State Mutual and the birth of the Smiley
In 1963, Ball was employed by State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts (now known as Hanover Insurance) to create a happy face to raise the morale of the employees. Ball created the design in ten minutes and was paid $45 (equivalent to $368 in 2018).
His rendition, with a bright yellow background, dark oval eyes, full smile, and creases at the sides of the mouth, was imprinted on more than fifty million buttons and became familiar around the world. The design is so simple that it is certain that similar versions were produced before 1963, however, Ball’s rendition, as described here, has become the most iconic version.
What does the “Smile” mean to Worcester Smiles FC?
When we adopted the smile symbol for our nonprofit organization the Worcester Smiles FC in 2018, we considered the history of Worcester and of the “Smiley” and its impact on the Worcester, Massachusetts community. In doing so, we put ourselves on a path to make a statement supporting women’s soccer. We wanted to transform the vision of women’s soccer from simply playing the game to something more inspirational and respectful for the players. In doing so, we hope to create a new set of female role models in our communities. This is done with great sportsmanship, including fairness, integrity, responsibility, and respect. These elements provide everything required to create the next generation of role models.
In the 1960s, the United States of America was going through challenges with the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Around 1963 Smiley Campaign made a modest attempt to improve the low morale felt by so many. Today, the “smiley” symbol continues to inspire, and for Worcester Smiles FC, it is meant to help raise awareness and continue the good morale of putting a smile on the women of soccer. Ultimately, we hope that kids and adults of all ages will embrace it. Consequently, I am asking all to join and be part of the female soccer movement by supporting The Worcester Smiles FC today.
Worcester Smiles FC Time Line
2018: The Camp Italia Retreat (CIR), a 501(c)(3), partnered with the United Women Soccer League 1 to play in the North East Conference through an agreement. The Smiles FC travels to various Northeastern States with Head Coach Anthony Cosky, an experienced Becker Jr. College coach. Home games are played in multiple locations, including Worcester State College, Worcester Poly Tech Institute, and the historical Foley Stadium which accommodates approximately 4,000 fans.
2019: In the 2nd year, the team added a new Head Coach (Darman) and used Foley Stadium as the home field for the entire season.
2020: We began our 3rd year with Head Coach J.P. Galicia. Galicia joined us with a full support staff and was excited to bring the Smiles FC organization into a winning season. However, due to COVID-19, UWS did not have a regular season. So we dedicated much of 2020 to recruiting.
2021: The Smiles FC League played out it season within the Covid 19 rules. It was an exciting season with the new implementation of the reserve team playing in UWS League 2 with matches strictly in the New England region. The high light of the season was when Coach JP Glacia led the team to a victory of the Long Island Rough Riders. Smiles FC player Lana Golob, whom also played on the Slovenia Womens National Team, was instrumental in the victory. After the season, Lana Golob signed to play internationally with S.S.D. Napoli Femminile 2022.
2022: The Smiles FC is excited to announce, for the first time in it’s history, a female head coach. Coach Fiona Julia Walsh will be heading up the teams with a philosophy of having all the players consider as one team. Players will be assigned each week during the season to a team to keep the rosters fresh and competitive. Coach Walsh is looking to attract new players and continue to build a strong, skilled group of women that leads to a winning season.