Albuquerque United Football Club began operations in the fall of 1988 with 8 teams, 7 boys and 1 girls’ team. Today the Club consists of over 30 teams between U9 – U19, along with our developmental program, the Youth Development Academy, from U5-U8. AUFC is recognized as one of the top clubs in the Western United States and is affiliated with the Portland Timbers (MLS) and Portland Thorns (NWSL). How does the Club achieve such broad-based success? Through great commitment from players, parents, coaches, volunteers and a consistent, sound approach to player development.
Albuquerque United Football Club was the brainchild of four individuals; Jay Grimley, Steve Cheshire, Bill Dodge and Larry Azevedo. Ideas were first discussed as early as 1985. During the summer of 1985, Leuan Gruffydd came to Albuquerque under the UMBRO coaching program and held team clinics for several teams in Duke City. Leuan was, at that time, a school teacher from North Wales. He coached within the Welsh national program for many years. Jay, Bill, Steve and Larry got to know Leuan and they continued to arrange summer clinics for their teams over the next several years.
In the summer of 1987, while Larry was in Wales attending a coaching course, Leuan was asked if he would be interested in becoming the Director of Coaching of a new soccer club in Albuquerque. This Club would be for youth ages 9 to 19. Leuan agreed and the board of directors started to organize the club. In the spring of 1988 several coaches expressed interest in coaching in AUFC and tryouts were held in June 1988.
Bill Dodge was the club”s first President. He was responsible for the administrative details of starting a non-profit organization and getting all the paperwork in order. Steve focused on the financial details. Jay and Larry concentrated on coaching needs and development in the club.
Jay, Bill, and Steve have moved on to other pursuits in life. Unfortunately, Leuan passed away several years ago. We will eternally thank them for their selfless efforts in establishing and nurturing AUFC. Larry remains active in AUFC as a Coach.
In more recent years the club has taken on a more European approach within the administration and soccer style. This was influenced by Manni Klar coming on board as the Sport Director in 2012. He has been instrumental in helping the club stay competitive in the Western Region and bringing the German style of soccer to AUFC. He is credited for creating our age-group based curriculum that focuses on developing players within the spectrum of a team, and our relationship with the German Club Borussia Mönchengladbach.