The AYSO Primary Program is that set of scheduled games (season) in a Region for which open registration is held, balanced teams are formed and everyone plays. This is also the first time in each AYSO membership year (August 1 - July 31) for which team member registrations have been paid, national fees remitted and insurance is in effect.
Most AYSO Regions have their primary program only in fall; a smaller number have a winter or spring or summer primary program; a few have a different primary program time of year for each upper age gender based on the high school soccer season. Some Regions split their primary program into two sets of games, usually due to weather and field issues. When the program is split, both sets of games count toward a player's total participation in the primary program.
Some primary programs, due to lack of enough players in the Region, interplay with neighboring Regions or with non-AYSO programs.
Currently, only participants in primary programs are eligible to participate in the AYSO National Games and most AYSO-hosted tournaments.
AYSO Secondary Programs are defined as "any program other than the regular season primary program - whether in single or split format - and any associated playoffs" ( National Policy Statement 2.1.) The practical definition is any programs for teams formed from primary program players, typically for playing opportunities after the primary program season has ended (some opportunities for secondary play do occur in some locales concurrently with the primary program).
This definition, for our purposes, includes the "AYSO All Star Programs" (defined in AYSO Policy Statement 2.7 as an extension of the primary program - changing to secondary play August 1, 2010). Though most secondary program teams are "selected" teams, many Regions also have primary program teams participate in secondary programs such as tournaments.
NOTE: Many Sections have Regions that run select secondary programs but use different names, often because (a) the common title "all stars" is objectionable or (b) they are unaware that they are operating the same type program with a different name.