What is AYSO?

National AYSO Organization

How we started

The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is the oldest national youth soccer program in the United States. AYSO was established with only nine teams by a handful of soccer enthusiasts in 1964 out of a garage in Torrance, Calif. They wanted to make sure American kids were introduced to the beautiful game. Five decades later, AYSO has thriving programs in nearly 900 communities all over the country, over six million AYSO alumni and a logo that’s recognized nationwide. Great soccer starts here!

Who we are

AYSO is a non-profit organization that provides youth soccer programs for participants all over the United States and internationally in the Virgin Islands and Trinidad and Tobago. Consisting of over 50,000 teams and 500,000 players nationwide, AYSO is one of the leading youth soccer organizations in the world. It is often called “the biggest soccer club in the world.”

Our Vision 
To provide world class youth soccer programs that enrich children’s lives.

Our Mission 
To develop and deliver quality youth soccer programs which promote a fun, family environment based on our Six Philosophies.

What makes us different?

AYSO is a soccer program for the entire family. AYSO’s goal is for every girl and boy stepping on a soccer field to learn soccer and have a fun, fair and safe experience. But it’s also to ensure that the whole family can be involved creating memories that last a lifetime. AYSO’s kid-first approach makes us a leader in player development. Everybody likes to win, but developing successful players and people is what’s fundamental. We also create a terrific experience for parents who can be involved with their child as a coach or referee. Training is important to ensure that excellent experience, but it’s easy and usually free. We want to make sure it’s as much fun for mom and dad as it is for your players! With player development in mind, AYSO makes sure that no kid signs up to play soccer and ends up only riding the bench! That’s not how you learn the game. In AYSO, every player on every team plays at least 50 percent of every game.

Volunteer Power

AYSO runs on volunteer power. Nearly 150,000 registered volunteers run the local AYSO programs all over the country. Every coach, referee, Regional Commissioner – the list goes on – is a volunteer. Even the National Board of Directors and National President are AYSO volunteers. If it wasn’t for the thousands of volunteers throughout the U.S. donating their time every season, AYSO wouldn’t be as successful and far-reaching as it is today.

How we are structured

AYSO is structured by Regions, Areas and Sections:

Region: AYSO’s grassroots programs begin with a community-based league, called a Region. A Region can range in size from less than a hundred players to several thousand. Each Region is run by a volunteer Regional Commissioner and a volunteer Regional Board. Learn more about the seven required Board positions here. Regional Boards can also be much larger as Regions involve parents with special skills, community leaders and folks who just want to participate in helping families have a wonderful experience.

Area: A group of AYSO Regions combined form an Area. AYSO has close to 100 Areas nationwide. Area Directors are trained to support and mentor each of their Regions, and are responsible for oversight of activities within their Regions.

Section: AYSO divides the country into 14 geographic Sections based on player population. Section Directors are responsible for activities in their respective Section, ensuring that Areas and Regions comply with all AYSO fundamentals and deliver quality programs.

National Office: The AYSO National Office, located in Torrance, Calif., provides support to Regions, Areas, Sections and the National Board of Directors. The 50 National Office staff members are here to support AYSO programs and answer any questions AYSO families may have.

All administrators on the Regional, Area and Section levels are volunteers!

AYSO’s Six Philosophies

AYSO’s philosophies are living tenets that separate it from other sports organizations. They are Everyone Plays®, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development.

Everyone Plays®

Our program’s goal is for kids to play soccer so we mandate that every player on every team must play at least 50 percent of every game. It’s no fun to spend the game on the bench…and that’s no way to learn soccer!

Balanced Teams

Each year we form new teams as evenly balanced as possible because it’s more fun and a better learning experience when teams of similar ability play. It allows for each player to gain the experience of a wide variety of teammates of different skill levels.

Open Registration

Our program is open to all children between 4 and 19 years of age who want to register and play soccer. Interest and enthusiasm are the only criteria for playing. There are no elimination try-outs and nobody gets cut.

Positive Coaching

Encouragement of player effort provides for greater enjoyment for the players and leads to better-skilled and better-motivated players. A coach can be one of the most influential people in a child’s life, so AYSO requires they create a positive experience for every boy and girl.

Good Sportsmanship

We strive to create a positive environment based on mutual respect rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude, and our program is 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.