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What is the AYSO EXTRA™ Program?

AYSO EXTRA™ is an optional pilot primary program for players who want to play in a more challenging soccer environment.

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What do you mean by "primary"?

The EXTRA™ program runs at the same time as the standard primary program - sometimes referred to as "regular" or "core".  It is not a post-season, extended primary or secondary program.

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How is the EXTRA program different from the AYSO All Star program?

The AYSO All Star program is a competition that is an extension of the standard primary program defined in National Policy Statement 2.7. Regions determine a selection process to choose players from the just concluded standard primary program who have played in a recommended minimum of fifty percent of the season's scheduled games. All Star play is confined to competitions which are hosted by the Region, Area and Section. In some Sections, winners go on to compete with neighboring Sections in a championship tournament. The All Star program's duration can be about eight weeks.

EXTRA is a primary program pilot that runs at the same time as the standard primary program.

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What is the difference between FLEX™ and EXTRA™?

FLEX™ is the umbrella name for AYSO programs that supplement the standard primary program.  FLEX programs currently include EXTRA for players who want a more challenging soccer environment; VIP for players with disabilities; U-5, a pressure-free opportunity for four year olds; and the Special U-16/U-19 Program for teenagers with built-in flexibility.  FLEX is an umbrella initiative for all optional player opportunities that enable Regions, Areas and Sections to offer programs that best serve their local needs.

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What does that the difference in the two words mean to me?

It is inaccurate to call the EXTRA program "FLEX" as it is only one of the FLEX programming options. Interchanging the words is confusing and does not accurately name the program.

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Why did AYSO create EXTRA™¢?

AYSO's Strategic Plan identified a number of ideas to provide Regions, Areas and Sections with more programs to offer based on needs identified by the grassroots membership and to maintain and increase player registrations. The Extended Play Task Force developed EXTRA in response to those needs. AYSO EXTRA launched with two program options in fall 2009, Concurrent and Side-By-Side. The differences are described below.

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Does a Region have to run an EXTRA program?

No. It is entirely optional. Many Regions, Areas and Sections have reported that they want to have this option, but it is not mandatory.

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Has the National Board of Directors (NBOD) approved EXTRA™?

Yes, EXTRA has been approved by the NBOD as a pilot program. The NBOD wants to "road test" these options to ensure that they will meet the needs of the membership before formal adoption is sought.

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What does it mean that EXTRA™ is a pilot program?

It means that conducting the pilot program option requires application and approval at the national level. Fully approved programs, such as U-5 and VIP, do not need this approval.

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How do these programs support the philosophy of "Open Registration?"

Every player who registers with an AYSO Region will be placed on a team, subject to the same limitations that currently exist for the standard primary program. Player selection for the EXTRA program teams will occur prior to the team formation for the standard primary program to ensure no interruption of the normal team balancing and placement processes.

EXTRA pilot primary programs are open for all players to apply and to participate in a player selection process that the Region and Area deems appropriate. These programs are designed to meet the needs of players who possess a higher level of skill, a desire to play more challenging soccer and a preference to play more frequently than afforded in the standard primary program. These programs are smaller in player participation numbers than the standard primary program and typically attract players who are more dedicated to the sport of soccer.

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How is EXTRA different from similar pilot programs that AYSO has tried in the past?

The NBOD stated that our current player programs may not be serving all of the needs in many of our Regions, Areas and Sections, that we must develop programs that meet the needs of the grassroots and assigned a Task Force to examine the issue and find the necessary solutions. Unlike previous programs that were developed by the National Office staff or by Section Directors, this program was developed by an experienced and geographically diverse Task Force which thoroughly researched this issue and the history of extended play initiatives in the organization since its inception in 1964. Additionally, the Task Force reached out to our grassroots to determine what their needs were and what worked and what did not. In addition to gathering information on internal needs, external marketing needs were also identified. These combined efforts were taken into consideration in developing new programs and a set of guidelines that met the actual needs and desires of the membership.

Educating the membership on the history, research findings and ultimately how and why pilot programs were being developed helped to bring a common understanding and acceptance of the interest and needs of our Regions, Areas and Sections. We are a very culturally rich and diverse national organization. Our realization of and understanding of how to meet the needs of AYSO on a national basis is extremely important to our growth and success as the largest and strongest national youth sports organization in the world. Adherence to the pilot program parameters is critical to the success of EXTRA as is obtaining formal approval for these programs.

Therefore, the hallmark of the EXTRA program guidelines is to provide standard language where required and where there are options for a program to select based on their local program needs, there is approved language to select from. These provide flexibility so that local programs can reflect local needs while also ensuring our AYSO Philosophies are met. Basic tools and forms are provided to help get programs up and running with some flexibility in creating the details of a Regional and Area program.

