It's that make it or break it time of year, where everything is coming to a head all at once. Do we have enough coaches, assistant coaches and referees? Is everyone registered and background checked? Trained and certified?
It's a lot to get done before the season starts but it may help to know that it is all part of creating a safe haven for our players and families; AYSO is a place where player safety and development is the number one priority. Here are some reminders to help everyone enjoy the fall season:
1. Team Parents
• Help your Region's parents partner with AYSO to foster the kind of family experience that everyone can enjoy and that allows children to blossom. Ask your Team Parents to be your Kids Zone advocates on each team.
• Have the Team Parents help you direct other parents to AYSO's Safe Haven for Parents and encourage them to complete the Kids Zone Parent Pledge.
• Ask Team Parents to pass out suckers with Kids Zone stickers to any extra-excited parents on the sideline.
2. Division/Age-Group Coordinators
• Remember, any size Region can benefit from having Division Coordinators whether it’s one person per age-group or Division.
• Remind your Division/Age Group Coordinator to check-in during games or practices periodically to make sure that Safe Haven protection guidelines are being met. If there are any violations, make sure that he/she notes it and corrects it. Our goal is to have everyone focus on child safety, good sportsmanship and how they can help children gain the most of their AYSO experience.
3. Referees and Coaches
• Remind both Referees and Coaches to have the AYSO/CDC Coach/Referee Action Plan with them at all times. This Action Plan is filled with reminders about the symptoms of concussions and the role they play in ensuring player safety is the most important priority.
4. Youth Volunteers
• Remember that all Youth Volunteers must have an eSigned Youth Volunteer Application signed by their parents even if they are a currently registered player.
• Youth Volunteers are required to take AYSO’s Safe Haven with their parents and/or parents’ permission.
• All Youth Volunteer records in eAYSO are automatically converted to an adult volunteer on their 18th birthday. Upon turning 18, the Youth Volunteer must complete and eSign their own application form and provide a Social Security Number and photo ID.
• Youth Volunteers who turn 18 years old should retake AYSO’s Safe Haven and be counseled on the necessary boundaries, protocols and transparency that are now required as an adult volunteer.
• Youth Volunteers may not be a Team Coach or Assistant Coach; each team must have a minimum of two registered, trained and certified adults. Youth volunteers may help coaches with drills and skill training.
5. Safety Directors
• Please make sure all fields have been inspected for safety and that all participants have access to First Aid kits.
• All goalposts should be in good condition and properly stored and secured after use.
• Goalposts should be inspected before each game and must be anchored and counterweighted to prevent tipping. Goalposts falling on children/adults can cause serious injuries or even death.
• Document and publish field closure procedures and plans for communicating to families in the event of adverse weather conditions such as thunder and lightning, tornado, hurricane and tsunami warnings, wildfires, etc.
If you have any questions, please email the Safe Haven Department.