It is with sadness that we announce that Gene O'Brien, a Georgia Soccer Hall of Famer and a treasured members of the Georgia Soccer community, has passed away. Please join us in honoring the life of a wonderful man and an important figure in the history of soccer in Georgia.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Roswell Funeral Home
950 Mansell Road
Roswell, GA 30076
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Saint Andrew Catholic Church
675 Riverside Drive
Roswell, GA 30075
Friday, March 27, 2015
Georgia National Cemetery
Eugene “Gene” O’Brien, Sr.
Hall of Fame Inductee- January 1991
Gene O'Brien is one of the dedicated soccer pioneers who introduced youth soccer to Georgia in the late 1960s. During these years, Gene also played actively on an Atlanta District Amateur Soccer League team, the "Hibernians". His love of the game lead him to join with other early pioneers in developing opportunities for youth players to be able to experience the joys of the game where it did not exist before.
Gene started coaching youth soccer for the YMCA in 1967, and in 1970 became active with DeKalb Youth Soccer Association (DYSA), a fledgling youth soccer league in South DeKalb County. Using his knowledge of the game learned during his first twenty years in Ireland, Gene coached youth teams and simultaneously held numerous administrative positions with DYSA, including that of Commissioner. During his tenure with DYSA, he saw that youth league grow from its modest beginning of 44 players to one of the most respected and successful leagues in those formative years of youth soccer in Georgia. Gene was particularly instrumental in expanding the operations of DYSA to serve the youth soccer players in the Stone Mountain area, thereby introducing countless more young players and families to the sport.
Gene has held a number of state-level positions, serving as Vice Chairman of the Georgia State Soccer Association at a time when the State Association was vigorously expanding. During all this time Gene continued to coach youth soccer teams and to inspire and develop many players as well as other adult volunteers to serve youth soccer programs.
As youth soccer continued to grow, Gene recognized the need for an advanced youth program to help develop its more committed and motivated players. In 1979, with the help and encouragement of five other similarly minded youth coaches, Gene drafted the very first By-Laws of the GYSA Classic Division. That program still exists, and is still successful in continually providing a competitive development program for youth player training and development.
In the years following the formation of the GYSA Classic Division, seven of the teams Gene coached competed in the United State Youth Soccer Association Regional Tournaments, garnering four medals, including a coveted Gold Medal won by Gene's unbeaten U-14 "Liverpool Reds" team in the 1984 Tournament in Tampa, Florida. In the mid-1980s, Gene prevailed on Prime Cable Television to televise a weekly boy's and girl's high school soccer game, and for seven years Gene served as the play-by-play announcer for the televised series of games. For his outstanding service to Georgia Youth Soccer, Gene was awarded the “GYSA Service Award”.
Though Gene ended his active youth soccer coaching career in 1989 with a U-8 boy's team, he still continues to serve the advancement of soccer in Georgia whenever and wherever called upon.
Gene and his wife, Frankie, residents of Roswell, Georgia, have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. Son, Gene Jr. was an all state GHSA selection, a participant in US National Team tryouts and played for the Datagraphics Soccer Club. Daughter, Debra was also an all state GHSA selection.