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Ray Thompsett Soccer Invitational

The Ray Thompsett  Invitational

March 22-23, 2014



The DSC March tournament is in tribute to Ray Thompsett, soccer pioneer. Ray began soccer in Rock Hill in the late 70's filling the need of many to start organized soccer leagues. His u12 team ‘the Coca Cola Kickers’ was the first Rock Hill team to be registered with SC Youth Soccer. Ray moved out of SC and on to FL, TN and into all 3 state's Hall of Fame. He became increasingly involved in Youth Soccer by accepting a position as Region 3 Director, then US Youth Soccer Executive Director.
We are proud to honor Ray with a tournament in his name.

Executive Director Dave Carton and Ray Thompsett, March 23, 2013

Ray Thompsett originally came to the United States in 1960 working for an international cruise ship line. He left the cruise line and was hired by Sears, Roebuck and Co. as an employee in Miami, Florida. While in Florida, Ray helped start a travel soccer team in the Miami area and in 1967 co-founded the Hollywood Florida Youth Soccer Association.

In 1968 Ray was part of a group of youth soccer leaders in Florida who joined the US Soccer Federation's Youth Division (forerunner of US Youth Soccer Association). Under the guidance of Tom Hayes, Canadian National Coach, Ray became the first licensed youth soccer coach in Florida and was appointed the Florida state team coach.

In 1972 Sears, Roebuck and Co. transferred Ray to Tennessee. He started the Tennessee State Soccer Coaches Association and was elected President of South East Memphis Soccer Association (SEMSA). Ray helped start other associations throughout Tennessee and North Mississippi and guided Tennessee into joining US Soccer Federation's Youth Division as one of the original eight (8) states. SEMSA represented all of the Tennessee teams in the first Regional Tournament held in New Orleans in 1975. SEMSA hosted the second Regional Tournament and instituted the original Parade of States in 1976. Ray coached a U12 boy’s team that won the Tennessee State Cup and took this team to Miami, Florida for the 1977 Regional Tournament.

In 1977 Sears, Roebuck and Co. transferred Ray to Rock Hill as store manager. With the assistance of Rock Hill PRT, Ray started a travel soccer team in Rock Hill. Ray obtained Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Rock Hill as a sponsor and the team was called the Coca-Cola Kickers. The Coca-Cola Kickers went on to play in the first U12 South Carolina State Cup. Ray was one of the original South Carolina youth soccer leaders that supported South Carolina joining the US Soccer Federation's Youth Division.

In 1978, Ray was transferred to Hammond, Louisiana where he founded the South Tangi Youth Soccer Association. In 1980 he became the first youth Soccer Commissioner for Louisiana Youth Soccer Association. Ray started the first state coaching committee in 1982 and worked with the Louisiana Youth Soccer Association’s select program as a director for boys and girls.

In 1985 Ray was transferred to New Orleans, Louisiana. The same year, Ray was elected US Youth Soccer Region-III Director and managed twelve (12) state associations in the South. Ray guided Region-III to become the leading region of US Youth Soccer. He also helped to build the Region III Tournament and the Region III ODP programs and camps to an unparalleled level of excellence. In 1986, he coached the Lafreniere U16 boy’s team that won the LA State Cup and represented that state in the Regional Tournament in Houston, Texas.

In 1990 Ray was hired by the US Youth Soccer National B.O.D. as Executive Director, and led their National Office move from Memphis, TN to Dallas, TX, where Ray created and managed an outstanding service minded office. The current US Youth Soccer Executive Director, Jim Cosgrove, was hired as a trainee/intern by Ray.

The original 1991 Women's World Cup Champions were largely from Ray’s Region-III Girls ODP program and were coached by his Region-III Girls ODP head women's coach Anson Dorrance.

Ray retired in 1997 and still lives in Texas. His wonderful wife, June, passed away in 2009. His daughter, two (2) grand-daughters and two (2) great grandsons live in Texas.

Ray’s Many Accomplishments:
• In 1985 Ray was elected US Youth Soccer Region III Director.
• Honored as one of the founders of the Tennessee State Soccer Association.
• In 1990 Ray was hired by the US Youth Soccer National B.O.D. as Executive Director.
• In 1990 elected to the FL Youth Soccer Hall-of-Fame as one of their founders.
• In August 1998, elected to the SC Youth Soccer Hall-of-Fame as one of the founders of the South Carolina Youth Soccer Association.
• In 2005 elected to the Region III Hall of Fame.