AYSO history

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 600,000 players, and it employs 40 people at the AYSO National Office in Torrance, California.

Over the years, AYSO has created many valuable programs and concepts. Most notably, AYSO revolutionized youth sports with its “Everyone Plays” and “Balanced Teams” philosophies. In AYSO, each child who registers is guaranteed to play at least half of every game (in Region 13, everyone in our Core Fall program plays three quarters of every game). To help create evenly matched games, all AYSO players are placed on new or “balanced” teams each year. These decisions are made based on each player’s skill level and the overall ability of the team.

Since its establishment, AYSO has continued to grow and offer its membership relevant programs. In 1971, two San Fernando Valley residents developed AYSO’s first girls program. In the mid 70s, AYSO welcomed the organization’s first player with Down Syndrome. As a result of this landmark decision, soccer was introduced into the Special Olympics, and today, AYSO offers the Very Important Player (VIP) program for kids with special needs. VIP boasts 75 programs and 1,500 players.

In 1995, two AYSO parents established the first AYSO program in Moscow. Today, AYSO programs exists in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and interest continues from Americans abroad looking to bring the values and philosophies of AYSO to expatriates and local communities alike.

AYSO is supported by more than 250,000 volunteers. Parents donate their time as coaches, referees, team parents, administrators or sponsors. In 1998, AYSO unveiled its new Coach Certification and Safe Haven programs. Each was designed to strengthen the organization’s role in child protection. Although AYSO is primarily a youth sports organization, it realizes the importance of providing a safe and healthy atmosphere for children. AYSO is continually working to improve the education of its volunteers in the fields of child development, human behavior, and sports psychology. A strong emphasis is placed on ethics and sportsmanship and the development of the whole child.

AYSO has been the leader in establishing groundbreaking youth soccer programs in the United States. The organization is proud to have paved the road for youth soccer in the 21st century.

Even more at Pioneers of AYSO 

Region 13 history

When AYSO was founded in 1964 by European soccer enthusiasts living in Torrance, California, Torrance became Region 1, followed by Arcadia (Region 2). In 1972, Pasadena, Altadena and La Cañada players separated from Arcadia. There were previously 16 regions in AYSO at that time, and #13 hadn’t previously been taken. Today, nearly 650,000 boys and girls and 250,000 volunteer coaches, referees and administrators are members of AYSO, comprising over 1000 regions in all with over 50,000 teams. Region 13 is one of the largest regions in the country, providing recreation and personal development for over 2,000 children aged 4 through 18.

Region 13 has been a pioneer of new ideas in leadership, organization, and community involvement.

  • In 1973, the second year, Region 13 introduced a girls’ soccer program.
  • 1974, Region 13 became the first to organize and operate using established business management and marketing principles.
  • In 1975, Region 13 was the first to create an investment fund for the development of community recreational facilities. Region 13 also introduced the idea of requiring shinguards for player safety.

Region 13 has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to increase and improve play spaces in Pasadena, Altadena and La Cañada, and annually helps fund care and maintenance to benefit the entire community. 

  • Between 1976 and 1978, Region 13 was the driving force behind the conversion of parking lot H into the playing fields (Area H) that the community enjoys now in front of the Rose Bowl.
  • From 1977-1982, Region 13 contributed funds to the City of Pasadena as part of a five-year joint venture to build the restroom, storage, and snack bar facility at Brookside, dedicated to the memory of AYSO volunteer Edward Lapointe, Field Manager for Region 13.
  • In 1986, Region 13 was the largest private contributor to install lighting at Victory Park.
  • In 1989, Region 13 donated funds for lights on the upper field area of Victory Park.
  • In 1997, Region 13 joined with the City of Pasadena and Pasadena Unified School District to light fields at Victory Park, Pasadena High School, John Muir High School and Washington Middle School.
  • In 1998, in combination with Pasadena Southwest Little League, Region 13 invested in the complete renovation of McKinley Field.
  • Region 13 has also helped replace and rehabilitate the sprinkler systems at Muir High School and Pasadena High School.
  • In 2018, Region 13 contributed to Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation to build a statue of Brandi Chastain at Area H, commemorating the 1999 USWNT World Cup victory.
  • In 2022, Region 13 donated a new softball scoreboard for John Muir High School.

Region 13 enjoys a cooperative relationship with many other youth sports organizations, including the formation of the La Cañada Youth Sports Coalition, which enables the management of all leagues and user groups in the area to collectively ensure the most efficient use of fields. The entire community benefits from this cooperation, particularly in the area of recreation space development.

Welcome to AYSO Region 13, with strong leadership, a vibrant community, and a history of success. Get involved, and join a tradition of excellence in leadership, community involvement and child development that will remain with you and your children for the rest of your lives.