AYSO will celebrate 50 years as the nation’s most active and open youth soccer organization in 2014. The year-long celebration with more than 50,000 teams, over 500,000 players and 125,000 volunteers will include a national youth soccer festival and over 100 community-based events that will set a record for the biggest pick-up soccer game in history.
“AYSO has enriched the lives of three generations and millions of children of all ages with the power of fun, family, healthy activity and sportsmanship through the game of soccer,” says Paula Berriz, AYSO’s National President. “Our 50th Anniversary is a tribute to the children, families, volunteers and neighbors who have shared, cared and played their way to healthier, happier communities.”
” AYSO is not only proud of its well-known alumni — star athletes such as Landon Donovan, Alex Morgan, Cobi Jones, Derek Jeter, Julie Foudy, Shannon Boxx and more — we’re extremely proud of the millions of children who grew into self- confident and stronger adults in both their physical ability and their overall personal development,” Berriz said.
The AYSO 50th Anniversary is aiming to set a World Record for the Biggest Pick-Up Game on Earth with AYSO’s #SoccerFest14 on May 3, 2014. AYSO’s #SoccerFEST14 is a one-day soccer extravaganza that will take place simultaneously across the country. Open to children of all ages, players are shuffled and put on brand new teams with new teammates. Kids and parents end the day with several fun games, healthy snacks and new friends. Tens of thousands of people are expected to participate in this world record event.
“This is a perfect way to mark our anniversary, because it demonstrates what AYSO stands for: teamwork, Everyone Plays and building confidence and friendships,” says Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, AYSO National Executive Director. “AYSO welcomed girls into organized soccer long before equal athletic opportunities were required by law. AYSO established its VIP (Very Important Player) leagues for players with special needs more than two decades ago, and we have vigorous scholarship programs at the national and local levels. We stand for the principle that Everyone Plays, so every child can reach his or her fullest potential.”
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