A Parent's Guide (ayso.org website)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Handbook 2014 (Word)
The AYSO Team
Know the Game!
Team Parent Description
AYSO Kids Zone Pledge (pdf format)
Parent/Athlete Concussion Information Sheet (pdf format)
The AYSO Team
AYSO is an organization devoted to child development in a soccer environment that is safe, fair, and fun. The kids are the focus of our program, and the program depends on the efforts of all involved adults for its success. Three groups of people, working together, form the AYSO Team, which creates the environment in which our children develop. Here's a way to look at it:
The coaches are the foundation of the AYSO Team. They spend hours with the players every week, at practices and at the game, teaching them how to win, how to lose, how to work for an objective, how to cooperate, how to be a team, all through the vehicle of the game of soccer. In this way, they become role models for the players, and so influence the players' values and behaviors.
The referees watch over the game, helping younger children with the rules and making sure that the game is safe and fair for all. The referees set the tone of the competition, protect the players throughout the match, and provide the necessary authority on game day.
The spectators support the players' activities in a positive and encouraging way. They create the environment in which the players, coaches, and referees work. They also help to interpret the lessons of the game for the players after the match. When these three groups work together, they create the necessary environment for our children to develop through soccer. The triangle above represents that environment. It protects the players only as long as its three sides are firmly linked. If it comes apart at any corner, the triangle collapses, and it is the players inside who get hurt. Whatever role you play, keep the AYSO Team in mind. Remember, it's for the kids!
Know the Game!
Soccer is a simple game, but you and the players will enjoy it more if you know a few of the Laws (not "rules") that are frequently misunderstood.
Soccer is intended to be a continuous action sport. Whenever possible, the referee will let play continue. Thus, when a player falls, and the referee judges that the player is not at immediate risk, (s)he will generally let the game proceed until a natural stoppage. Of course, the referee will stop play if a player needs immediate attention or would be endangered by continuing play.
Players cannot deliberately play the ball with their hands or arms, except for the goalkeeper within his/her own penalty-area. However, accidental contact between hands or arms and the ball occurs frequently, especially with younger players, and is not an infringement. In such cases, the referee will not stop play, since no breach of the Laws has occurred.
A throw-in must be taken with part of each foot on or behind the touch-line (side line) at the moment the ball is released. The ball must be thrown from behind and over the head, using both hands. This motion is sometimes difficult for young players to master, and referees in younger divisions may, at their discretion, allow retakes in order to help the players learn this skill.
Unlike basketball and gridiron football, the boundary lines are part of the field of play. The ball is not out of play until it has completely crossed the goal line or touch line. This implies that a goal is not scored unless the ball has wholly crossed the goal line between the goal posts and beneath the crossbar.
Soccer is a sport designed to give skill the advantage over force. The Laws permit physical contact, but limit it to non-dangerous forms. Other kinds of contact are illegal and are penalized by the referee. Careless, reckless, or unnecessarily hard contact by a player on his opponent does not become legal simply because the ball was struck in the process.
Referees penalize only clear infringements. In fact, they are specifically instructed not to penalize doubtful or trifling breaches of the Laws. In other words, the game is supposed to "flow", and the referee is expected to interfere only to protect the safety of the players or to ensure equity according to the Laws. The referee is explicitly given broad latitude to judge when his/her interference is needed. This is in sharp contrast with many sports popular in the United States, in which spectators expect the referee to stop play for all sorts of trifling violations. A knowledgeable spectator will understand and appreciate why, for example, a referee ignores inconsequential jostling between opponents and allows the game to precede uninterrupted.
When the referee stops the game, (s)he does not signal the reason for the stoppage. Instead, arm signals are used to indicate how the game is to be restarted. In unusual circumstances, the referee may explain a particular decision to the players. A spectator who finds the lack of explanatory signals frustrating will want to read an introduction to the game, such as AYSO's booklet The ABCs of Soccer.
Team Parent Description
AYSO Soccer has always required the support of many adults in order to provide the best possible soccer experience for the children and young adults participating. The Team Parent helps to ease the workload of the team coaches by organizing parents for the following tasks. Every parent on each team should do one of these roles.
- Host team meeting for coaches, players, and parents at the start of the season.
- Prepare and distribute the team roster and snack list.
- Pick up and distribute the team uniforms and return unused uniforms to the uniform coordinator.
- Make sure the team shows up on time for Picture Day.
- Pick up and return balls and cones for the team.
- Find "net parents" to put up or take down nets when the team has the first or last game at the field.
- For Under-6 through Under-10, help recruit two parents (or more) to be the referees for your team games. AYSO provides uniforms and training. Each team is required to have two trained referees available to assist with the games, and to provide one certified referee for each game.
- Make a team banner.
- Help the coach find additional people to help with practices.
- Find somebody to coordinate season end activities.
- For divisions that keep standings, report scores to the Division Coordinator.
- Everyone Plays Our goal is for kids to play soccer. So we mandate that every player on every team must play at least half of every game.
- Balanced Teams We set up teams as evenly balanced as possible - because it's more fun when teams of equal ability play.
- Positive Coaching The way to make winning kids is by building them up, not down. We train and encourage our coaches to make the extra effort to understand and offer positive help to our players, rather than negative criticism.
- Open Registration Our programs are open to all children between the ages of 5 and 18 who want to register and play soccer. Interest and enthusiasm are the only criteria for playing.
- Good Sportsmanship We desire to create a positive environment based on mutual respect, rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude. All our programs must be designed to instill good sportsmanship in every facet of AYSO.
- 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.
You can download the AYSO Kids Zone Pledge by clicking here.
AYSO Kids Zone Pledge