A Tribute To Teri Barton – by Tim Nash, former GUSA and current NC Fusion coach
Teri Barton started like so many other adults involved in youth soccer. Her kids were playing so she volunteered. Then she stayed for 30 years.
For 30 years, Teri did the books and the payroll, organized tournament hotels, ran the office, coordinated the operation of Greensboro Youth Soccer’s tournament series, and so much more.
Teri was one of those behind-the-scenes-forces who are invaluable to an organization. Without her, it’s doubtful that Greensboro soccer is what it is today.
Teri passed away on New Year’s Eve in Huntersville, N.C., where she was living with her husband, her kids and her grandchildren. She was 76.
She was among the group of parents who started GYS at a kitchen table. They had no office, no teams, no coaches and no fields. She built lasting relationships with local hoteliers, businesses, city leaders and, of course, volunteers. The association grew quickly, becoming one of the largest and most-respected clubs in North Carolina.
“What few people realized is how many people she recruited to be coaches,” said Demp Bradford executive director at GYS from 1998-2004. “There are rarely enough parents who wanted to be coaches, and Teri always talked people into it. She would provide them with resources and mentors, and a lot of them end up coaching for several years.”
Much of the credit for the growth of the GYS recreation program, according to Bradford, goes to Teri. The program had well over 4,000 kids playing in the 1990s and early 2000s.
“I don’t think the organization would have thrived without Teri,” he said. “Making soccer about family and relationships was very important to her. She loved seeing the kids running around and smiling.
“She was really one of a kind.”
The club grew from Greensboro Youth Soccer to Greensboro United Soccer Association when GYS merged with Guilford United. Then a merger with Twin City Soccer Association formed today’s North Carolina Fusion. Through it all, the relationships Teri had built and the amount of knowledge she provided, proved invaluable.
“She had all the answers or at least knew where to get them,” said Tim Nash, who worked with Teri for eight years. “She was a wealth of information. She also had an incredible amount of energy, and she was very passionate about the organization.”
Starting with the kitchen table and moving onto a small office on Lindsay St., in Greensboro, to the state-of-the-art complex at Bryan Park, Teri worked under six executive directors and countless directors of coaching. Officially, she was the assistant director, but Bradford had a more fitting title for her.
“She really was the director behind the director,” he said.
Memorials may be made to Boys Town, 200 Flanagan Blvd, PO Box 6000, Boys Town, NE 68010-9988 or a charity of your choice.