A Philosophy Pioneered By AYSO: Creating A Positive Environment For Youth Soccer
America’s focus on player development has rocked the youth soccer game. Most recently, the U. S. Soccer Federation launched new initiatives for improving player development and has mandated smaller size fields and birth year rosters. The goal, in part, is for youth players to have more time with the ball and to become lifelong fans of the game.
There is a strong movement across all soccer organizations to make the youth soccer culture a more positive, player centric experience.
AYSO has been a longtime champion of the child on the field. For AYSO, focusing on the child has been paramount since the beginning. Their entire organization has been to remove the win-at-all-costs philosophy by making soccer fun and a developmental experience with smaller field sizes and small-sided games. Here is a review on their founding Philosophies which focus on keeping kids happy and loving the game of soccer.
Soccer News: The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is the oldest national youth soccer program in the United States. AYSO was established with only nine teams by a handful of soccer enthusiasts in 1964 out of a garage in Torrance, CA. The founders of AYSO wanted to make sure American kids were introduced to the beautiful game and loved the sport. Five decades later, AYSO has thriving programs in nearly 900 communities all over the country, over six million AYSO alumni and a logo that’s recognized nationwide.
AYSO’s Six Philosophies
AYSO’s Philosophies are living tenets that are used to separate it from other sports organizations. Now, more and more of AYSO’s Philosophies are being implemented across the nation as soccer giants like the U.S. Soccer Federation change their focus.
The program’s goal is for kids to play soccer therefore it is mandated that every player on every team play at least 50 percent of every game. It’s no fun to spend the game on the bench…and that’s no way to learn soccer.
Each year new teams are formed as evenly balanced as possible. It’s more fun and a better learning experience when teams of similar ability play. It allows for each player to gain the experience of a wide variety of teammates of different skill levels.
The AYSO program is open to all children between 4 and 19 years of age who want to register and play soccer. Interest and enthusiasm are the only criteria for playing. There are no elimination try-outs and nobody gets cut.
Encouragement of players provides for a greater enjoyment and leads to better-skilled and better-motivated players. A coach can be one of the most influential people in a child’s life, so AYSO requires they create a positive experience for every boy and girl.
AYSO strives to create a positive environment based on mutual respect rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude, and their program is designed to instill good sportsmanship in every facet of AYSO.
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.
Whether a child plays for AYSO, or any other youth soccer organization, it is most important they experience the beauty of the world’s most popular sport and become a lifelong soccer fan.
Team sports build character and important life skills – and while many children may dream of becoming a famous professional soccer player, 99% of all players will never suit up with their name on their back and actually play for a pro team.
While it is important that the USA develop world-class players and focus on cultivating the top 1% to become great soccer professionals, this should not happen at the expense of those players who can grow up to buy the tickets to watch those pros play. We all want America’s kids to grow up to be adults who share a passion for soccer.