Southern Soccer Scene first hit mailboxes in North Carolina in 1979 in newsletter form. Ray Alley had already spent his first five years out of college working as a sports reporter at daily newspapers and was dissatisfied with the lack of coverage of soccer in the mainstream press. Instead of being content to complain about it, he had the vision and energy to act on his displeasure. Over twenty years later, just about anyone involved with the game of soccer in the state of North Carolina relies on Southern Soccer Scene, the second oldest soccer newspaper in the United States, for news and information about the game. The newsletter format Ray banged out on his typewriter at Guilford College has been altered several times to give it its present professional appearance. Ray’s decision to embark on the journey as a publisher came after successful stints as a college soccer and tennis coach; once the paper got off the ground, his involvement in coaching and service to the game did not wane.
Ray Alley’s lifetime contributions as a coach, an administrator at various levels, and as the publisher of the newspaper Southern Soccer Scene have earned him the distinction of being selected as a member of the fifth class of inductees of the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame on this, the fifth day of January, 2002.
The 1966 graduate of High Point College coached tennis at his alma mater for five years before moving to Guilford College where he coached tennis for 13 seasons. His collegiate tennis teams won in excess of 300 matches and he was named NAIA National Tennis Coach-of-the-Year in 1974. While at Guilford, he also coached the men’s soccer team, winning 53 games against 34 loses and 3 ties in 5 seasons. The 53 wins still represent the most ever posted in a career by a soccer coach at Guilford. Ray’s accomplishments as a tennis and soccer coach at Guilford have earned him the honor of an upcoming induction into the Guilford College Sports Hall of Fame in their Class of 2002. Quite a year for him!
His involvement with youth soccer has not been limited to writing about the game and the people who play it. He has coached youth teams at the recreation, challenge, classic, and high school levels for over twenty-five years. Currently he is coaching the Northeast Golden Thunder, a U16 girl’s team. Six of the girl’s classic teams he directed have won NCYSA State Cup Championships and advanced to regional competitions in Dallas, Tulsa, Atlanta, Greenville, Houston, and Greensboro.
As if coaching and publishing are not enough, consider Ray’s contribution to the administration and growth of the game. He was the director of the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Workshops, sessions that were designed to enhance coaching skills for those who wanted to learn about the game from knowledgeable practitioners. The workshops were conducted for a series of twelve years before coaching education programs became fashionable. Alley was the founder and operator of All-Star Soccer Camps, which operated for 25 years, and founded and operates the St. Valentine’s Indoor Soccer Classic, a 23-year tradition in Greensboro. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Greensboro Youth Soccer Association where he has volunteered in numerous capacities including offering free clinics to the boys and girls of Greensboro. Furthermore, he was the recipient of the first NCYSA Media Award.
Ray Alley has worked directly with many individuals through his service to the game as a coach and administrator. But his reach has been much more expansive than that of so many of his peers because of his role as a writer and publisher. Southern Soccer Scene is the largest regional soccer publication in the United States and covers the game in NC, SC, VA, TN, GA, AL, and FL with a national following via its web site and online edition. His career in coaching provides unique access to people who have grown to trust his integrity and the quality of his work. Not only has Ray Alley performed good deeds, he has made a commitment to spread the good news about the contributions and performances of others.