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Hall of Fame Spotlight - William Letbetter (2004)


William “Bill” Letbetter’s first encounter with soccer was as part of his seventh grade, two-week P.E. class. Three years later, while taking a shortcut across the Texas A&M Campus on his way to play tennis, he stumbled upon a make-shift field, hidden from public view, where a group of International students were playing soccer. When he was about 39 years old, his eight-year-old son began playing in the Decatur-DeKalb YMCA soccer program and this is when Letbetter was sold on getting more involved.  

Like most parents, he began as a volunteer. Before he knew it, he served as an assistant coach, then head coach, and so on. In 1983, Letbetter started to become more involved as part of a Board, beginning with his time as an Age Group Commissioner. That next year, Decatur-DeKalb Y allowed participation in the newly formed GYSA Premier Division - a state program designed for inter-affiliate play at an intermediate level of competition between recreational and select play. Letbetter served as Age Group Scorekeeper and for the next three years as Premier Committee Member and Program Scheduler. Also in 1984, Metro Atlanta YMCA selected him as head coach and organizer for their U16 Boys All Star Soccer Team which accompanied Mayer Young’s YMCA International TRIAD Mission to Jamaica. The team played two International games and won the first one held in Montego Bay against the U16 Jamaican Boys’ National Team.  

In 1987, he was elected to the GYSA Board as Recreational Representative, as Vice President, and as State President for 8 years beginning in 1991. By 1988, he was a League President and held that position until 1995. In 1999, Letbetter began serving on the USSF Appeals Committee. In 2001, Bill was elected Deputy Director of Region III and was re-elected in 2003. 

The legacy of Bill’s leadership in Georgia Soccer includes: an eight-year period of record growth in leagues and players, expansion of statewide development programs, installation of able and professional management to the fall Labor Day Atlanta Cup, unwavering support for the concept of a professional State Director of Coaching Program and pursuit of the inclusive vision that the game is for players of all ages, genders and physical abilities. In 2004, he was inducted into the Georgia Soccer Hall of Fame.