Frequently Asked Question

Thank you for visiting AYSO, home of the World’s Biggest Soccer Club!

AYSO is a national organization with 850 individual programs, called Regions, across the nation, engaging more than 400,000 players and 100,000 volunteers. Because of our great diversity, many answers to your questions may be found through your local AYSO Region, which can be found by visiting our Region Locator and typing in your zip code.

Below you will find some of our most common questions and basic information to help you navigate the AYSO world. Should you require immediate assistance, please contact us.

VOLUNTEERS! You can find everything you need in one place! Visit AYSO Volunteers for all documents, support and more to help you run your Region! Click Here

Welcome to AYSO

  • Everyone Plays® – Every player on every team must play at least 50 percent of every game. Spending the game on the bench is no way to learn soccer!
  • Balanced Teams – Each year we form new teams as evenly balanced as possible. This allows for each player to gain experience from a wide variety of teammates and different skill levels.
  • Open Registration – Interest and enthusiasm are the only criteria for playing. There are no elimination try-outs and nobody gets cut.
  • Positive Coaching – AYSO requires our coaches to create a positive experience for every player.
  • Good Sportsmanship – We strive to create a positive environment based on mutual respect rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude.
  • Player Development – We believe that 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.

AYSO’s Vision is to provide world class youth soccer programs that enrich children’s lives.

AYSO’s Mission is to develop and deliver quality youth soccer programs which promote a fun, family environment based on AYSO’s Six Philosophies:

  • Everyone Plays®
  • Balanced Teams
  • Open Registration
  • Positive Coaching
  • Good Sportsmanship
  • Player Development

Soccer is a global sport that Americans have embraced in record numbers. From teaching basic motor skills to the very young, to teamwork and social skills in teens, soccer is a game you can grow with and enjoy for the rest of your life.

AYSO’s “child first” approach with age-appropriate, small-sided games makes it one of the finest athletic programs in the world. Development over winning is what is fundamental in AYSO.

AYSO puts your child’s safety above all else. AYSO’s Safe Haven program is designed to address the need for child and volunteer protection by:

  • Screening and registering all AYSO volunteers
  • Requiring training and certification
  • Providing specific child and volunteer protection policies and guidelines
  • Promoting safety and injury prevention

Our volunteers are also asked to complete Safe Haven courses and job-specific training in order to become certified. AYSO in-person and online training focuses on the best ways to work with children and important safety protocols.

Kids Zone® is a dynamic program designed to eliminate negative sideline behavior. Kids Zone buttons and signs are distributed via your Region and displayed at games and practices. Parents asked to sign the Kids Zone Pledge promising to behave within the guidelines of the program.

Practices are held once or twice a week. Games are usually held on weekends. Sometimes the youngest players have a combined practice and game on a weekend day. The location of games and practices will be determined by your AYSO Regional Board with schedules provided to you by your child’s coach.

The main season is in the fall with registration taking place in the spring. However, seasons are decided at the Region level and vary greatly due to weather, field availability and other local factors. Spring season is played in many parts of the country as either an additional or the only season. Some soccer, such as Playground, is even played indoors year-round!

AYSO Membership - For Kids

Visit our Region Locator, enter your ZIP code, and you will be given contact information for the Regions closest to you. If you have any difficulty contacting your Region, please contact the National Office at 1-800-USA-AYSO or 800-872-2976 and ask for Member Services.

The cost of registration differs depending on the Region. The fee is used for insurance, equipment, uniforms, program development, field rental, and other needs. None of our Regional volunteer leadership receives payment for their time.

Shin guards are mandatory during practice and games. Full-coverage shoes are required, and it is advisable to use shoes designed specifically for soccer. A limited number of balls will be supplied, but it is ideal for every child to have their own soccer ball for practicing and playing on their own. Most AYSO teams play in uniforms supplied by the Region which are included in the registration fee. Regions also provide field equipment, such as goals, nets and flags.

Welcome to AYSO! Your coaches will contact you with all the information you will need to get started, including practice times and location. Teams may begin practice 2-3 weeks before the official start of season. Please don’t panic if you see teams practicing and your child has not been called! Not all teams begin practice at the same time. If your child has not been called, please check your AYSO Region website or contact the administrator.

