Lansdowne native Betty D'Anjolell was inducted into the D.C. United Hall of Tradition after serving as the first ever female vice president in MLS history. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is honoring D'Anjolell, who passed away in 2012, by renaming the Under-15 Girls State Cup trophy the Betty D'Anjolell Cup.
Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer has announced that the Under-15 Girls Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup trophy will be named in honor of Betty D’Anjolell. A Lansdowne native, D’Anjolell was a key figure in establishing women’s soccer both in Pennsylvania and the United States as a whole. She is considered one of the founding mothers of the U.S. Women’s national Team.
The first Betty D’Anjolell Cup will be awarded on Saturday, May 19, as part of the state cup finals at United Sports Training Center in Downingtown.
“Betty D’Anjolell did great things for the U.S. Women’s National Team and Major League Soccer, but she always focused her efforts on growing the game in Eastern Pennsylvania,” said Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer CEO Chris Branscome. “We are proud to honor her with the Under-15 Girls State Cup trophy as a way to share her story with a younger generation that has benefited so much from Betty’s contributions to the sport.”
D’Anjolell’s path in soccer started when her daughter Michele asked to play as a young girl. There was little to no girls’ soccer at the time, so D’Anjolell opened opportunities. She began as a coach and later became president of the Lansdowne Girls Club and took a on a leadership role with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer.
In the early 1980’s, D’Anjolell worked with eventual U.S. Olympic Committee president Marty Mankameyer and U.S. Youth Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Mavis Derflinger to get women’s soccer accepted by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The U.S. Women’s National Team played its first match in 1985 and six years later won the inaugural Women’s World Cup.
During this time, D’Anjolell served as the national chairperson of the U.S. Youth Soccer Girls Olympic Development Program and worked for Soccer USA Partners, the marketing arm of U.S. Soccer at the time.
In 1995, D’Anjolell became the first female vice president in the history of MLS, when she joined D.C. United as vice president of operations, a role she held until 1998. She was named MLS Executive of the Year in 1997 as D.C. United won its second consecutive MLS Cup.
D’Anjolell is a member of the D.C. United Hall of Tradition, the Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Association Hall of Fame and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame. She passed away in 2012. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer honors its club of the year with the D’Anjolell Award, named for Betty and her husband Ron.
“It’s awesome. We’re ecstatic anytime someone honors her,” said Michele D’Anjolell. “She did it all for love of the sport. Even on my teams, she picked everyone up. It was like she drove the team bus. She was the first soccer mom of America.”