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CYSO celebrates its 25th anniversary
Ceres Youth Soccer Organization celebrated its 25th anniversary last weekend.

Several thousand people attended Saturday's opening ceremony at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park, including Mayor Anthony Cannella. The main field was filled by a sea of players in different color uniforms.

"His (Cannella's) speech was very nice," CYSO president Lou Toste said. "He's very proud of this. He has a son that plays out here."

Toste has been affiliated with the youth program since the beginning. He's been president for 10 years. A United States Soccer Federation instructor for referees, Lou also officiates recreational, adult and high-school contests.

"As long as I'm alive, I'll be here," he said.

Enrollment has grown five-fold since 1983, when games were held at Caswell Elementary School. Over 1,000 boys and girls, aged 4-17, signed up to play this year.

The league is comprised of 60 teams, including 55 recreational and five competitive.

"Everything's more professional and nicer now," Toste said. "We've had so much help over the years. It (CYSO) was a small thing when we first started."

Prior to the opening of the Ceres River Bluff Regional Park's five-field soccer complex, games were held at different sites throughout the city. Families and relatives had to make their rounds between Walter White, Sam Vaughn, Mae Hensley and Blaker-Kinser.

"It's been nice," said Toste, who no longer has to make multiple trips to set up and take down goal nets. "It's more convenient."

CYSO also has one of the lowest player-registration fees in the area. Cost is $75 per participant with family discounts. That pays for uniforms, trophies and insurance.

"We're going to continue to improve this league," Toste said. "That's what I want."