AYSO National Philosophies and Challenges

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, at last. It is very convenient 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 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 the promising. America needed youth soccer to be re-organized at the managementl level. 
 
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. 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 thart 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 youith 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 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 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."  
 
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. 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 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. 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 and its Pioneers.
 
In addition, we plan to include a detailed presentation herein of EVERYONE IS INVITED to play in AYSO. The objectives here are manyfold. 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 playing in AYSO. The Pioneers of AYSO, 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 and improved fair play is an on-going effort and is high on the list of concerns for our youth to play soccer.
 
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 friends 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 parent's efforts in raising a family within OUR AYSO FAMILY. Understanding the "CHALLENGES" is to understand the foundation for success in each region throughout the Americas.
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