What is AYSO?

AYSO Mission Statement

To develop and deliver quality youth soccer programs which promote a fun, family environment based on our philosophies:

The mission is accomplished by providing these essential services:

  • Quality education programs (coaching, instruction, management, and officiating)
  • Quality administrative and operational systems with a support network
  • Integrated volunteer network, supported by a national staff
  • Program research and development
  • Strong financial position

National Policy Statement 2010

Brief History of AYSO

The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) was established in the Los Angeles area in 1964 with nine teams. It was the dream of a group of devoted soccer enthusiasts who started the organization in a garage. Today, AYSO has more than 50,000 teams and more than 650,000 players. It also employs 50 people at its National Support and Training Center in Hawthorne, California.

Over the years, AYSO has created many valuable programs and concepts. Most notably, AYSO revolutionized youth sports with its Everyone Plays and Balanced Teams philosophies. In AYSO, each child who registers is guaranteed to play at least half of every game. To help create evenly matched games, all AYSO players are placed on new or balanced teams each year. These decisions are made based on each player's skill level and the overall ability of the team.

Learn more about the history of AYSO

AYSO Structure

AYSO's grassroots program starts with a community-based league, called a region. A region can range in size from a few hundred players to several thousand. Each Region is supervised by a Regional Commissioner and a local board of directors. 

A group of regions in close proximity make up an Area. Area Directors are responsible for activities of the Regions in their Area, as well as for Area-wide activities.

For administrative purposes, AYSO divides the country into 14 geographic Sections based on player population. Section Directors oversee activities in their respective Sections.

Section 99 is an administrative section designation for programs outside the United States.

Regions are assigned numbers chronologically with respect to when they were established. Sunnyvale is Region 44, Area A, Section 2. There are currently over 1400 regions chartered. Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Portola Valley, Saratoga, and East Palo Alto are the other regions in Section 2 Area A.

AYSO Programs

Kids Zone

In recent years, the national media has focused on the negative, even violent, behavior of players, coaches and parents involved in youth sports. In a proactive effort to counteract this trend of violence, AYSO is initiating a program called Kids Zone.

As part of AYSO's education agenda, Kids Zone is a dynamic program targeted to eliminate negative sideline behavior. It is aimed toward producing a thoroughly positive impact on everyone involved in youth soccer. To execute this program, three basic elements are involved:

  1. The Badge. This is a pin-on button bearing the program's logo. This will be worn by program supporters at games, and will serve as a reminder of the importance of positive sideline behavior.
  2. The Sign. A large sideline, which lists positive behavior standards, will be posted at the entrance of participating fields. Parents and spectators who will abide by these standards are welcome—all others are not.
  3. The Pledge. We will request AYSO parents to sign a pledge that holds them to the Kids Zone standards.

In order to make this program work, we need your help! Kids Zone badges and signs are available from the AYSO Supply Center.

For more information, visit AYSO National - Kids Zone.

Very Important Player (VIP)

For players with physical or mental disabilities. Down Syndrome, blindness, amputations, limited mobility… there's no reason ANY child can't play soccer.

The VIP Program provides a quality soccer experience for children - and adults - whose physical or mental disabilities make it difficult to successfully participate on mainstream teams. VIP teams may include those who are:

  • blind or visually impaired
  • amputees or conditions that impair mobility
  • mentally or emotionally challenged
  • autistic
  • Downs Syndrome
  • Cerebra Palsy.

These kids are Very Important Players (VIP) in AYSO. We recognize that all children need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. The VIP program offers that acceptance and carries our philosophy of Everyone Plays to new heights - giving everyone a chance to play.

For more information, visit AYSO National - Very Important Player (VIP).

Safe Haven

Safe Haven is a child and volunteer protection program that was the first of its kind in youth sports.

The child protection aspect is intended to stop child abuse, educate or remove its perpetrators, and screen out predators before they get into the program. It includes proactive steps which provide a medium for positive, healthy child development, precluding the outbreak of child abuse in a weak, unfocused, non-empowering environment.

Volunteer protection comes in to play as a result of volunteer training, certification and continuing education. The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 provides certain legal protections for volunteers who have been trained and certified, and act in accordance with a written job description. Safe Haven has these three elements, giving volunteers the highest degree of protection available under the law.

For more information, visit AYSO National - Safe Haven.

Short-Sided Games

For younger players, fewer players on the field means more opportunity to be in the action—and to learn the game. Explanation of the benefits of short-sided games for younger players, and the rule modifications for different age levels.

For more information, visit AYSO National - Short-Sided Games.


Local and national tournaments held by AYSO. Some are open to AYSO teams only, some are open to any team. Check the list—updated frequently.

For more information, visit AYSO National - Tournaments.

info/aysoinfo.txt · Last modified: 2012/02/29 09:40 by sagit
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