It’s true. Other soccer clubs in the county charge a ridiculous amount of money to coach children in soccer. Did you know that other clubs also charge monthly coaching fees, often around $50 per child? And when these teams travel to tournaments (another cost), the coach is also provided a stipend? We understand when parents complain of sticker shock.
At AYSO, the volunteer spirit is alive and well. You can see that reflected in our Matrix competitive program, and our core recreational soccer program. Our volunteer staff of coaches believes in community service. They are trained in service. It is simple to define. A vol·un·teer: a person who performs or offers to perform a service voluntarily. Allow me to elaborate. It is also someone who does not make money capitalizing on the hopes and dreams of our youth. It is a mystery how other clubs, with so much of their income devoted to youth coach ‘salaries,’ are able to retain their nonprofit status. If ever there was a ‘gaming’ of IRS rules, this would seem to fall into that.
At South Bay Matrix FC, we repeatedly remind our coaches of the importance of aligning their mission with ours. AYSO’s philosophies are living tenets that separate it from other sports organizations. They are: Everyone Plays®, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development.
Our program’s goal is for kids to play soccer so we mandate that every player on every team must play at least 50% of every game. It’s no fun to spend the game on the bench…and that’s no way to learn soccer!
Each year we form 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.
Our program is open to all children between 4 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.
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.
We strive to create a positive environment based on mutual respect rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude, and our program is designed to instill good sportsmanship in every facet of AYSO.
We believe 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 key to implementing these philosophies is our cadre of volunteer coaches. Nothing beats the spirit of a volunteer. So next time you are on the fields, make sure to thank a volunteer. (And, yes, this article was written free of charge.)
—Anthony Millican, South Bay AYSO/South Bay Matrix FC
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