In 1972, a small group of soccer visionaries, organized the New Mexico Soccer and Athletic Association, the precursor to the New Mexico Youth Soccer Association (NMYSA) which administrates youth soccer in New Mexico for the United States Soccer Federation. The founding members of the organization started with less than ten teams.
In 1978, the coaches of those original teams and other American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO) teams in area, came together to form the first league of the fledgling NMYSA, which they called the Duke City Soccer League (DCSL). The league started its first year of operations with 30 teams. Some of these visionaries included Bill & Kathy Herman, Elmer Volzer, Mike Markusfeld, Gaylord Sheppard, and Butch Serls. Kathy Herman would become the league's first president. Gaylord Sheppard became the third president of the league in 1982, with the league growing to about 100 teams.
Gaylord Sheppard was a youth soccer visionary, who, believed in the concept that all players needed a place to play, learn, and excel, regard less of their ability. The idea of seeding teams into various levels, advanced, intermediate, and developmental was started at the league level under his leadership. He also founded the Classic Football Club, a club organization which still exists today, and who have incoropated Gaylord's concept as the primary objective in their mission statement. Gaylord came to Albuquerque, retiring from a civil service career and introduced his two grandchildren to youth soccer one of whom (Cissy), went on to coach the Sandia HS girl's varisty soccer program. On of the legacies of Gaylord's leadership was the decision by a subsequent board of directors, spearheaded by Jay Grimley, to establish an end of the fall season tournament, so that players could test themselves against all levels of players within the league. In addition, the tournament was designed to prepare teams for out of state travel, primarily at that time to the Tempe (Arizona) Thanksgiving Tournament. The tournament started in 1985 with a format which paired teams against those ensuing years, Gaylord continued to grow the Classic FC into a misture of comptitive intermediate and developmental teams, recruiting Ricardo Beraun and Jorge Beraun as coaches, who continue in his legacy, to present time as administrators for the club. Gaylord became ill and passed away in 1990. The DCSL decided as a memorial to Gaylord's many accomplishments to youth soccer and the Duke City Soccer League, to name the end of the fall season tournament in his name and to continue both the format and the concept that he sought to engender within the soccer community. The tournament still employs the same concept that Gaylord believed in, and now has been expanded to include regional and New Mexico teams, AYSO teams, and the approximately 125 teams of the DSCL.