RYSA Board Announces Investment of $5 million from New Ownership East Atlanta Dutch Lions
Founded in 1972, RYSA (Rockdale Youth Soccer Association) has had a long and storied history of bringing soccer to children and adults alike in Rockdale County. Although an important part of the fabric of the entire community, in recent years RYSA’s membership dwindled considerably. Enter Patrick Vierhout, devoted lifelong soccer fan and owner of the East Atlanta Dutch Lions. (The RYSA Dutch Lions will be the rec team.) Through his relationship with RYSA providing the players’ with affordable uniforms from his company Sportiff USA, LLC, Vierhout witnessed firsthand the many needs the association had including increasing the membership numbers, improving the fields and buildings, providing new equipment and offering professional level training, all to benefit the youth athletes. “We are committed to providing the children of Conyers with the best soccer experience possible. This $5 million investment puts RYSA on a stronger path and we are very excited to see the overall impact it will have on our community,” said new CEO Vierhout.
The agreement for the acquisition was supported by the RYSA Board who will have its existing debt retired giving the balance sheet a brand-new start. Additionally, RYSA will become part of the Dutch Lions and their globally recognized standard of play, offering players with the talent, ambition, and desire a pathway to professional soccer. "50 years ago, the Gross Brothers deeded the land for the children and families of Conyers and Rockdale County to use for soccer,” said RYSA board member Richard Saturday. "Working with the Dutch Lions gives us the opportunity to honor that legacy while building for future generations.”
In addition to the investment in the overall infrastructure, coaches and trainers with international professional soccer experience will be hired to run clinics for players of all skill levels. These professionals present opportunities for both the players and existing RYSA coaches to grow their skills for future consideration.
Construction on the fields and buildings will commence as soon as practical following the current season. "I've been playing on RYSA fields since I was 5 and working here since I was 15", said Kelly Shirah, Facility Director for RYSA. "Honestly, we've been struggling to make the investments needed. With this agreement, the facility will be second to none in the region."
RYSA is a non-profit soccer organization dedicated to providing children in the Conyers community with the opportunity to play soccer in a safe and enjoyable environment. We strive to provide the best soccer experience possible and are committed to improving the lives of our players through the sport of soccer.
About the Dutch Lions
The Dutch Lions FC programs strive to enhance the growth of young men and women both on and off the pitch. On the pitch through their tactical, technical and physical development using mostly Dutch UEFA licensed coaches and training methods, the use of video analysis and top facilities. Off the pitch through being in a professional environment, from the season program to nutrition, work ethic and contributing to a team performance.