In the mid-1970s, playing youth soccer for the Wellesley Pilgrims became a reasonably cheap proposition for Hal Phillips.
"My mom tells me it was 25 bucks in fees," said Phillips, who grew up in Wellesley, Mass., and now resides in Auburn, Maine. "That covered the cost of a shirt."
From those pennies on the dollar beginnings, Phillips formed part of a wave of young soccer players that gradually spread across the country. Phillips and his teammates not only played the game, they also turned into soccer fans, attending American Soccer League and NASL matches; they continued playing in college and in ethnic leagues such as the Luso American Soccer Association; then they started families, coached their own kids, brought them to MLS games.