Cathleen Knauf has been elected president of the Capital District Youth Soccer League.

Knauf is the first woman to be elected president of the the CDYSL, which was founded in 1976.

“My goal as CDYSL president is to ensure every player, every coach and every club is afforded the same opportunities throughout the whole league,” she said. “I want CDYSL to be fair, equitable, inclusive and to be moving forward.

“I would like our member clubs to be proud to be part of CDYSL and see that our main mission is not about who has the bigger club or best programs but who is living up to our mission and providing every program and every opportunity possible for our youth to grow, develop and love the game of soccer. I want to harness the talents and rely on the support of the amazing people on our executive committee, in our league office and within our member clubs.”

Like many adults, Knauf became involved in soccer when her kids began playing. Her twins, Mckale and Nicolette who are now attending college, started playing recreation soccer with the Rotterdam United Soccer Club and then travel soccer. Knauf has been married for 24 years and her oldest daughter is Alison.

“I became more involved when an opportunity was given us to allow them to play travel when we wouldn’t have been able to afford that opportunity,” she said. “Honored and humbled, I engrossed myself in the backstage of soccer.”


Cathleen Knauf

The Schenectady, N.UY. resident took on roles as team manager for several age groups, board member, registrar, trainer and liaison for team managers and CDYSL representative. She had been on the advisory board for Firestorm FC for the past three years.

“After going to the CDYSL meetings for several years, I realized for the smaller clubs to be heard, I needed to step up and play a role on the CDYSL board and was elected secretary four years ago,” Knauf said. “Since that time, I have worked to support players, coaches, referees and those fighting to protect our mission by being an advocate for fair treatment of all members and for change. I became president after clubs reached out to me.”

Knauf works as an executive secretary for a superintendent’s office, working part-time at Stewart’s Shops as well as attending Empire State College fulltime as she completes her Human Resources Bachelor’s Degree.

“To say I am busy is probably an understatement but I have always juggled many roles,” she said. “I believe each role has given me more knowledge to handle all sorts of situations as they arise and to get to know people from all walks of life.”

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at