The Mersey Soccer Club was founded in 1985 by a small group of Berkeley parents and coaching director Bill O'Donnell.
The parents were concerned about finding the best way of getting their kids started in the worlds most popular team sport Association Football (acronym SOCCER)
The parents had had mixed luck with the conventional coaching model of finding a volunteer parent. They decided on a more scientific approach and decided to find a way to recruit knowlegeable dedicated teachers who would be excellent with kids .To this end they sought out someone with a professional background
Led by Julie Natchwey the parents contacted Bill O'Donnell. He had recently finished up as the head of the boy's physical education department in a High School in Liverpool England. The area was a known hotbed of soccer and the school teams had enjoyed considerable success under Bills influence.
Two years after their first meeting in 1983 Bill and Julie founded the Mersey Soccer Club. Bill accepted the role of director of coaching. Over the next three decades the Mersey Club has formed many successful teams that have traveled throughout the Bay Area. In recognition of the English influence on the formation of the club the Mersey name was taken from the river Mersey and the concept of the Golden Vision was adopted for the skilful way we like our players to perform.
Since its inception, Mersey Soccer Club has used King Field on Hopkins St. in Berkeley as its center of operations. Most practices are held there and it is the home field for the older aged teams on game day.
The Mersey river is about 70 miles long and begins in another famous city of England's north, Manchester, before flowing into Liverpool Bay. The river has given its name to the area known as Merseyside. Alas, not everything is as it once was and the Mersey, during its journey to the sea today, becomes, in part, the Manchester River Canal. By the time the Mersey reaches the sea, the Irish Sea, it has changed course and width a number of times. What it doesn't lack, however, is history.
Along this long stretch of the River Mersey, England, lie the homes of four of the English Premiere League’s top soccer programs; Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.
During the 1960’s, Alex Young played for Everton, across Stanley Park from Liverpool FC. The Everton FC website writes:
“He stroked the ball, rather than kicked it. He glided across even the heaviest of surfaces, shimmying and tricking his way past clogging defenders before effortlessly floating shots past baffled goalkeepers.”
For his remarkable ability to move with the ball and find the back of the net, Alex Young earned the nicknameThe Golden Vision. It is from this hotbed of English soccer that the Mersey Soccer Club derives its name and desire to produce players that have that Golden Vision.
The Larger Organization
Mersey Soccer Club is one of five clubs in the Alameda Contra Costa Youth Soccer League (ACCYSL). Our league, which has over 2,600 players, is in District 4 of the California Youth Soccer Association (CYSA). District 4 comprises of 15 leagues and has approximately 25,000 players, while the CYSA has approximately 12,000 teams and in excess of 200,000 players!
Europes top striker Fernado Torres meets his match against former Mersey player Danny O'Donnell
Serving Albany and Berkeley communities since 1985