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What does that flexibility mean to a Region or Area?

It means that a Region or Area will use the basic guidelines and along with utilizing the "must do's", can create a program that is also in concert with local needs and conditions. These programs are primarily designed to be conducted at the Area level, bringing more teams together and growing strong, internal AYSO programs.

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Couldn't this lead to a variety of programs that do not look exactly alike?

Regions, Areas and Sections are trusted to run their programs in compliance with AYSO's governing documents. Although there are mandatory provisions in the EXTRA guidelines, there are mainly best practice suggestions that will best serve EXTRA programs.

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Is getting approval difficult?

No. The organization goal is to approve within the parameters set as many EXTRA programs that satisfy the basic requirements of the program and get them up and running so that the NBOD can evaluate the success of the pilot. EXTRA Program guidelines, available on the Web site, are designed to allow local management of the program in compliance with AYSO's Six Philosophies and the Extended Play Task Force will work with Regions to help them succeed.

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When can I apply?

Anytime. The application and explanation of the process is available online.

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Can Regions apply, or do applications have to come from Areas or Sections?

Applications can come from groups of Regions within an Area, or from Areas within a Section to ensure that there are enough players and teams to create a successful EXTRA program. Regions that have sufficient numbers of players on their own to provide a variety of opponents to make the season successful may apply. Most Regions will not be big enough to do so.

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Why should I apply?

There are four good reasons to apply.

  • First, approval by the NBOD makes your program an official AYSO pilot program.
  • Second, thinking and planning for how the program will run provides great value to all who will be involved. Being very clear from the beginning will give you a smooth start up, stronger program and shorten the review time.
  • Third, approval allows you to take advantage of the support offered by AYSO.
  • Fourth, approval of your program will allow the NBOD to assess the benefits of EXTRA in making a determination to seek approval of EXTRA as a fully approved, non-pilot program.


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If we run a similar type of program but it's not an approved program, do we need to apply to become a nationally approved program?

Yes. The only official AYSO player programs are those approved by the National Board of the organization. Programs that have been developed locally must comply with the EXTRA program criteria. Upon application and authorization by the NBOD, you will have an approved pilot status for your program. Unapproved programs are subject to the sunset rules. All such programs must start to work towards transitioning to an approved program status. It is understood that it may take some time to complete the transition of some of these programs

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What is meant by a program "sunset"?

This is the term developed at the 2004 National Annual General Meeting which the NBOD and the membership identified as the time limit for existing approved or unapproved pilot programs to conform to the new program criteria or cease to exist.

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What is the sunset term for existing programs to comply with the new pilot program criteria?

Existing programs must comply with the standards, policies and procedures of the EXTRA program within two years of receiving pilot approval status or formal adoption of this program by AYSO, whichever is sooner.

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If we have been running an unapproved program, will we get in trouble if we apply?

To the contrary, we want programs like yours to apply for all of the reasons in the answer to the question "Why should I apply" above.

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What is included in the application package?

What you need is all here

Apply In Five Simple Steps

  1. Fill out an AYSO EXTRA Program Application Worksheet to determine which EXTRA format will work best for your Section/Area/Region.
  2. Review the AYSO EXTRA Program Application Instructions and Review Process.
  3. Complete the AYSO EXTRA Program Application (fill-in and/or printable) including one Region Confirmation page per participating Region.
  4. Create your local program's unique EXTRA Pilot Program Guidelines using the EXTRA Program Sample Guidelines For Local Program Users.
  5. Submit your completed AYSO EXTRA Application Form, Region Confirmation(s) and Pilot Program Guidelines to


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Who has to approve my application before it is submitted?

Any Region, Area or Section in good standing with the AYSO organization that meets the criteria for conducting a new EXTRA program may apply. To ensure a greater degree of success, most Regions will need the assistance of an Area to conduct these programs. The Area and Section Directors are part of the review and monitoring processes. Applications will be reviewed by the Extended Play Task Force, which may have questions and seek modifications to your application to address issues that exist. Once the application is approved by the Task Force, it is passed on to the NBOD for approval.

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What does the Extended Play Task Force look for when reviewing an application?

The Task Force looks at multiple items to make sure that your program will be successful and that sufficient resources are available. Areas of attention include: Are the participating Regions identified? Do those Regions have their seven required board positions filled? Do Board Members have a current season volunteer form and have they received their job specific training and certification? How many players, coaches and referees does each Region have and are the numbers enough to effectively run the program and not take away from the Region's standard primary program?

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How long does the review process take?

The review process should take somewhere between 2-4 weeks, depending on whether all forms and documents are submitted together and the information is complete. It is possible that the process will go faster or take a little longer depending upon package completion and training and certification needs/deficiencies.

