Foy Mainor started playing soccer with the then two-year-old Rockdale Youth Soccer Association in 1974 at a time when fields needed to be mowed by parents before kids could play, and there was no centralized mega complex, let alone professional academy coaches to lead the way or semiprofessional home-team players to root for.
Thirty eight years later, Mainor is still volunteering his extra time with the organization and has seen RYSA grow in leaps and bounds from every angle possible.
After playing at RYSA through his teenage years before entering Rockdale High School, Mainor left the area for college and life in Gwinnett County, where he coached soccer in the early 1990s. He returned to Rockdale after getting married, and in 2000, returned to coaching and RYSA when his oldest son, now-16-year-old Harrison, began playing.
As Mainor became involved in Rockdale youth soccer once again, he volunteered more and more at RYSA, to the point where he is currently in his second term as the club's president.
"I've pretty much done it all," Mainor said. "I never thought I would be president at RYSA, and I can't say that was ever a goal. I think it was a natural progression of being involved in the community and being involved with my kids. It grew to the point where once you've been there long enough and held those other positions, you have something to add to that level."
Before he became a super dediated volunteer, Mainor's parents decided they wanted their sons to get out of the house and get some exercise. The two Mainor boys were signed up for the still new soccer club, which had fields at Gross Lake and Surrey Trail.
"Just like any other kid, my parents wanted us to do something active from a sports standpoint," Mainor said. "They put us into soccer and my brother and I played that all growing up and we never did any of the other sports."
However, soccer and RYSA would become more to Mainor than just an active hobby. It became a springboard into a life of community service that has helped propel the club into what it is today, playing soccer in one of the area's finest soccer complexes.
He started coaching each of his three sons, Harrison, Greyson and Garrett, and volunteered with committee and board positions. From there, he became recreation director and indoor commissioner, along with serving on the board in the treasurer and vice president roles.
After RYSA expanded and joined the National Premier Soccer League in the Georgia Revolution's first year, Mainor was elected RYSA's president.
He helped the club grow its player base and build a new concession stand, locker rooms and league offices throughout the last two years, helping the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce cut a ribbon on the new facilities recently.
"We've got major renovations to the facilities where we've added locker rooms and we've added new office space that includes administrative offices as well as a board room and opened a new concession," Mainor said. "I'm not saying I'm directly responsible, but it happened since I've been there. We continue to grow and support our youth and recreation program."
The league has grown so much that players' fathers no longer need to arrive at various fields around the county early to mow the grass, but bring their sons and daughters to the RYSA Soccerplex where many others such as Mainor now donate their time in supporting and administrative roles. Along with his day job, or as the RYSA volunteers call it, the ‘pay job' as director of sales at Paramount Technologies, Mainor also volunteers with each of his sons' teams as a team manager.
Like Mainor and the fathers of the 1974 youth soccer teams, volunteers still lead the way at RYSA and other clubs throughout the country.
"RYSA can't run without volunteers, we have very few paid staff, and we would not be able to do what we do, whether it be on the field, coaching players or registering players, without volunteers," Mainor said. "I think that's very similar to what we saw when RYSA first started - volunteers giving their time to make it successful both when it started out and today."