Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Park is the proud home of AYSO Region 58, where over 1,400 kids spend Saturdays together developing a life-long passion for soccer!
What is AYSO? The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) was established in the Los Angeles area in 1964 with nine teams. It was the dream of a group of devoted soccer enthusiasts who started the organization in a garage. Today, AYSO has more than 50,000 teams and more than 650,000 players. It also employs 50 people at its National Support and Training Center in Hawthorne. The AYSO National web
Dear AYSO Region 58 Families,
My term as Regional Commissioner comes to an end this month. As I reflect over the last six years, I am impressed by what we as a community have accomplished.
For three years in a row, our region has achieved platinum status, the highest award available on the AYSO Regional Assessment Program. Despite declining nationwide enrollment, our region has won the President’s award for increasing our total player number to about 1,500, making us the largest Region in our Area. Last season we had over 400 registered volunteers and over 50 people on our board, by far the largest volunteer enrollment in our Area and double the number we had just a few years ago. We updated nearly all of our regional policies, putting in place rules for dealing with heat, a new rating system, and a more equitable and transparent all star selection process. We launched a youth ref initiative and in 2019 fielded our first all youth ref squad. Our Region also had the distinction of fielding both the youngest and oldest refs in AYSO in the same season.
But the most important achievement is not the numbers, it is the culture on the field. My predecessor, Jeffrey Hartsough, established a firm principle in our Region that child development comes first. To me, that has always been the primary goal of our program. Ted Lasso summed it up best for me when he said, “For me, success is not about the wins and losses. It’s about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field.” The volunteers who donate their time to lead this Region have consistently focused on the message that this is not about winning games. In our communications, our trainings, our management, and our on field conduct we have made clear that our program is about providing an experience for our kids and our community that gives them a sense of belonging and helps them develop as people, not just soccer players. It’s why we do Silent Saturdays. It’s why we spend so much time in trainings reiterating AYSO principles. It’s why we set up a coach mentoring program. It’s why we honor coaches and refs who enhance the experience for the players, regardless of whether they win games. It’s why we rely on volunteers like you to coach, ref, and manage the Region and set an example of service for our kids to follow.
Over the past few years I have been thrilled to see the impact this has had on the field. Parents have approached me unsolicited to tell me what a positive experience their kids are having in our park. We get regular feedback on Facebook and Yelp thanking us for the program we run. Parents have emailed me asking what they can do to help, maybe of whom have gone on to coach, ref, join the board, or pitch in on division days. And in the end, that’s what really makes our region thrive. Every person who volunteers helps build a positive life experience for our kids that can have a lasting impact in their lives.
One of my most moving experiences as commissioner happened off the field. A parent in our region asked me if his elementary school age son could interview me. I agreed, although was perplexed why he would want to do that. The parent explained the his son had an assignment from school to interview a hero in the community and he chose me. I had never thought of myself that way, but talking to that player helped me understand the real impact of the work we do and the value that AYSO has to the kids who play in our park.
There are literally hundreds of local heroes who selflessly contribute their time every year to make this program possible. You can find them on the fields and see some of their names on our website. There are certainly too many for me to list. But there are a few people who I especially want to thank for their help over the past six years. I could not have done the job without the support of prior commissioners Jeffrey Hartsough and Joe Lewis. I cannot thank them enough for their time, their wisdom, and their support. My assistant commissioners, Marita Koudsi, Ken Hunt, Rich Becker, and Jorge Otano shouldered an immense amount of work. Jon Connolly and Damon Fortier were incredible troopers, usually being the first and last people at the park making sure that our fields were set up and taken down. Steve Davis was instrumental in setting up so many of our systems that I never could have figured out on my own. David Rosenblatt, David Ruckman, and Brie Childers helped Marshall the coaches. And Mark Reveche was with me the entire six years, spending nearly every Saturday in the park with me keeping a vigilant watch over all of the volunteers. Mark, the eagle has now landed and we can leave the bogey hunting to the next crew.
And speaking of the next crew, I am very excited to have Sasha Saldana replacing me as Regional Commissioner next month. I had hoped to spend the last year training her on the field and making for a smooth transition, but COVID had other plans. Sasha, however, has been a trooper. She has approached the role with incredible enthusiasm. Sasha shares the vision of focusing our program on child development and has some great ideas on how to do that even better. Though I will no longer be RC, I will still be in the park and volunteering. I am remaining on the region’s board so I can help Sasha implement her vision. I still have a player in the program and I’m looking forward to volunteering in other ways. Don’t be surprised to find me on your sidelines reffing your kids games.
