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Getting Your Story in the Media


You can send a press release to your local media outlets. Here are a few tips on how to get a story on your VIP event (registration, tournament, festival, etc) in your local paper, radio or TV station.

Tips:
  • Talk to the parents in your Region. They may know someone who works with the media. Having a contact will make it easier to get information to the media, whether it is print, radio or TV.
  • Focus on smaller, local newspapers. For example, if you are in the Miami-Dade County area-don't automatically go to The Miami Herald. Look for community papers.
  • For TV and radio, look for local shows, especially local morning shows. Contact the producers of those shows, which could usually be found on the station's Web site and pitch the story to them.
  • Be prepared. Have all the information you need - your event date, time, location.

You have the press release. Fill in the blanks with your own specific Region information. Now that your press release is complete, you have to get it to the media. The first step is always to call the media outlet and see how the reporter likes to receive his/her information.

Face-to-Face Delivery

If you are going to hand deliver the release, make an appointment and arrive with all your materials in hand. You don't want to leave the office still needing to send the reporter information. Also be prepared to answer all possible questions about your registration.

Email/Fax

If a meeting isn't possible, then you can email or fax the release. Before you do either, contact the media outlet to verify if the email/fax number is correct. Also see if you can find out which reporter handles your neighborhood or youth sports. Make sure if that reporter would rather receive releases via email or by fax. If emailing, ask if the reporter accepts attachments; if they don't, just copy and paste the release into the body of the email. If you can get the actual reporter on the line, tell him/her a bit about your registration event, but be brief. Start the email with the text below and remember if the reporter does not want an attachment, just copy and paste the release after the body.
Dear <insert name>,

Thank you so much for talking the time to speak to me earlier. Below is the information I told you about. I really think that your <readers, listeners or viewers> will be interested in knowing that our AYSO-VIP Area (Section, Region) is having its event (registration, tournament, festival, etc) soon.

If you have any questions please contact me at <phone number> or <email>.

Sincerely,

Here is a fact sheet to include with your press release. Assume that your contact doesn't know anything about AYSO or the VIP Program, and offer to send this fact sheet.
American Youth Soccer Organization
Fact Sheet


The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) was founded in Southern California in 1964 with nine teams when a group of soccer enthusiasts started the organization in a garage. Today, AYSO is the largest single-entity national youth soccer association in the U.S. with over 600,000 registered players and 225,000 volunteers. The National Office is located in Torrance, Calif.

Philosophies

AYSO is guided by its Six Philosophies - Everyone Plays®, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development. In AYSO, each child on the team 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.

AYSO educates its volunteers on many subjects, including child development, human behavior and sports psychology. A strong emphasis is placed on ethics, sportsmanship and the development of the whole child.

History

Since it was founded, AYSO has continued to grow and offer its membership important and useful programs. In 1971, AYSO developed the first girls program. Currently, more than 40 percent of AYSO's players are female, and the number of female coaches and referees is increasing. The Kids Zone® program was developed in 1990. It creates a positive environment for players by inviting parents to sign a pledge promising appropriate sideline behavior. Pins, banners and logos are used to remind spectators, volunteers and athletes of the kinds of behaviors that are and are not acceptable on AYSO fields.

The AYSO VIP Program was officially launched in 1991 for players with physical and/or mental disabilities. At that time and for some years following its inception, participation in the program was limited to ambulatory children through the age of 18. Several years later the ambulatory restriction was removed and the age limit extended to the length of time the player remained in school, which varied from state to state.

In 1999, recognizing a VIP player's need for ongoing fitness and leisure activities into adulthood, the AYSO National Board of Directors removed the upper age limit for VIP players entirely. The minimum age corresponds to AYSO's age eligibility - currently 4 years of age by July 31 prior to the start of the playing season or, in some Regions with permission of the Section Director, by the date of the Region's first organized activity - camp, practice or game. Our Current Program boasts play for disabled children and adults in all 14 Sections with over 5000 players.

Structure

AYSO play is organized by geographic boundaries. There are nearly 1,000 Regions (leagues) within 104 Areas. Areas are grouped into 15 designated Sections. Each Region is lead by a volunteer Regional board made up of a Regional Commissioner, Treasurer, Safety Director, Registrar and other appointed volunteers. Regional leaders report to their Area Director who reports to the appointed Section Director. AYSO Sections hold annual Section Conferences for Executive Members within their geographic boundaries, and AYSO also holds the National Annual General Meeting for all Executive Members. Region Commission, Area Directors, Section Director and the National Board of Directors make up the Executive Membership.

The AYSO National Board of Directors (NBOD) is made up of 11 volunteers, including the board president, who meet five times each year. The NBOD is elected by the Executive Membership. Board members serve three-year terms; the president serves a one-year term.

