams didn’t matter to Suzi as long as she could coach soccer.
1987 was a banner year for Suzi. OSA named her Girls’ Coach of the Year, US Youth Soccer recognized Suzi as both the Region III Girls’ Coach of the Year, and as the National Coach of the Year. The National Soccer Coaches Association added her as their Girls’ Coach of the Year in 1987 as well.
Suzi was selfless in helping other coaches by administering the State Select program (predecessor of ODP), working as an ODP staff coach, and as a member of the Coaching Instructors School. She assisted Earnest Brown and the BA Knights in their state championships. Her Zenith Express ’78 team was state champions twice and a Regional runner-up.
When not coaching, Suzi played soccer on the BA Kicks (first women’s team to be formed in Broken Arrow) for ten years, and also played for the GitNGo Gogetters indoor exhibition team that played before the Roughneck matches.
As if coaching and playing weren’t enough, Suzi added refereeing and administration to her resume. She was one of the original Broken Arrow referees and officiated matches for Broken Arrow throughout her coaching and playing days. As an administrator, Suzi was Green Country’s secretary, US Youth representative, registrar, and office employee.
“I was one of the Broken Arrow representatives to the city on the design of Indian Springs Soccer Complex,” says Page. In 1988, Broken Arrow proclaimed May 10 as “Suzi Page Day” for her service to the club and the city.
No longer actively coaching or playing, she looks forward to watching her grandchildren grow up. Chris and wife Elise live in Rogers, Arkansas and their daughters are Allison and Lauren. Patrick and his wife Lynn live in Palatine, Illinois with Suzanne and Evelyn.
Suzi feels her impact on the sport is best stated by a former player who approached her one day and said, “I had so much fun playing for you!” Having fun and enjoying the game is the underlying principle by which Suzi Page has devoted her life to soccer.