AYSO National Philosophies

During the first 50 years of AYSO there were many challenges to overcome in order to not only grow the youth sport of soccer in the Americas but also to have Americans at home with the feeling that soccer is an American sport. It is necessary to not be obligated to international "organizational" rules most applicable in other countries especially when the youth of America and their parents possess a major preference of youth first and then soccer. It was not intended to fault our immigrants, the traditionalists, but for too many decades the sport of youth soccer was confrontational in America when it came to playing style, organizational structure of soccer communities, and limitations of playing to only the promising. America needed youth soccer to be re-organized at the managementl level to fulfill the needs that would thrive in the midst of other youth sports. The AYSO Philosophy of EVERYONE PLAYS became the primary difference when compared to other youth sports but most intelligently, AYSO built upon this singular philosophy with additional philosophies that made the AYSO youth soccer program grow with the intent of reaching every elementary school student in the Americas. As we progress it is important that the new Pioneers of AYSO implement additional philosophies that will place the USA on top of the soccer world. Our Pioneers of AYSO history, to date, is deep rooted in our developing philosophies. Our past is the foundation for our future and we proceed with our independence as we intertwine with everyone.    
 
The five founders of AYSO lived the experience of limited success prior to their AYSO challenge of a break through that would have the sport of soccer equal to other American sports for our youth, if not better. It was a rare occurrence when five men with similar experiences, concepts, and goals gathered together and would set aside the readily acceptable norms that would simply continue the limited path that many well-intended men had previously exercised. The location of the Cities of Torrance and Culver City in Southern California provided a unique opportuntiy for the new success of the Americanization of youth soccer operations. Fall and winter presented the least opposition for commencement of AYSO and in fact, the parents were seeking a sport that was basically that of running and not primarily the use of eye-hand coordination as the prime asset. Youth soccer was ideal to capture not only the joy of parents watching their offspring receive plenty of physical exercise but there was a major leadership skill to be learned via soccer. Leadership on the field was to replace continuous instructions from the coach as noted in other youth sports. Leadership skills were to be developed after the game started and the coach was to be limited in expression other than his instructions primarily before game time and at half-time. Players soon fell in love with the sport of soccer; unobstructed by coaches, time outs, etc., but requiring both individual and team play; the game of soccer in itself was the main builder of character amongst our youth. Yes, the true success story in soccer is the game of soccer itself; it was "love available."  AYSO provided an opportunity to evolve with an Americanization of the worldwide sport most played and with a multitude of immigrants the task of uniting them required special action items that were nominally unacceptable for decades before.   
 
The AYSO Philosophy that EVERYONE PLAYS, initiated by the five founders, became the hallmark for many additional AYSO Philosophies as the years accumulated and challenges emerged. There are many good reasons for every player to participate on the field of play.  First, it is on the field of play that a player through participation finds his love for the sport and  the lesson of working together with players of different skills mirrors the future life challenges and learning this lesson at the earliest of ages is worthy to each player and their different skills. The advantages inherent in soccer with its freedom of expression and innovation, especially at at an early age, and, most importantly, in sharing the stage while teaching a fellow individual to  be a team player during their development period is only possible when EVERYONE PLAYS. The Pioneers of AYSO were challenged by many obstacles but the foundation provided by EVERYONE PLAYS resulted in not only the development of leadership skills by the players but also, and as important, the patience of the parents who knew in their heart that their offspring would succeed in life only if his youth days were shared with the same patience. EVERYONE PLAYS, the first AYSO Philosophy, was introduced at the beginning and fully accepted by the parents and players who would soon find that playing in a sport is a treasure for everyone.   
  
