Founding Of West Side Alliance S.C.
The West Side Alliance Soccer Club was founded in 1992 by members of the Sand Springs Soccer Club. The name "WSA", was an acronym for West Side Alliance. The original concept behind the founding of the WSA club was to build a respectable competitive soccer program in the areas "west of Tulsa", which would enhance participation by a large population of soccer players who were geographically isolated from the competitive soccer scene in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Furthermore, the concept was to merge relationships (in other words an “alliance”) between the smaller member clubs of Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Cleveland, Mannford, Skiatook, West Tulsa, and other outlying western communities who on their own could not compete with the “super” clubs emerging in the greater Tulsa metro area, and the greater Oklahoma City metro area. The Sand Springs Soccer Club was chosen as the host because of the premiere training and match facilities readily available, and its central location.
The club’s original president was Larry Fincannon, who made an effort to model the club after the now defunct, but infamous Tulsa girl’s club, Blackwatch. Club board members initially included Larry Fincannon, Kevin McAllister, and Keith Sullivan.
The club’s first year included the following teams: WSA 76 boys, WSA 79 boys, WSA 80 boys, WSA 81 boys.
By year two the club had grown to include the WSA 76 boys, WSA 79 boys, WSA 80 boys, WSA 80 girls, WSA 81 boys, WSA 83 boys, WSA 83 girls, and WSA 81 girls.
Two the club's coaches would become the eventual leaders of the WSA movement that exists today. John Rhein, coached the WSA 81 girls and the WSA 83 girls, while Roger Bush coached the WSA 80 boys and WSA 80 girls. The two would formulate plans for club sustainability.
In 1995 the WSA soccer club was operating as a loose association of teams without a firm leadership in place. The original founders of the club had stepped away and only a few teams were playing under the WSA banner. Over the course of the year in 1995, WSA coaches Roger Bush and John Rhein would begin assuming co-director roles in an effort to launch a sustainable club program for the Sand Springs area. Rhein, who coached the Lady Sandite High School team, and Bush, contemplated a name change to Sandite Soccer Club. But WSA stuck. A "club orientation letter" was drafted to outline the purpose and mission of the program and was released during the 1996 tryouts. The club badge and colors were released, and much of the club branding established decades ago, still persists today. Eventually Rhein became a coach at the then Tulsa Hurricane.
In the menatime Bush began constructing for WSA a club philosophy and direction based on the experiences of his WSA teams, the WSA 80 boys and WSA 81 girls. As those teams began enjoying success under certain guiding principles it was obvious that a formidable club could be formed despite geographic and socioeconomic obstacles the club faced.
In 1996 Roger Bush became the first “coaching director” of WSA and within two years the club added four new teams, laying the groundwork for the future of the club. In 1998 and 1999 the WSA 80 boys and WSA 81 girls teams would graduate, leaving behind a tremendous legacy, and also tremendous uncertainty about the future of the club.
By stroke of luck at the WSA 80 boys final game in the 1998 State Tournament, Gordon McAllister, the uncle to WSA 80 team captain, Graham McAllister, was on hand to watch as the boys of WSA 80 said their final good-byes and reflected on what their team experience had meant to them. Gordon, now more commonly known as Gordo, or District Judge McAllister, decided such an environment for competing in sports was exactly what he sought for his daughter. After a few arrangements were made, Gordon McAllister, helped form the WSA 87 girls squad the following year, on which his daughter Kelly competed through graduation from high school before entering the Naval Academy. On this day the club concept and philosophy of WSA was given a breath of new life because of the attitude taken by this team. A year later Gordon McAllister became the second president in WSA club history.
Frances Whitehurst, Skip Whitehurst, and Michael Butler became WSA committee members the following year. Frances served many years as WSA treasurer, Skip the WSA commissioner, and Michael the WSA Friendship Cup Tournament director. These families had daughters on the original WSA 87 girls team. Their voice, their attitude, and their vision directed WSA to the elite, regionally and nationally prominent club it is today. Most importantly their character guided WSA by the highest standards and principles which are reflected in the teaching and coaching of every youth that dawns a WSA uniform.
Shortly thereafter WSA formed the WSA 85 girls, WSA 86 girls, WSA 87 girls blue, WSA 88 girls, WSA 88 girls blue, WSA 89 girls, WSA 90 girls, WSA 91 girls, WSA 92 girls, and WSA 93 girls. WSA boys teams that formed under that generation's leadership included WSA 83, WSA 84, WSA 86, WSA 87, WSA 88, WSA 90, WSA 92, WSA 93 (WSA 85 was already formed). Over 15 new coaches have been added to the coaching staff, the WSA administrative staff has grown by more than 10 times, the WSA Executive Council was formed, the WSA Friendship Cup tournament became an annual event, and WSA players continued to graduate, many earning soccer scholarships, all since the WSA Renaissance which historically coincided with the formation of the WSA 87 girls team in 1998.
The Highway 97 Alliance Forged
In the Spring of 2009 after much deliberation and many cooperative meetings, the leadership of the Sapulpa Soccer Club and West Side Alliance S.C. forged a working relationship to establish a formalized agreement and partnership between the WSA and SSC. Sand Springs Soccer Club leadership also proved critical in the working relationship that saw three parties merge their efforts to better serve the soccer communities in the HW 97 towns of Sand Springs and Sapulpa.
The initiative to formalize the "alliance" was an enormous step in bringing to fruition much of the original vision of the founding and establishment of West Side "Alliance" S.C. Key leadership from SSC President Glenn Coffey, SSC Board member Greg Hamilton, SSSC President Jeremy Herrington, and WSA President Ken Lovelee helped put action behind the "dream".
The Next Steps
West Bank Facility July 2012 (Mohawk Facility)
A National Sweet Sixteen Team
Affiliations with OK Arsenal
Affiliations with Claremore