Two and half years later,
the Blums moved back to Greensboro. Shocked that they
were moving back into a soccerless community, Barbara
took action and approached the city about starting a league.
Officials told her that if she would find the referees
and coaches, they would push it through. She then approached
the head soccer coach at Guilford College for help. He
invited her to speak to the college team. Five volunteers
stepped forward -- Don Yelton, Tim Crawford, Carl Fenske,
Mike Dimoff and M.C. McCoy -- offering to help as coaches
and referees. In order to move the city along, Barbara
had a dozen friends call the Parks and Registration department
to say that they heard that a soccer league was forming
and to ask where they could register. City officials quickly
called her wanting to know when she could start in the
spring, because the phone was ringing off the hook. The
first year fielded 18 boys and 4 girls teams. The city
gave her Lathem Park and Glenwood fields and provided
equipment. Once a week on Saturday Barbara recalls running
back and forth between both fields to make sure that referees
showed up. Lathem Park had a wooden goal. Barbara took
a ladder every Saturday morning before the first game
to hammer in protruding nails!
In 1975 she appeared before
the Greensboro School Board in an effort to get soccer
into the four high schools. The vote was positive. Barbara’s
children attended Grimsley High School. She remembers
the resistance that the school’s administrators
had toward the new sport. Players shared basketball uniforms
and used wooden goals, built by Carl Fenske. Use of the
football field was out of the question.
In 1976 the Bicentennial
Soccer tournament came to North Carolina,
with foreign teams invited to play teams from Wilson,
Greensboro and Chapel Hill. Initial games were played
in each city,
with Greensboro slated to play Peru. The city had no fields
accommodate audiences so Barbara approached Grimsley officials
request the use of Jameson Football Stadium. She was told
field could be used for the actual game but not for practices.
week before the game, at night, Barbara and the players
the fence to practice. Barbara Blum was unstoppable!
With other key soccer figures
in North Carolina, Barbara provided
leadership in affiliating NCYSA with USYSA. She served
as NCYSA Vice
President for one term of office, as NCYSA President during
and as a USYSA sub-regional (six southern states) for
two years. The
first soccer store in the entire southeast, The Soccer
opened by Barbara in Greensboro.
In looking back, Barbara
reflects on how soccer was a labor of love.
She, her fellow workers and the players enjoyed camaraderie
spirit and learned lessons in life not only how to lose
but also how to win gracefully. She applauds in particular
of Bill Utter, Joel Deaton, Don Yelton, Pat Kelley, Carl
Dimoff, Rudy Hinshaw and John Malmfelt, all of whom share
the credit for introducing organized soccer to Greensboro.
Comments from soccer friends:
the best leader with whom I've ever been associated; whenever
anything seemed missing, Barbara lit the fires to provide
it; rarely has an individual given so much of themselves
to support the youth; only Barbara knows the sum of her
hours of unselfish dedication -- and I doubt that she