It truly has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your Regional Commissioner for the past six years. I am humbled by the amount of time I see so many people give to our region and the dedication we all share to providing a positive soccer experience and life experience to the kids in our community. For over 50 years, Region 58 has been providing that experience in VNSO park and I’m looking forward to working with you all to ensure that it continues for another 50 and more. I am grateful to everyone who has volunteered their time in our region and I look forward to working with you to help Sasha move our program forward.
AYSO Region 58
This is an exciting 3 Things update. Over 11 million people have now been vaccinated in California and that number increases daily. Los Angeles County recently moved down from the purple tier into the red tier. The California Department of Public Health recently published new guidelines on returning to play youth sports (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/outdoor-indoor-recreational-sports.aspx?fbclid=IwAR12PmgUufuVAjhuJQh0bq3lT9vdBQ_DxVeM9kfageaGODoTd5YeyhzXdr4). The City of Los Angeles has been allowing non-contact practices with great success for the past couple of months and is poised to issue permits for return to youth games. We are finally getting back to play! So here are 3 things you need to know about AYSO58 this week:
Spring Soccer: We are moving forward with the Spring League (https://www.ayso58.org/Default.aspx?tabid=959130) and camp (https://www.ayso58.org/Default.aspx?tabid=959137) programs run by our friends at UK International Soccer. More information is available on our website (https://www.ayso58.org/default.aspx?portalid=14780) and you can sign up on the UK Soccer website (https://www.uksoccer.com/Online/A399.php?ZIP=91423&DIST=2). Contact UK Soccer at [email protected] for more information about COVID compliance protocols. The City has let us know that we may be able to play games this Spring, but we will do so only if approved and safe.
Social Media: To celebrate our impending return to play, we are launching a social media campaign. Please post pictures of your soccer memories and tag our region. Please use the hashtags #iwantmyayso and #returntoplay58. Encourage your friends to participate and let’s see if we can start an online movement.
Fall Soccer: Given the current progress, we do expect to be able to return to play with games in the Fall. The season is tentatively scheduled to start on September 11th. We expect to open up registration in April, but likely waitlist only until we actually receive our permits from the City. We will send out more information when we are ready to begin registration.
Thank you for your continuing support of our program and we look forward to seeing you back on the fields.
With the roll out of COVID vaccinations picking up steam, we are finally beginning to see the light at the end of this tunnel. Unfortunately, case numbers remain high in Los Angeles and it is going to be months before most of us are able to get vaccinated. As much as we want to get our families back on the field, the safety of our players and volunteers is of paramount importance.
In light of the December spike, we have abandoned our plans for a Winter non-contact skills training program. We are still hoping to host a Spring program run by UK soccer starting in April. We are working with the city to see if that might be possible and will likely have a better idea as the COVID numbers begin to improve over the next few weeks. If we are able to run the Spring program, we will provide more information as soon as it is approved.
We do expect to be able to resume our usual Fall season in August of 2021. By then we anticipate that the level of vaccination will be high enough to allow us to run games. We hope to have more information about the Fall season by the end of March.
We appreciate your patience and continued support and we look forward to getting the kids back out onto the field and resuming play as soon as we can safely do so.
Thank you to the members of our community who volunteered and donated today to help support our food drive. The food collected today will go a long way towards helping ensure that families in our community do not go hungry over the holidays. We especially want to thank the players who helped out with their time and their contributions. AYSO is not just about soccer, it is about teaching character and giving back.
The winning raffle numbers are 244, 247, and 265. To claim your prize, email David Schnider at [email protected] with a picture of your winning ticket.
Final reminder that our food drive is tomorrow from 11am to 3pm. Drop off at Temple Beth Hillel at 12326 Riverside Drive in Valley Village. We have three $50 Amazon gift cards to raffle off to anyone who donates at least 5 items. Thank you for supporting us and for helping our community.
Associated Press reported today that over 50 million Americans will be facing hunger this year. Demand at food banks has increased 60% since the start of the pandemic. Now is your chance to do something about it!
Our region is hosting a drive to collect food for the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry. All you need to do to help is go to the market and buy normal size containers of peanut butter, soup, tuna, or other similar items and drop them off at Temple Beth Hillel (12326 Riverside Drive, Valley Village, CA 91607) between 11am and 3pm this Sunday, December 13th. It will be a drive through collection so you don't even have to get out of your car. If every family in our region dropped off just one bag of groceries, we could feed 1,000 families.