Support for Volunteers

AYSO publishes a membership magazine called PLAYSOCCER three times a year and maintains a website at www.ayso.org. A number of weekly eNewsletters serve targeted AYSO volunteers such as AYSO Insider for executive members, Whistle Stop for referees and Hey Coach for coaches. Other eNewsletters include 90 Second Parent, Dollars & $ense, More Soccer for More Kids, The Advocate and Play it Safe.

Sponsorship/Partnerships

AYSO has four levels of sponsorship which are Premier, National, Official, Preferred and Preferred Providers and our Licensees. AYSO's Premier Sponsors are Score, Fox Soccer, Herbalife, Liberty Mutual and Shutterfly. Clubspaces and Sport Pins International are AYSO's only Official Sponsors. Banners USA, Fold-A-Goal, People to People, and The Umbrella Stand are Preferred Sponsors.

It also partners with American Cancer Society, Character Counts Coalition, Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy, Major League Soccer, National Recreation and Park Association, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Positive Coaching Alliance, U.S. Soccer Federation, U.S. Soccer Foundation and Women's Pro Soccer.

Our Licensees include AYSO Soccer Camps, The AYSO Store, Dinn Bros., Crown Awards and Molten USA.


Using the Calendar/Lifestyle Sections:

Another tool at your disposal is the calendar section of your local newspaper. The tips and instructions that were just given to you were to get a story placed within the paper, but the calendar section is a listing of all events going on in your neighbor.

The easiest way to enter your information in the calendar section of your local paper is to go to your local papers Web site. Once at the Web site, look for the calendar listings and there will be a link to enter your information. When you fill out the form, it will appear online within a few days. Do this as soon as you have your Registration information. The sooner you send your information in, the more people you will reach.

You can also call your local calendar section. When you call them, let the paper know that you want to add an event in their calendar listing. Just remember, if you want to add your registration event into the paper-you need to do it as far in advance as you can. Deadlines for the calendar sections are usually a month before the event.

The last point to remember is that newspapers aren't the only outlets that have a calendar section. Radio station Web sites and local TV stations also have calendar listings on their Web sites.

VIP Facts:

The AYSO VIP Program was officially launched in 1991 for players with physical and/or mental disabilities. At that time and for some years following its inception, participation in the program was limited to ambulatory children through the age of 18. Several years later the ambulatory restriction was removed and the age limit extended to the length of time the player remained in school, which varied from state to state.

In 1999, recognizing a VIP player's need for ongoing fitness and leisure activities into adulthood, the AYSO National Board of Directors removed the upper age limit for VIP players entirely. The minimum age corresponds to AYSO's age eligibility - currently 4 years of age by July 31 prior to the start of the playing season or, in some Regions with permission of the Section Director, by the date of the Region's first organized activity - camp, practice or game. Our Current Program boasts play for disabled children and adults in all 14 Sections with over 5000 players.

The AYSO VIP (Very Important Players) 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:
  • Blind or visually impaired
  • Amputees or with conditions that impair mobility
  • Mentally or emotionally challenged
  • Autistic
  • Down syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy


Everyone Plays®

VIP helps more than just the players. Buddies (non-disabled persons who assist VIP players, one-on-one, on the field) and other volunteers increase their appreciation and understanding of individuals with disabilities. They find their lives greatly enriched by their involvement with their new VIP friends. For parents thinking they would never see their children playing a sport or making new friends, VIP gives them joy and hope. They are able to relax and enjoy watching their children having fun like other kids, perhaps for the first time.

VIP Mission Statement

The mission of the AYSO VIP Program is to provide a quality soccer experience for individuals whose physical or mental disabilities make it difficult for them to successfully participate on mainstream soccer teams. What is successful participation? It should be defined by the player's enjoyment and the safety of all team members.

VIP Vision Statement

The vision of the AYSO VIP Program is to create VIP teams in every AYSO Region wherever possible and to maximize opportunities for VIP player participation where VIP teams are not available.

Goals and Objectives of the VIP Program

Goal: Players will have fun playing soccer
Objectives:
  • To introduce all skills by using games
  • To allow players to set the pace
  • To relax and be flexible
  • To keep everything positive


Goal: Players will understand the fundamentals of the game
Objectives:
  • To give each player plenty of opportunities to play the ball
  • To build skills on the success of previously learned skills
  • To involve family members in learning soccer fundamentals


Goal: Players will learn teamwork and fair play
Objectives:
  • To build teamwork and fair play into practice sessions
  • To encourage team identity by wearing uniforms and participating in team get-togethers
  • To reward positive effort when teamwork and fair play are observed


Goal: Players will increase their self-esteem
Objectives:
  • To establish individual, realistic goals with players
  • To encourage effort toward goals, no matter how small
  • To recognize player effort and achievement


Goal: Players will become more physically fit
Objectives:
  • To encourage maximum participation in physical movement for each player at his or her level
  • To facilitate player participation in off-season physical activities or sports


Goal: Players will meet and be comfortable with new people
Objectives:
  • To encourage parents to play a supportive, not active, role during games
  • To facilitate the development of positive player relationships with buddies and other volunteers
  • To utilize community helpers
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