I have long been a believer that many a great thing can come from having a glass of wine with friends and family.
Such was the case for the formation of the Pleasanton Adult Sunday Soccer (PASS) some 50 years ago in 1971.
"We were sitting around in our living room drinking wine on a Saturday after watching our kids play," PASS founder Roy Gillette said. "We were talking about how the kids got all the fun of playing, but we weren't. It was then we decided we needed to start a team."
Initially they started with 15 people from Sunol, with only one having any soccer experience. But who were they going to play?
"There was a group in Fremont that was organized," Gillette explained. "I think we played Fremont like 10 times. At that point we thought, we need to market this."
They got a second team locally when the Pleasanton Spoilers were formed. This group featured coaches from around Pleasanton, some with plenty of soccer experience.
The local teams started to double every six months, and PASS was off and running.
"When we got to 16 teams, we had one or two teams with experienced players," Gillette said. "They were too serious. The Spoilers were always fun to play because they got what the league was about."
Gillette played for almost 20 years until he hung up his cleats.
"I played until 1990," Gillette said. "I had turned 50, and there was no over-50 league and these kids coming in were too young and fast. By the time they had an over-50 league, I was 60."
PASS has continued throughout the years as wave after wave of former youth players turn the magic age to be eligible to play.
It was five to six years ago when Ballistic United Soccer Club absorbed PASS into its fold with thought of giving their former players, as well as parents of their current players, a chance to play.
The league plays two 12-game seasons each year -- a spring season that runs March to June and a fall season from September to December. The focus is on getting players of all abilities out with the emphasis on enjoying the game and meeting new people.
Mixers are held during the offseason for two main purposes: One, being able to help new players to find a team to play on, and two, to help mix up the players from different teams to get to know each other and build up camaraderie between players.
PASS is getting between 16-20 teams each season. Currently the league has 18 teams and about 450 players.
Angela Woodward runs the league and has done a wonderful job.
Woodward said PASS has plenty of male players looking for teams, but more females are needed so new teams can be formed.
There are two divisions in PASS. Here are the parameters for playing:
1. Over-30 Division; three women over 21, with the rest over 25. Three men over 25, with the rest over 30.
2. Over-40 Division; three females over 37, three males over 37.
The new season is set to start Aug. 15 and go through Dec. 12. There will be mixers every Sunday on Field 11 at the Ken Mercer Sports Park. Anyone over 18 is eligible to play in the mixer; you just need your driver's license and fill out a waiver if you have not signed up as a "free agent" on the BUSC website. You need a white shirt and a dark shirt, and shin guards are required.
Registration in now open and everyone should register as a "free agent." If you are on a team, please notify which team in the experience level question. Visit busc.org.
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his "Pleasanton Preps" column, email [email protected]