Please make sure all donations are in plastic or metal containers — NO glass. It should be normal size servings, not Costco size. No expired food. Please donate to help prevent families and children in our community from going hungry this holiday season.
Help us support our community by donating food to the Interfaith Food Pantry on December 13th. Our region is hosting a food drive for the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry to help feed those in need for the holidays. Please plan to drive through Temple Beth Hillel between 11am and 3pm and drop off new, individual sized containers of peanut butter, fruit, protein, cereal, or snacks. Please no glass, no large sizes, and no expired food. We are counting on your support.
We hope that you are staying healthy and safe during these unusual times. As you know, as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic we had to cancel our Fall 2020 season. For those still waiting on refunds, thank you for your patience and we hope to have them in the mail in the next couple of weeks. We miss being on the field and are saddened by the lost playing opportunities for our kids. But we recognize that the safety of our players and volunteers must come first and that this sacrifice is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.
We are hopeful that we might be able to provide a short course of non-contact skills training sessions this Fall conducted by our volunteer coaches. Our ability to do so is primarily dependent on the City issuing permits and on our ability to deliver a program that complies with applicable safety guidance and requirements.
Whether the City allows such programs this Fall will depend on how COVID cases progress in the County. They were on the decline, but have spiked again since Labor Day. This is where you can help! Please remember to maintain social distance. Limit gatherings with people outside of your immediate family. When you do socialize, please make sure to wear masks, stay outside, and maintain at least 6 feet distance. As we have unfortunately learned this week, this virus can spread anywhere when we do not take these precautions. If we want to play this Fall or even in the Spring, we each need to do our part to reduce the rate of infection in our County. So please make sure that you and your family help get us back out on the field by following the CDC guidelines for preventing the virus from spreading, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/index.html.
If you are looking for ways to keep your kids engaged in soccer activities in the meantime, our friends at UK International Soccer have developed a Skill Development App that offers age-specific skills, drills and games, all delivered by their fantastic UK coaches. Right now UK Soccer is offering a 30-day free trial for AYSO families. To take advantage of this offer, visit their website at https://skills.app.uksoccer.com and click on the Free Trial button. Choose your child’s age group and sign up using the code UKISFREE.
Thank you for your support and we will be sure to let you know when we have playing opportunities available for our kids.
skills.app.uksoccer.com As part of our 'GOAL' Loyalty Program, you will receive FREE ACCESS to our NEW APP for the rest of 2020!
We are sad and disappointed to have to inform you that the upcoming 2020 AYSO Fall Soccer Season has been cancelled. This decision was not made easily, but all Regions and Areas in Section 10 have made the same decision. Everyone was hoping and looking forward to getting the Fall Season going, but the changes in the Covid-19 Emergency in L.A. County and the state as a whole have changed that outlook. The rise in Covid-19 cases statewide, the state toggling back opening different sectors, CIF moving all high school sports to next year and schools unable to open for in-person learning have made having a Fall Soccer Season impossible as of today.
Although we will not be able to have a traditional formal fall season, your Section 10, Area 10V and Region 58 board members have all expressed their dedication to try and get any sort of activity/events in place for our soccer players once state and local leaders allow. These possible activities or events could be skills training clinics, jamboree style pickup games, or even the possibility of a more formal spring season. As of now, all options are on the table, but we cannot make decisions until the situation in the state, county, and city change. Once we have more information and are able to have events, we will inform you immediately.
Once we are able to resume play in any form, we will need to abide by the guidelines set by the state and county health departments. AYSO has put together a microsite that has information for our parents and volunteers, including the Return to Play Guidelines. The website is a live document, meaning changes will be made as the situation continues to evolve. Local county and city laws and/or guidelines will be monitored by your Section, Area and Region, and we will keep all of our AYSO families informed. You may access the AYSO microsite here at https://www.aysovolunteers.org/returning-to-play/.
If you paid to register for the Fall 2020 season, we will be issuing refunds for the full amount of fees paid. We are working on our process now and will be in touch shortly. Please understand that our volunteers will need to manually process over 150 refunds by hand and it will take some time.
Please keep yourself and your families safe and healthy. We miss our AYSO families and players terribly, but look forward to seeing you in the near future when we are able to get back on the field.
Thank you and take care.
aysovolunteers.org AYSO/AYSO United Return-to-Play Notice Download here – English AYSO/AYSO United Return-to-Play Notice Download here – Spanish As guidelines are loosened and communities reengage in activities once again, it is imperative that Regions follow state and local public health department recomm...
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