Youth Soccer Season Begins; or, AYSO stands for “All Your Saturdays are Ours”

Readers of this blog may remember Irvine Councilwoman Christina Shea questioning what I’ve done for my community lately, and to clue Ms. Shea in, I’ve been managing the Girls U8 division for AYSO North Irvine Region 213 as Commissioner.  \


It’s been a busy few weeks clearing coaches, recruiting referees, matching players up (by school and by neighborhood), helping parents who registered their girls late get on a team with at least one friend.  I’m a volunteer after all (and I will be selling game programs at tonight’s Irvine Stadium tonight at 6PM before the Northwood-University game at 7PM), and an unpaid volunteer at that.

Some parents get upset because their daughter isn’t on a team with her friends; this can usually be avoided by being thorough on the soccer registration form.  If you don’t list what school your daughter attends or what friends you’d like her paired with or whcih coach you’d like the play for, you need to know I don’t have psychic powers.  I have nearly 99 girls in my league and teams are often out together in the weeks many folks are gone on vacation.  I do my best.

Hundreds of hours are spent by hundreds of volunteers who put the league together, all because we want our kids to have a positive experience in youth sports.  We want them to have fun.  So with the season starting tomorrow, here’s some points of reference for parents (which apply to sons too):

1. If you don’t like the way the league is run or the way the coach is coaching the team, volunteer.

2.  Cheer for your daughter, your team and every good play during the game; let the coach do the coaching. 

3.  If you win, be gracious.

4.  If you lose, be gracious.

5.  Have fun, always emphasize the positive and never, ever forget your turn for treat day.

6. If you have a legitimate complaint, there is a chain of command; follow it until you get answers and be prepared to get an answer you may not want.  There is always some underlying reason why things are done they way they are done.

7.  If you have a suggestion to improve some aspect of the way the league is run, congratulations on volunteering.

8.  You meet some great people through soccer.  My daughter’s Godparents were on my son’s U5 team in 1997; they were over for dinner Monday night.  They are like family.  And one of my best soccer buds was my assistant coach in 2004; he is a former member of the Lincoln Club board.  We traded emails a couple of days about some administrative issue as his daughter is part of a different soccer district now. I value his friendship, while disagreeing with his politics.  He is only one of the few Republicans I know with a thick skin and a great sense of humor about politics. He can take it and dish it out.  You have to respect that.

9.  Lastly, it’s not about you; its about your player.  Have fun!

  3 comments for “Youth Soccer Season Begins; or, AYSO stands for “All Your Saturdays are Ours”

  1. Northcountystorm
    September 7, 2007 at 4:03 pm


    Good for you! And great advice, especially to remind parents that its all about the kid not about them. I’d add that while an occasional bronx cheer at the ref or linesmen aren’t too bad , constant badgering and arguing with them is bad form, can get you thrown off the field, can get your coach penalized and is a bad example to set for your player.

  2. September 7, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    I served on my AYSO board for a for a few years in the 90s. It was a really great experience. For one thing, I had spent most of my life until then around geeks and my service to AYSO was my first time being around a lot of jocks. (I grew up prior to Title 9 and so, being female, sports experiences were limited for me.) It was a whole new world to me with attitudes and assumptions I had scarcely been exposed to.

    With one exception our kids had first-rate coaches. I think each of them had had at least one dysfunctional parent on a previous team and they all took pains to be sure the parents (and kids) on our teams understood the concept of sportsmanship. The lessons “took.” I can’t think of any time a parent on one of our teams got nasty with a ref.

    I had to laugh at your comment that “If you have a suggestion to improve some aspect of the way the league is run, congratulations on volunteering.” My board job was Communications, which meant that I responded to all the phone calls that came in from parents. Each time I heard a “suggestion” from a parent I would say cheerily, “What a fabulous idea! Do you think you could be in charge of making that happen?”

    Not a single parent ever took me up on it. To this day I successfully use that technique on the suggestion-makers I encounter.

  3. September 7, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    All Your Saturdays are Ours wins my vote! I’d like some of the parents of AYSO 630 to read this.

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