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What happens after the Task Force completes its review?

Once the entire Task Force has reviewed the application and talked with the submitters about any questions or missing information, the members vote on whether to submit the application to the NBOD for their review and approval.

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When can we start using these new programs?

When the NBOD notifies the Task Force of application approval, a notification letter of approval will be sent to the submitter, SD and AD(s), after which you may start your program at any time.

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I hear that we can put an EXTRA patch on the uniforms for these teams?

Yes. Authorization to purchase and use the official EXTRA patch will be granted by the National Office to qualified and approved EXTRA programs. Qualified and approved programs have properly registered their players, paid registration fees to the National Office in a timely manner and are operating in compliance with the applicable pilot program guidelines. If used, the official EXTRA patch may be applied on the upper right sleeve of the player's jersey and/or the lower right front of the shorts as described in the AYSO National Rules & Regulations.

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What are the basic requirements for an EXTRA™ program?

  • All six AYSO philosophies must be present
  • The program must fulfill AYSO's mission statement
  • No paid coaches, referees, administrators
  • Coach training requirements
    • U-10 = U-12 Coach
    • U-12 = U-12 Coach
    • U-14 = Intermediate Coach
    • U-16 and U-19 = Advanced Coach
    • Safe Haven Coach
  • Refereeing requirements
    • U-10 = Regional Referee
    • U-12 = Intermediate Referee
    • U-14 = Advanced Referee
    • U=16 and U-19 = National Referee
    • Safe Haven Referee
  • Paid Trainers - same requirements as in current National Policy Statements
  • Overall acceptance of the program in the Region or Area
  • The EXTRA program is for the U-10 through U-19 age division - but programs do not have to have each division - you choose the divisions that you need and can support with players and volunteers
  • Player evaluations or tryouts must be impartial and with proper player notifications, as outlined in the EXTRA program guidelines
  • Appropriate monitoring, financial oversight, annual reporting to the next higher executive member level (and nationally during the pilot status)
  • An approved Player Vacancy Policy in place
  • Adherence to AYSO pilot program guidelines and approval process or those unauthorized programs will be subject to the sunset requirements for existing non-compliant programs


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What are the EXTRA™ program options?

There are two EXTRA program options - EXTRA Concurrent and EXTRA Side-By-Side. The two versions of EXTRA are designed for Regions and Areas to provide soccer at a more challenging level and to build strong programs which will retain and recruit players. The choice of which type will depend on the size of the Region and the feeling about having players participate or not in the standard primary program.

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What is the difference between EXTRA Concurrent and EXTRA Side-By-Side?

An EXTRA Concurrent program requires that all participants participate on one of a Region's standard primary program teams in order to participate on an EXTRA program team. It allows and requires participation on two primary program teams - in the standard primary program and in the pilot EXTRA program.

An EXTRA Side-by-Side program does not require participation on a standard primary program team.

The EXTRA Side-By-Side program is a stand-alone primary program often referred to as a major/minor or an A/B program. Coaches selected to participate in these programs are required to "give back" to the standard primary program in ways identified by the Region. This is done to ensure that a strong support mechanism is retained first and foremost to the standard primary program.

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How do we determine which program best suits our needs?

Regions must gauge the pulse or philosophical beliefs and needs of its local membership and also in neighboring Regions within the Area so that a program can be developed and flourish. It also must examine the number of player registrations in divisions in which it wants to run an EXTRA program. Some Regions will have too small of numbers to run a Side-by-Side program.

It is anticipated that initially most Regions will probably migrate towards the EXTRA Concurrent program until they feel comfortable that any questions or concerns with introducing a Side-By-Side program have been addressed. Shared resources are needed to conduct both programs, but playing time concerns are significantly reduced and more easily managed with the Side-By-Side program.

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Can an EXTRA program include some Regions that play Concurrent while others play Side-By-Side?

Yes. Although the logistics of this may be difficult, if the locale can make it work, there is no reason that it would not be approved. This option best fits the needs and opportunities of an Area with both small and large Regions.

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How do you select the players for these programs?

Guidelines on how to choose players to participate in these programs are available on the Web site. Open, neutral, fair and consistent methods that are mindful of the players' feelings and self esteem are required and are the foremost concern of the organization.

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Can players tryout for EXTRA teams if they aren't already registered with AYSO?

Yes. AYSO has a new form for non-AYSO registered participants to fill out and sign to permit them to participate in a limited AYSO activity without being registered for the complete Membership Year. The form includes an emergency authorization and other legal provisions to protect AYSO and provide insurance coverage in the event of an injury during the tryout. Each form must be submitted to the National Office with a $5 fee. The Region, Area or Section running the tryout can choose to charge an additional fee.

