In 1965, five men and women headed by Joe Belluzzo (known as the Father of Santa Rosa Soccer) organized so they could provide the necessary soccer skills and game opportunities for school age girls and boys. This program became known as the Sonoma County Youth Soccer League for 10 to 12 year olds. As time went by, it was difficult for the parents to transport the children to various games that were played in the diverse Sonoma County localities. In 1969, eight parents with the financial assistance of the Santa Rosa Optimist Club founded the Santa Rosa Youth Soccer League. There were approximately 200 boys and 18 girls that signed up for this outstanding new athletic program. There were 16 dedicated adults who served as coaches and referees that first year.
The interest was heightened with the help of the local school districts (Santa Rosa and the nine feeder elementary school districts) and the City Recreation and Parks Department. By the 1972/73 season, this program had grown to 1,500 girls and boys forming playing leagues in several different age groups. In 1978, due to the rapid growth and interest in the sport, the Santa Rosa Youth Soccer League Board of Directors reorganized operations into five clubs. The idea behind this was to break down the city into geographical regions, thus making it easier for people to participate. Through this “club concept” they then comprised a total of 184 teams.
The soccer program has continued to grow to where today approximately 4,000 boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 18 are playing in Santa Rosa. There are now almost 400 teams with a playing season from August to November, with some of the select teams playing almost year round. In addition to the number of soccer players, there are hundreds of adult volunteers now assisting with the total program.