Yet, the challenges were many even if finances to equip were minimal, comparatively. During growth, balancing of teams required innovative steps due to coaches annually unwilling to release their best skilled players, understandably so. While a good player may benefit by having  the best coach for years in a row, the greater advantage to all of the youth was the lesson learned by different strategies of play offered by a multiplicity of coaches. The lack of fair play by an outdated refereeing system of mechanics was quickly evidenced by the parent observing unseen intentional fouls amongst the more crafty players. The inabilities because of lack of playing experience by the parents created innocent, unwanted pressures upon the players and the coaches. The lack of high school and professional soccer in providing "good images" of success was very noticeable in the first years.. The negatives were many but, with patience, the advantages came forth. Southern California with its Aerospace Industry "boom" inherited a new "brain drain" of soccer experts from foreign lands and their love for the game provided the expertise required of the youth game. Although a very slow start for the first three years, the challenge was met by the continuous addition of basic AYSO Philosophies that were developed on the foundation of EVERYONE PLAYS. It is the AYSO Philosophies that initially differentiated AYSO  from other youth sports. The five founders, in their wisdom, not only established the foundation but also encouraged the additional AYSO Philosophies to be incorporated. When Bill Hughes, one of the Founders, in his first edition of the Rules and Regulations placed the AYSO Philosophy of EVERYONE PLAYS as a "must" on the first day of organization, the future of AYSO success was guaranteed by the new youth soccer enthusiasts of the Americas.  
 
Soon, balanced teams were mandated to provide competitive soccer for every individual. Playing time was increased for the ones who needed the experience most. Improved schools for coaches, referees, administrators, came forth. Most importantly, as initially noted especially in Torrance, the city government and public recreational facilities were demonstrably made available to AYSO primarily because of the solid Philosophies inherent in AYSO. The addition of regions in the South Bay of Los Angeles announced a new time period in the growth of youth soccer and most importantly, the eight regions out of Torrance in 1969-70 accentuated their inheritance by exporting to many new locations and many other States benefitted by the solidarity of AYSO at the National level and its Pioneers at all levels.
 
We plan to include a detailed presentation herein of the AYSO Phuilosophy of EVERYONE IS INVITED to play in AYSO. The objectives here are manifold. By inviting every youth throughout America, we plan to fulfill the EVERYONE PLAYS philosophy that makes AYSO a unique success. Furthermore, there are potential World Cup players, who may as an uninvited youth, be located in an isolated circumstance and finding him will add credence to one of the many benefits of player development in AYSO. The Pioneers of AYSO, in the APAYSO history is to be your story, our story, AND we have just begun the enjoyable trek with our childrens' children.    
 
In addition, to "Everyone Plays, Balanced Teams, and Everyone Invited" the chalenges to AYSO in order to succeed to an all-encompassing status required resolving action in many philosphies including "Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship, Player Development," and most importantly, the many studies into achieving "Fair Play" through every aspect of the game of soccer amongst our youth. "Referee Mechanics" that would encourage the addition of new referees, extended referee life, and improved fair play is an on-going effort and is high on the list of concerns for our youth to play soccer. The basic philosophies have been initiated and will be continuouisly refined with others to be added to ensure the best of advantages to the Pioneers of  AYSO and their assistance to the growth of American soccer at all levels. Many "others" will claim their significant importance (rightfully so) to the growth of soccer in America but the proof in the pudding is that the Pioneers of AYSO, as noted herein, is that the "day of dawning" truly occurred when the AYSO Philosophies placed the welfare of youth ahead of the sport of soccer and actually enhanced the sport of soccer in the Americas at the foumdation where it must spring from, our youth, all of them.   
 
Throughout the Pioneers of AYSO story you will read the accomplishments of every region, eventually, and you will evidence the "good work" of many a parent and friend of AYSO that not only pioneered youth soccer at the beginning in their hometown but also of the challenges ahead to "work together, play together, and grow together."  With AYSO INVITING EVERYONE, there will be new challenges more difficult than in the past but also equally satisfying to the new Pioneers of AYSO who strive to place their youth above the sport, a measurement for success where it counts.         
 
The future of AYSO is in the hands of today's pioneers and their success will always depend on their ability to overcome the outside pressures that have not experienced the thrills of observing our young in their quest for enjoyment as we place "youth" before the game in order to work together and allow them to play together.  Each region's story best exemplifies the parents' efforts in raising a family within OUR AYSO FAMILY. Understanding the "CHALLENGES" is to understand the foundation and AYSO Philosophies for success in the Americas.
 
The Pioneers of AYSO urges all pioneers, past and present, to contribute additional philosophies as we grow and, especially, to improve the implemenntaion of the philosophies as written herein.  It will be the continuing development and the additional philosphies to be developed that will result in the Americas becoming one of the best soccer countries on the world scene.