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Are there standards for coaches and referees in these new programs?

Yes, all pilot programs must follow the criteria described in the question "What are the basic requirements for an EXTRA program?" of this FAQ.

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I see that ID Cards are required. How do I get them?

It is not complicated at all. You can order the ID Card forms from the AYSO Store and print them using eAYSO by entering your EXTRA team rosters in the Team Report function.

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Are there any other basic program operating requirements?

Regions and Areas must be in financial compliance. All registrations must be paid within 30 days and all outstanding invoices must be paid within 60 days. A budget will be required to be maintained and submitted together with other program monitoring information.

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What are the program monitoring and reporting requirements?

Program monitoring requirements have been developed to help the Task Force measure success and needed areas of improvement. The Task Force is required to give periodic reports and a year-end report to the National Board of Directors to ensure that the needs of the membership and the organization are properly met.

Questionnaires and surveys are being designed with the understanding that volunteers have limited time and/or desire to write reports. These measurement tools will be as concise as possible yet thorough enough to collect the information needed to gauge program success. The final program monitoring requirements will be given to Regions, Areas and Sections accepted into the pilot program at the time of approval.

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Do we need a separate NAP account or budget to operate this program?

No. Most Region and Area programs can operate these programs in a segregated manner by sub-ledgering in the Region or Area general NAP account. There will be exceptions to this rule, and they will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Some new financial codes have been assigned to identify registration and expenses incurred in these new programs.

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Are there possible issues with running two primary programs simultaneously?

Regions, Areas and Sections should be mindful of the impact of running two primary programs simultaneously, including the pressure on players, volunteers and fields. Care should be taken in determining the scope of play and the structure and formation of teams so that the needs and interests of all of members are met. There must be harmony within the programs as they move into secondary program play and participation in national events.

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What are the risks of running these new programs?

The risks of running a new program without having or maintaining the necessary components to make the program successful will result in disappointment by the players, parents and volunteers and may stunt further growth or program support. The lack of proper attention by Region boards to the continuing needs of the players in the standard primary program will cause discontent towards these new programs and will weaken support for their continuance.

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Are there limitations on secondary program opportunities with these new programs?

Yes, there are at this time. If some of the pilot program parameters are outside the scope of our National Rules & Regulations, it may preclude participation in certain events. Details are explained in the following three questions.

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Can an EXTRA team participate in the AYSO National Games?

Players who participate in the EXTRA Concurrent program format are eligible to participate in the National Games.

Players who play in the EXTRA Side-By-Side program - and therefore do not also participate on a standard primary program team - are not currently eligible for participation in the National Games. This is an issue that the National Tournament Advisory Commission is addressing for the 2012 National Games. Any new information will be made available to all members.

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Can an EXTRA team participate in an All Star program?

Players who participated in the EXTRA Concurrent program format are eligible to participate in the All Star program. Some Sections are working to offer more blended or inclusionary opportunities in their secondary programs.

Players who play in the EXTRA Side-By-Side program - and therefore do not also participate on a standard primary program team - are not eligible for participation in the All Star program at this time.

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Can an EXTRA team participate in AYSO tournaments?

Yes. Each tournament has its own rules of eligibility and will determine which types of EXTRA program teams qualify for inclusion in their tournament. Typically, Open Invitational and International tournaments have open or flighted opportunities for these types of teams.

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Where can I get more information?

Information will be given to the membership from several different resources: through AYSO's weekly e-newsletters, publications,, our Player Development staff at the National Office and through the Extended Play Task Force.

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Where can I find information to determine if we have enough players to start this program?

Guidance can be found in the EXTRA™ Program Guidelines and the EXTRA Program Application Worksheet documents available on this site. Regions, Areas and Sections will need to work cooperatively to find the best way to have EXTRA™ teams while keeping a viable, healthy standard primary program running.

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Where can I find information to determine if we have enough coaches and referees to service both the standard primary program and a new EXTRA™ program?

Guidance can be found in the EXTRA™ Program Guidelines and the EXTRA™ Program Application Worksheet documents available on this site. Regions and Areas will need to work cooperatively to find the best way to have EXTRA™ teams while keeping a viable, healthy standard primary program running.

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What kind of marketing materials are available to assist me in advertising the start of an EXTRA™ program?

The AYSO Marketing Department is developing resources for Regions to use to advertise the availability of these new programs in addition to the other programs under AYSO FLEX such as U-5, U-16/19 and VIP. Visit the Region Marketing Toolkit for useful marketing tools for all Region needs.

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If I still have questions, where do I go to get them answered?

Contact the Player Development Department of the National Office at (800) 872-2976 or email the Extended Play Task Force at

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