AYSO And Its Mission
The American Youth Soccer Organization develops and delivers quality youth soccer programs which promote a fun, family environment based on our six philosophies:
Everyone Plays® – Our goal is for kids to play soccer – so we mandate that every player on every team must play at least half of every game.
Balanced Teams – We require every region at the start of each season to set up teams as evenly balanced as possible. It’s more fun when teams are of equal ability.
Positive Coaching – This builds a positive team spirit. We train and encourage our coaches to make the extra effort to understand and offer positive help to our players, rather than negative criticism.
Open Registration – Our programs are open to all children ages 4 – 18 who want to register and play soccer. Interest and enthusiasm are the only requirements for playing.
Good Sportsmanship – We create a positive environment based on mutual respect, rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude. All of our programs are designed to instill good sportsmanship in every facet of AYSO.
Player Development – We believe that all players should be able to develop their soccer skills and knowledge to the best of their abilities, both individually and as members of a team, in order to maximize their enjoyment of the game.
Everyone Helps Out
AYSO is a volunteer organization with more than 250,000 parents and friends, many of them working as coaches, referees and administrators. It’s not unusual to find two, three or more children in the same family playing AYSO soccer – while Dad serves as referee and Mom as coach. It can be a total family experience! The Growth of AYSO
AYSO was founded in 1964 in Torrance, Calif. with about 125 players. Today that number has grown to more than 625,000 nationwide.
Why AYSO Works
AYSO works because our volunteers work. The volunteers work because they believe in the AYSO philosophies. Our phenomenal growth underscores AYSO’s commitment to a healthy competitive atmosphere for youth soccer players, combined with dedication toward the development of responsible individuals.
What Makes AYSO Tick. AYSO was founded on community involvement. Volunteer staff members are encouraged to organize in ways best suited to their needs. The foundation of AYSO is the “Region”, or basic community program. Each Region is headed by a Regional Commissioner who, with the help of a regional board, conducts business within the framework of AYSO’s philosophies, Rules and Regulations and Bylaws. Depending on its stage of development, a Region may have as few as 200 players or as many as 5,000, grouped into boys and girls divisions based on age.
Several bordering regions compose an “Area”. Each Area is headed by an Area Director who is responsible for performance and growth of the Area.
Area Directors report to Section Directors, who are responsible for the general welfare and administration of a “Section.” A Section may cover a portion of a state, an entire state, or several states.
A National Board of Directors governs the overall AYSO organization. Regional Commissioners, Area and Section Directors, along with the National Board Members, serve as executive members with voting rights.
The staff at AYSO’s national headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. works closely with these volunteer executive members and interfaces directly with each Region. The headquarters, called the National Support and Training Center or NSTC, provides many services: computerized registration; publications; liability and accident insurance; training for coaches, referees and administrators, and more.
Safe Haven™ is a program designed to address a growing need for child and volunteer protection.
There are four elements in the Safe Haven™ intervention cycle. These are intended to stop child abuse and its agents before they get into the program
- Create Policies
- Screen Volunteers
- Train Volunteers
- Promote Education and Awareness
- Volunteer Protection Act of 1997
This law grants immunity form certain types of prosecution for volunteers who meet its requirements. In order to receive full protection under the law, AYSO volunteers need three things.
AYSO’s goal is to provide certification training for all its volunteers. Certification offers the hope that every AYSO child will be treated with understanding, compassion, and respect.
What’s a Region?
Whether you are a veteran AYSO volunteer or you’re new at this soccer business, you may be wondering just what is this thing called an AYSO Region and how it works.
Your AYSO Region is one of more than 900 local programs in communities nationwide. Each AYSO Region is the same, yet different.
That means AYSO Bylaws and Rules and Regulations standardize operational procedures and playing rules. But because community needs and characteristics may be different, Regions have flexibility to satisfy their unique needs.
Your Region is identified by its own number. It is managed by parents just like yourself. In fact, you may be one of those dedicated volunteers working to ensure the program is run effectively and AYSO philosophies are upheld.
Your Regional Commissioner and Regional Board of Directors will usually meet once a month during the season and perhaps more often for pre-season planning. You are welcome to attend any of these meetings.
Many Regions give out a Regional Handbook at registration, with their policies fully defined. The Handbook may cover everything from rainy-day procedures, practice routines and important telephone numbers to lost-and-found information. Read it and keep it handy.
Get to know your child’s soccer coach and other parents. Volunteer your time, skills and energies to make your AYSO Region run well. This way, both your child and you benefit from the AYSO experience.
Here’s what you can expect from your Region:
- A fun soccer experience for your child during games and practices.
- Coaches and referees who understand the AYSO philosophies and support them.
- Technical training for coaches and referees.
- Caring volunteers to manage the “business” of the Region.
- A national organization for support and guidance.
- Fiscal responsibility via a financial statement, published yearly.