In the loving Memory & Spirit of the Game
Enjoy, your journey here on...
-= The Tributes of KEN ASTON MBE #04 =-
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James Schauer Comments

Fred F. Gregory Comments

Michael Karlin Comments

Jeff Stern Comments

-----Original Message-----

From: AYSO Soccer List On Behalf Of James Schauer
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 10:16 AM

Subject: [AYSO-L] Ken Aston

I first met Ken at the referee camp in 1983. I was impressed with his knowledge and humor.

I met him again at the referee instructor camp in 1988. I was again impressed with his knowledge and his approach to the game and the role of
the referee.

In 1990 Ken and Hilda came to Tucson to teach a referee and instructor camp. At that time I was far enough along in my professional officiating
career to be curious as to why Ken had risked so much to associate himself with AYSO. For those who don't know, at the time Ken started working with AYSO, we were not affiliated with USSF and were considered a renegade soccer organization.

Ken had placed his standing in FIFA and his personal reputation on the line when he chose to affiliate himself with AYSO.

He said that he had been all over the world and had seen soccer, youth and adult, in virtually every country in which it was played. AYSO, in his
judgment, provided the environment that most closely matched the reason that soccer was instituted in the English schools. AYSO provided an
environment that developed successful adults through positive instructionand reinforcement of the positive values of sport and life.

AYSO was "soccer for life".

As soon as he realized what AYSO was, there was no power on earth that Could stop him from doing everything in he could to help AYSO grow and develop. He said he felt the same sense of commitment and destiny that he had felt as an officer in the English Army during the war. Here indeed was something worth committing his intellect and passion to. Of course, he noted, that he had cleared it with Hilda before he acted. Her comment was something to the effect that he better get to it, and she was coming along.

Every AYSO referee carries a bit of Ken's wit and wisdom. It is part and parcel of the referee development program and all our clinics. In 1983 he stressed that presence lends conviction and that referees must strive to influence without interfering. Later, his comment that there were four teams on an AYSO field (the two teams of players, the referee team and all the parents (including coaches and referees)) became the AYSO Team concept.

"A life spent worthily should be measured by a nobler line, by deeds, not years."


Jim Schauer

-----Original Message-----

From: AYSO Soccer List On Behalf Of Fred F.Gregory
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 5:51 PM

Subject: [AYSO-L] Ken Aston

Ken was a prince, he was a true friend of AYSO and held our organization dear to his heart. He is the foundation for the strength of character in
our referee program. Those of us fortunate enough to have been trained by him, or even to have encountered him briefly, will forever recall his
wonderful way of teaching us how to approach a game with respect for all, to honor the game and its participants and to be as invisible as we can possibly be so the game can be played with enthusiasm within the rules meant to govern it.

And, one lesson he drilled into many of us: Don't Card Kids.

The more I referee, the more meaning that admonition has for me. We all mourn his death but through his many years of effort, his philosophy will be ingrained forever in AYSO.

Fred Gregory

-----Original Message-----

From: AYSO Soccer List On Behalf Of Michael Karlin
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 11:25 PM

Subject: [AYSO-L] Ken Aston

I first met Ken Aston in 1996 when taking the course for upgrade to a Section badge. He was already over 80 but spry, full of wit and wisdom,
The great raconteur everyone remembers and he spoke a lot more fondly of Goodstein, the Israeli American assistant referee at the Battle of
Santiago, than the London Times obituary would suggest.

One week before, I had taken a Beverly Hills GU12 team to the National Games at Kalamazoo. It was a memorable experience for me and my team, the story of which is recounted at:

But for many who attended the opening ceremony, a memorable moment was provided by Ken, who opened the proceedings by "showing the red card" to bad sportsmanship. And indeed the AYSO National Games consistently validate Ken's commitment to AYSO and youth soccer in America, which he did so much to develop.

I think I have to retell, in what can only be a pale and distant Reflection of Ken's inimitable style, my favorite story that I heard at the camp. Ken always preached the importance of the spirit of the game.

He told how, many years ago, a goalkeeper flying to one side plucked a thunderous shot out of the air and proceeded to collide with the goalpost. He crumpled with the ball firmly in his grasp and lay, unconscious, on the ground. The referee blew his whistle to stop play. Out came the trainer with smelling salts and revived the keeper, who could not be replaced because there were no substitutes allowed in those days.

What was to be the restart?

The referee not having stopped play for a foul, the restart was a drop ball. And where? The ball was to be dropped not on the six yard line as it
would be under today's rules but where the ball was when the whistle blew, i.e., right on the goal line. The convention had not then developed of one team ceding uncontested possession to the other team in such circumstances. Thus the keeper's reward for his bravery and skill was a
ery dangerous drop ball. The goalkeeper and an opposing forward stood on the line. The referee dropped the ball between them and instantly blew his whistle. "Dangerous play", he cried, awarding the ball and an indirect free kick to the defending team. "The spirit of the game," Ken said, "the spirit of the game."

Hail and farewell, Ken, and thank you for the inspiration you gave to a transplanted Englishman who has seen on both sides of the pond how much good work and good feeling you gave to so many.

Michael Karlin


AYSO Region 76

-----Original Message-----

From: AYSO Soccer List On Behalf Of Jeff Stern
Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2001 8:17 AM

Subject: Re: [AYSO-L] Ken Aston

He was used to refereeing relatively calm games in England until the 1962 World Cup in Chile. The trouble there began when the local media claimed That Italian journalists had written articles which questioned the beauty and morals of Chilean women. Aston, who had taken charge of the opening game, Ken told a story that I believe was about the opening game of the infamous World Cup mentioned above.

The person who was supposed to secure the game ball and bring it to Ken had not done so. The result was that immediately prior to the opening game of the World Cup, Ken and his linesmen had to go around the stadium and scrounge up a suitable ball.

I can still picture Ken as he described this. Bent over with his hands out begging "Please, can we have a ball so we can start the World Cup."

Jeff Stern

We welcome any photo's or stories of Ken Aston you would like to share here in this section of the website
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