AYSO National Games: A First for Florida

June 21, 2010

June 7, 2010

Contact: Kimberly Whetsel, Director of Marketing





AYSO National Games:  A First for Florida


Nine thousand soccer players, coaches, officials and spectators will descend on Palm Beach County for the 2010 American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) National Games, July 4-11.


This event only takes place every two years and this is the first time the AYSO National Games will take place in Florida, let alone anywhere in the Southeast.  Approximately 200 teams from all over the country will come together for a week of soccer, cultural exchange and fun.   


AYSO Section 14 is playing host for the 2010 National Games. The Section, which encompasses most of the state (except the panhandle), parts of South Carolina and parts of Georgia, is relatively new, having started in October 2001. But Section Director, Wendy Smith, believes they are up to the challenge of hosting this special AYSO event, "We are a small Section, but we felt that the National Games would bring exposure… to our Section better than anything else we could ever do without spending a lot of money," she said.


The National Games will take place at the International Polo Club in Wellington.  One of the unique requirements in hosting this tournament is the challenge of finding 30 soccer fields in one location.  The Palm Beach County Sports Commission assisted AYSO Section 14 in bidding on and securing the 2010 National Games.  Through creative venue management, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Section 14 are able to convert one polo field into four soccer fields.  The Sports Commission also assisted Section 14 by providing a $25,000 grant and securing an additional grant of $20,000 from the Florida Sports Foundation.  The event is expected to generate an estimated 10,000 room nights and $5 million in economic impact.  George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, said “It is very exciting to host such a prominent event.  This is the largest amateur sporting event hosted in Palm Beach County since National Hockey Festival in 2005.”


AYSO differentiates itself from other soccer organizations and tournaments through its mission and philosophies.  The AYSO mission is to develop and deliver quality youth soccer programs which promote a fun, family environment.  AYSO also puts a strong emphasis on its core six philosophies.  AYSO's philosophies are living tenets that separate it from other sports organizations.   Everyone Plays®, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development are the cornerstones of the six philosophies illustrated below:


Everyone Plays®: The AYSO goal is for kids to play soccer so it is mandated that every player on every team must play at least 50% of every game.

Balanced Teams: Each year AYSO forms new teams as evenly balanced as possible because it’s more fun and a better learning experience when teams of similar ability play. It allows for each player to gain the experience of a wide variety of teammates of different skill levels.

Open Registration: The AYSO program is open to all children between four and 19 years of age who want to register and play soccer. Interest and enthusiasm are the only criteria for playing. There are no elimination try-outs and nobody gets cut.

Positive Coaching: Encouragement of player effort provides for greater enjoyment for the players and leads to better-skilled and better-motivated players. A coach can be one of the most influential people in a child’s life, so AYSO requires they create a positive experience for every boy and girl.

Good Sportsmanship:  AYSO strives to create a positive environment based on mutual respect rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude, and the program is designed to instill good sportsmanship in every facet of AYSO.

Player Development:  The AYSO belief is that all players should be able to develop their soccer skills and knowledge to the best of their abilities, both individually and as members of a team, in order to maximize their enjoyment of the game.


The 2010 AYSO National Games is seeking more than 100 volunteers to assist before, during and after the games.  For information about volunteering contact Martha Vargas at fvbiker1@comcast.net.  Volunteer referees that are AYSO or FIFA certified are also needed.  Contact Nemesio Caraballo, Section 14 Referee Administrator, at aysos14ra@aol.com regarding referee opportunities. 


About Palm Beach County Sports Commission

The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is a private, not-for-profit organization contracted by Palm Beach County to promote and market the County as a sports and sports tourism destination.  The Commission brings sporting events and activities to the County, enhances economic impact, stimulates bed tax revenues (primarily in the off-season) and maximizes utilization of County facilities.  The Commission offers a full range of event service support, corporate partnerships, sponsorships and a local membership program that support its goals.  Local, regional, national and international marketing efforts are ongoing by the Commission with sports organizations and event owners.  The Commission also produces sports-related programs for the residents of Palm Beach County including the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame, the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches and awards the annual Sam Budnyk Student-Athlete Scholarship.  For more information on the Palm Beach County Sports Commission go to www.palmbeachsports.com.




Just Bring Your Game