World Cup AYSO Youth Soccer Camps
AYSO, American Youth Soccer Organization, the National Association of the U.S Soccer Federation, is the largest youth organization in the United States. It was established in 1964 at a garage in Los Angeles and started out with 9 teams. Initially, it was a boy-oriented sport, until 1971 when two residents of San Fernando Valley developed a girls program. This program has grown over the years and currently makes 40 percent of the entire AYSO soccer make up.
Children and youth athletes with special needs are also welcome to the program. AYSO’s move to incorporate a player with Downs syndrome led to the introduction of the Special Olympics. From that initial setup, AYSO has progressed to a total of 75 programs and 1500 players with special needs.
Overall, AYSO soccer has more than 650,000 members and more than 50,000 teams. Managing such a large group can be tricky. The success AYSO enjoys would not be as big, was it not for the volunteers who help develop these young people. Volunteers consist of parents and others who act as sponsors. As volunteers, they serve in the program as coaches, referees, administrators, team parents and sponsors. The volunteers number more than 250,000 currently. With such huge support, it becomes easy to implement programs and keep moving forward.
All volunteers undergo continuous training on sports psychology, child safety, human behavior and child development. The aim of the program is to use its volunteers to develop an all round individual, while emphasizing and maintaining ethics and sportsmanship in youth soccer. This way, they are better equipped to relate with the players.
AYSO is involved in different events throughout the year. The organization has been holding Section Conferences over the years. This year, these conferences will not take place. Instead, a new program dubbed the AYSO Road Show will commence. It is a program focused on introducing additional training in areas with known weaknesses within each Section. Training will focus on developing core competencies in all disciplines.
AYSO soccer will use expert instructors from outside the organization to ensure that members get the best training from professionals. Volunteers too will attend Management (to fill positions in the Regional Board) and Referee (basic and intermediate) courses.
From the Sections, AYSO soccer holds annual national games, which are a weeklong event to celebrate youth soccer talent. The NAGM (National Annual General Meeting) brings together executive members from all areas, sections and regions. Here, issues affecting all sections are discussed and projections for the coming year made.
AYSO soccer has been deeply involved with the campaigns to have either the 2018 or the 2022 World Cup held in the U.S. The country hosted the event in 1994 and held the record for the best attended World Cup. They have been collecting petitions from like-minded people. If they push through and manage to beat the other 12 bidding countries, we could well be celebrating the World Cup in 2018 on our own soil!
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