US Youth Soccer
Approximately 3 million players between the ages of five and 19 are registered with US Youth Soccer, which maintains a network of 55 state associations. Programs are administered with the help of more than 300,000 coaches and 600,000 volunteers.
US Youth Soccer offers both recreational and competitive programs. The recreational programs offer great opportunities for players primarily interested in fun, fitness and friendship. Small-sided games are encouraged for players under the age of 10. For more advanced players, US Youth Soccer offers highly competitive or select leagues including the National Championship Series, Olympic Development Program and National League.
In addition, US Youth Soccer offers TOP Soccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) for young athletes who are mentally or physically challenged and Soccer Across America for young people living in underserved or economically disadvantaged areas.
Every year the organization also stages a National Youth Championship with different national titles up for grabs in boys and girls soccer for youth players from Under-14 through Under-19. The Under-19 Boys’ James P. McGuire Cup is the most prestigious of the competition’s trophies, dating back to 1935. First competed in 1980, the J. Ross Stewart Cup for Under-19 Girls is the oldest women’s youth trophy.
In the summer of 2005, US Youth Soccer moved their national headquarters to the new soccer complex constructed in Frisco, Texas, where they share office space with FC Dallas of MLS.
2011 US Youth Soccer National Champions
Under-14 Boys: Fullerton Rangers 96 White (Calif.)
Under-15 Boys: Chicago Fire Juniors (Ill.)
Under-16 Boys: Concorde Fire Elite (Ga.)
Under-17 Boys: Grand Rapids Crew Juniors (Mich.)
Under-18 Boys: YMS Thunder (Pa.)
Under-19 Boys: Baltimore Bays Chelsea (Md.)
Under-14 Girls: Sting 97 (Texas)
Under-15 Girls: PDA Slammers (N.J.)
Under-16 Girls: Sting 95 (Texas)
Under-17 Girls: NSA Premier Fury (Ill.)
Under-18 Girls: Colorado Rush Nike (Colo.)
Under-19 Girls: Dallas Texans 92 Red Dalls (Texas)
American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO)
Founded in 1964, the AYSO is a national association affiliated with U.S. Soccer and operates soccer programs with more than 650,000 children participating throughout the U.S. AYSO operates programs so young people can learn to develop a positive self-image, self-confidence and other character traits through their interest and participation in the sport.
AYSO’s success has been based on the philosophies of “Everyone Plays” and “Balanced Teams,” ideas that were originated by founder Hans F.W. Stierle. AYSO requires every player to play at least half of every game and that individual teams are balanced every year to assure fair play. Other AYSO tenets include open registration, positive coaching and good sportsmanship.
AYSO is a volunteer-driven organization of more than 260,000 parents and friends who serve as coaches, referees and team administrators. A full-time staff administers AYSO from the organization’s National Support & Training Center in Torrance, Calif.
US Club Soccer
US Club Soccer is a non-profit organization committed to the development and support of soccer clubs in the United States.
Currently a National Association member, US Club Soccer has been a member in good standing of the U.S. Soccer Federation since 2001. A nine-member Board of Directors, all of whom must be experienced coaches in member soccer clubs, makes policy decisions for the organization.
Among the guiding principles of US Club Soccer’s 10-year vision:
- Clubs are the vehicle through which players are developed, and US Club Soccer should aid in club development.
- Clubs and their leadership should be the primary decision-makers in the structure and organization of soccer.
- US Club Soccer should provide leadership and a vehicle for clubs and technical leaders to work together to elevate the game and player development environment.
US Club Soccer’s local and national programs have all been developed with strong input from clubs around the country and with a minimum of rules and restrictions.
The latest of these programs are the National Premier Leagues (NPL), which are being created throughout the country to provide high level competition in given geographic areas, and to elevate and change the competitive youth landscape based upon US Club Soccer’s fundamental principles. These leagues extend developmental principals espoused by the U.S. Soccer Development Academy into younger age groups and additional clubs, providing a platform for long-term player development.
With the addition of US Club Soccer’s National Adult Leagues platform aimed at expanding adult soccer at all levels of play, clubs are able to unite youth and adult programs seamlessly under one organizational umbrella. This follows the successful world model of full integration at all ages and allows for the creation of a “members for life” culture within each club.
A sampling of US Club Soccer programs include:
- Player and staff registration, including insurance coverage and flexible roster rules for optimum player development
- id2 National Player Identification and Development Program, including Player Development Programs (PDPs)
- National, regional and state championship competitions
- League sanctioning and administration
- Tournament sanctioning
- Club development and coaching education