Article from the CYSA Hall of Fame Program – February, 2004
Hall of Fame Inductee, Peter Jebens, did more than take the reins of the California Youth Soccer Association when he took over as chairman in 1975. He built the saddle and turned the horse into a thoroughbred? Under his leadership, the association grew from 31,000 players to more than 125,000 at the time he took over as CYSA’s Executive Director. He is the founding father of what we now know as the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program. His foresight, vision and creative thinking have been the hallmarks of Peter’s leadership.
Under his guiding hand, CYSA was the first state association to craft a detailed and formal constitution. Many of the standards that exist in youth soccer today are in part thanks to Peter’s involvement. While he led the way, the rest of the nation was following, according to fellow Hall-of-Fame member, Doug fields. He, like many of our volunteers, got into the administration of youth soccer almost by accident. Where a need existed, Peter filled the gap. He began as a volunteer at the league level in Santa Rosa and was soon serving as the Commissioner of District 5. With his wife Sandy as his partner, the Jebens’ served in nearly every position that came their way. Region 4 of US Youth Soccer will honor that dedication by indicting both Peter and Sandy into their Hall of Fame in 2004.
He has touched the lives of many and he was instrumental in directing CYSA to its current position of being the largest state association in United State Youth Soccer. But it is Peter’s generosity, his endless contributions to the youth of his community and his commitment to the association that will be the legacy he leaves to CYSA. Peter will forever be a part of the lives of all who have been privileged to know him.
Obituary from the SR Press Democrat, May 24th, 2004
Peter Jebens passed away on May 12th, 2004 at the age of 65.
Peter Jebens was born in 1938 in Munich, Germany and worked for the Volkswagen company for several years before immigrating to the United States in 1965.
He enlisted in the Army and moved to Sonoma County shortly after his discharge in 1969. In the ensuing years, he owned or was a partner in several small businesses.
Jebens had participated in competitive canoeing in Germany, where soccer is used as a conditioning sport. But soccer was still a novelty in the United States in the early 1970s.
“He started coaching soccer in Santa Rosa after a friend, who coached a team, begged him to set up a second team so they’d have someone to play against” said Sandy, his wife of 20 years.
“In 1970, Jebens helped found and became president of the Santa Rosa Youth Soccer League, which consisted at that time of the six founding members and 96 players,” said daughter-in-law Jennifer Hodgin.
In the late 1970s, Jebens felt the fledgling California Youth Soccer Association wasn’t doing all it could. “He wrote a letter complaining, and the next thing he knew, he was appointed district commissioner,” said Sandy Jebens. Jebens went on to become chairman, then executive director of the association.
Jebens was also instrumental in the creation of the Olympic Development Program for young soccer players and helped launch soccer associations in other states. Jebens retired from soccer in the mid-1980’s.