5 Reasons to “Quick Start” Spring Soccer
By Brent Whittlesey, RC, Region 1567
AYSO President Mike Wade has challenged the National Development Commission to offer ideas that Regions and Areas can act on immediately to help more kids have the AYSO experience. The commission has recommended considering “quick start” growth and retention opportunities based on spring soccer offerings.
The National Development Commission and the National Tournament Advisory Commission join in challenging each Region and Area to get creative, get organized and start a spring soccer program in 2011 or expand an existing program to new age groups or communities. Start planning now!
Here are five surprising (and powerful!) reasons for your Area and Region to place more emphasis on spring soccer programs (including Less Stress, More Fields, Player Retention, Financial Health and Recruiting New Players!)
1. Player Retention. AYSO can retain more players if we provide alternatives to playing in other organizations. When the fall AYSO season ends, some kids who want to continue playing may have tournament teams options, but those who don’t have the family support necessary for tournament play have few alternatives. AYSO should provide playing opportunities for these players.
2. Financial Health of Regions. Our players are often willing to pay a registration fee for a spring program. The good news for Regions is that the $15 AYSO membership fee covers a full year so there is no additional cost to include a player who participated in the fall in a new spring program. The Region can retain more of the player fees, and build its reserves. The Membership Year fee covers a player from Aug. 1, 2010, until July 31, 2011.
3. Recruiting New Players. Many Regions have had good success in recruiting new players into the AYSO program by offering a spring soccer program. If these kids have an enjoyable time, they will probably continue in the fall.
4. Less Stress. Spring soccer programs tend to be less formal than the traditional fall programs. Players and parents enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere of spring soccer.
5. More Fields. In some areas where field space is tight, it’s likely that facilities that are not available to AYSO during the fall may become available during the spring, when there are fewer soccer programs operating.
The variety of possible spring soccer programs is limited only by the imaginations of our AYSO Executive Members and volunteers. Virtually any program that keeps kids involved in soccer and playing in AYSO can work. The scope and organization of a program can be tailored specifically to what the local community wants and what an AYSO Region can provide!
(Editor’s Note: Brent Whittlesey is a member of the AYSO National Development Commission.)