Because of his passion for soccer, Albert Odenbach dedicated most of his adult life to the development of soccer in Western New York.
Growing up in Germany, Albert embraced the sport of soccer since the age of 6. When he came to the United States in 1949, soccer was being played on an informal basis and Albert came to realize the need for organized clubs and leagues in the Western New York area.
In the 1950’s, Albert was instrumental in forming Club Germania and a district league for adults. In the 1960’s, Albert saw the need for youth leagues and was integral in establishing the Buffalo and Western New York Junior Soccer League. It began with four teams and has currently grown to more than 200 travel teams in the Western New York area. Albert had a positive impact on the youth soccer population and expanded the Buffalo and Western New York Junior Soccer League to include girls teams at all age levels.
From 1959-1971, Albert Odenbach served as President of the Buffalo and District Soccer League and was Vice President of the Junior League for 22 years. He served as Secretary for Club Germania for 49 years.
Albert helped found the referee unit to provide trained referees for the leagues. He also worked many local and regional tournaments in a tireless fashion. In 1993, he served as an assessor for the referees from around the world during the World University Games in Buffalo and his evaluations were used by FIFA to determine the progress of game officials at the international level. This was a highlight of his career in soccer.
Albert served as President of the Federation of German-American Society of Buffalo and Vicinity for 30 years and was named German-American of the Year in 1993. In 1994, Albert was a finalist to represent Germany as a Mastercard "Ambassador of Soccer" for the 1994 World Cup.
Albert passed away on April 10, 2000. He is survived by his wife Ann, daughter Linda and son Robert, as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren. His booming voice, distinctive accent and his passion for soccer are greatly missed. The Buffalo and Western New York Junior Soccer League has dedicated a soccer tournament in Albert’s name called the Odenbach Cup to keep his passion of soccer alive.
Albert Odenbach will be remembered as an extraordinary individual who gave a positive contribution of unparalleled growth and achievement for the game of soccer.