Yes! AYSO is proud to offer a very special program for children and adults with physical or mental disabilities.

The AYSO Very Important Player (VIP) program provides a safe, fun environment with trained coaches and volunteers who facilitate an enriching experience that the players and their families will cherish forever. Buddies assist during the games in which players learn soccer while meeting new friends, having fun and increasing skills and self-esteem. Please contact us at vip@ayso.org or 800-872-2976 for more information.

AYSO Membership - For Volunteers

Yes! AYSO is a volunteer-run organization. Coaches, referees, and administrators are all volunteers. Over 220,000 parents, neighbors, relatives, and friends lend their time and talents so that each child gets a terrific AYSO experience!

It only takes a few hours to become qualified as an introductory-level coach or referee. But if you’re not able to commit the time, there are many small jobs you can help with! Even a few hours each season are an important contribution to your team and Region!

Click here for more information about AYSO volunteer positions, or contact your local AYSO Region.

Gameday Guidelines for Parents

A full size soccer team has 11 players on the field. But smaller-sided teams for younger children allow more touches on the ball and a more successful soccer learning environment.

AYSO small-sided games emulate classic “street soccer” where children of many skill levels choose up teams and play together for a fun neighborhood game. This is a similar environment to where many of the greatest soccer players in the world developed their skills.

Every AYSO decision, rule, and program starts with “What’s good for kids!”

The AYSO Team Parent is a pivotal part of every team! They are the coach’s assistant, cheerleader, and traffic director all in one. These are things you will already be doing if your child is on the team, so take it one more step and help the entire team operate more smoothly!

Every coach needs help arranging snacks and water for games, making calls when rain or snow makes practice impractical, and keeping an energetic team in line on the sidelines. Assisting with these and other tasks help make a difference for a whole team! Becoming a Team Parent is a great way to make your child’s team a family experience. Contact your local AYSO Region to sign up today!

AYSO’s unique, dynamic programs and policies focus on protecting our entire member base. These include:

Safe Haven – The AYSO Safe Haven program was the first of its kind in youth sports, most notably in soccer. We continually strive to create a safe environment for our players and volunteers, so they can enjoy a happy and healthy soccer experience.

AYSO Certification – AYSO provides training certification for all its volunteers. Certification helps ensure every AYSO child will be treated with understanding, compassion, and respect

Kids Zone – Kids Zone is a dynamic program targeted to eliminate negative sideline behavior. Kids Zone buttons and signs are distributed throughout the Region and parents are asked to sign the Kids Zone Pledge promising to behave within the guidelines of the program.

The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 – This law grants immunity from certain types of prosecution for volunteers who meet its requirements. In order to receive full protection under the law, AYSO volunteers need must: 1. be properly trained and certified; 2. be performing duties as laid out in a position description; 3. act within the scope of AYSO’s Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines.

Good sportsmanship is one of the fundamentals of any sport. It is simply showing courtesy and respect for all involved in the game.

AYSO has always encouraged good sportsmanship in our programs. It is one of the philosophies listed in the AYSO National Bylaws. AYSO strongly encourages our Regions to promote good sportsmanship throughout our inclusive and dynamic programs. Elements of our programs may vary from Region to Region, but all define the conduct of players, coaches, referees, and even parents.

We strive to educate our Regions and all AYSO volunteers to know what is expected of them when it comes to good sportsmanship. AYSO understands that good sportsmanship doesn’t just happen. It needs to be taught, encouraged and demonstrated.

Let the coaches coach and the referees ref!
Coaches and referees are usually parents too. They volunteer their time to help make your child’s youth soccer experience a positive one. They need your support, too, so avoid refereeing from the sidelines and please refrain from coaching during games and practices. Our referees and coaches are important for fun, fair and safe games. Treat them and their calls fairly and respectfully.

Always Be Positive
You are not on the team, but you have strong influence on the team’s environment. Applaud good plays by your child’s team and also by the opposing team. Support all efforts to remove verbal and physical abuse from youth sporting activities.

Be Enthusiastic And Supportive
Let children set their own goals and play the game for themselves. Don’t put too heavy a burden on your child to win games!

Reinforce Positive Behavior
No one likes to make a mistake, so if your child does make one, remember that he or she is still learning. Encourage your child’s efforts and point out the good things your child accomplished.