FRISCO, Texas (Jan. 11, 2023) – US Youth Soccer is proud to announce the two newest members of its Hall of Fame, James Martella and Roy Smithers.
Established in 2008, the US Youth Soccer Hall of Fame honors players, coaches, referees, and administrators who have given back to the sport, in addition to offering meritorious honors.
Martella has been invaluable to the growth of not only US Youth Soccer but all youth sport. In his early days of involvement, Martella held roles with the Southeast Cincinnati Soccer Association and Queen City Soccer Club to oversee their success, serving as the Assistant Treasurer for the former and Club General Manager for the latter. Additionally, Martella was President of the Tri County Youth Soccer Association for two years, from 1984-85.
Martella’s journey took him to the Ohio Youth Soccer Association shortly thereafter, where he was able to rejuvenate The Buckeye State’s youth soccer scene. He served as President for nearly a decade between multiple stints — in addition to more than two decades spent as Executive Director.
Martella continued adding to his résumé, spending years as a United States Soccer Federation Referee, United States Soccer Federation Youth Commissioner, US Youth Soccer Board of Directors member, and helped develop the initial policies of US Youth Soccer’s Midwest Regional League.
During his many years of service, Martella was selected to be a member of multiple committees. He proved his worth to each one, including those of the United States Soccer Federation International Games and US Youth Soccer Learning University, as well as those of the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series (NCS) and NCS Region II (now known as the Midwest Region), where he served as Chairman of both for multiple years.
Martella’s diligence and determination were never done with the thought of personal accolades, but those were quick to follow. In 1985, Martella was honored as the recipient of the Bill Schrandt Award, given to an individual who has provided a substantial contribution to the Southeast Cincinnati Soccer Association. Martella has also received two awards from US Youth Soccer for his commitment to the sport: the Region II Angus Cameron Award (2005) and the National Administrator of the Year (2010).
Martella’s legacy was cemented even more after his induction into the Ohio Soccer Hall of Fame (2011) and recognition on MLS’ 100 Top Soccer Leaders list.
Smithers’ prominent role in the growth and evolution of soccer in South Texas will forever be remembered. He was President of three separate associations: the South Austin Youth Soccer Association (SAYSA), Capital Area Youth Soccer Association (CAYSA), and the South Texas Youth Soccer Association (STYSA).
In just four years as President of the South Austin Youth Soccer Association, Smithers grew the club to become the second largest in the Capital Area Youth Soccer Association with more than 400 new players. In the two years Smithers spent with CAYSA, he was able to add five new associations to the membership, bringing the player registration to more than 8,000, which was the largest member association in South Texas. Smithers also worked tirelessly to grant more opportunities to girls in the sport, helping create their first select team and all-star program. He then oversaw the South Texas Youth Soccer Association for more than 10 years, which included 29 member associations and leagues that were home to more than 65,000 players.
During more than four decades of service, Smithers sat on multiple committees, including the US Youth Soccer Rules Committee, United States Soccer Federation Budget Committee, and US Youth Soccer Budget Committee. He also fulfilled the invaluable role of US Youth Soccer Region III Treasurer and was Chairman for multiple groups: the US Youth Soccer Region III Nominations Committee, South Texas Youth Soccer Rules Committee, US Youth Soccer Hall of Fame Advisory Group, and US Youth Soccer Bylaws & Policies Advisory Group. His presence extended even further, as he was part of the US Youth Soccer Board of Directors for multiple years.
In addition to now being recognized as part of the US Youth Soccer Hall of Fame, Smithers had previously been inducted into the City of Austin Youth Sports Hall of Honor, South Texas Youth Soccer Hall of Fame, and US Youth Soccer Region III (South) Hall of Fame.
Those inducted as players have distinguished themselves with an outstanding standard of play and/or performance as a member of US Youth Soccer, having participated in games as a registered member of US Youth Soccer for at least six consecutive years.
Other honorees, such as administrators, referees, and coaches, have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments and/or leadership that have made significant contributions to the improvement of the sport and its participants nationwide. Honorees will have contributed directly for a period of six or more years at the national level of US Youth Soccer.
Meritorious recognition is awarded to individuals or organizations involved in the support of US Youth Soccer in non-playing capabilities.
About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer)
US Youth Soccer, the largest youth sport organization in the country, is on a mission to provide world-class support, resources, and leadership, helping every member fulfill their goals on and off the field of play. US Youth Soccer registers nearly 2.5 million players annually. Through its programming, resources and leadership, US Youth Soccer is advancing the game for its 54 Member State Associations, 10,000 clubs and leagues and one million administrators, coaches, and volunteers. US Youth Soccer connects families and communities to the power of sports and its shared love of soccer. US Youth Soccer provides a path for every player, coach and referee offering programs that provide a fun, safe and healthy environment at every level of the game.