AYSO is a network of volunteer-run nonprofit soccer leagues. Region 13 of AYSO operates in the Pasadena area, and you’re welcome to play in any AYSO region, regardless of where you live or go to school.
Most kids start with the core program, a soccer league that starts in September. This is a “house league,” where the teams are adjusted every year to ensure that the games are balanced, and kids get exposed to a variety of coaching styles. It encourages good sporting behavior because today’s opponent might be next year’s teammate. After a few years of it, you’ll be friends with everyone else in your age group, and which foot they prefer to kick with. Our main goals are to have fun and help every child develop their mental and physical abilities. While a few Region 13 players have gone on to play soccer professionally, the lasting benefit for the rest of us is the life lessons we pick up in the process.
You register your players, starting in May. In August, parents will take a class to learn to coach or referee for their child’s team. Players are assigned to teams, and soccer starts after Labor Day.
Kids are assigned to an age division based on their birth date. If you’re concerned about whether you, or your child, is ready, consider that Region 13 has been doing this for over 50 years. Kids and parents rise to the challenges. Hundreds of thousands of kids and parents have played with AYSO Region 13, and you can, too. AYSO is a system for you to learn how to be a coach, a referee, or team manager, and also a great soccer parent.
- In the 4U – 8U divisions, players may be assigned to teams with friends or from the same school, so long as enough parents volunteer and the teams are balanced.
- In the 10U – 14U divisions, players are assigned through a blind draw. Players with a coach or referee volunteer are allocated first. Siblings are always together, of course.
Parents (that’s you) take classes to coach and referee. There are online presentations to watch, plus in-person classroom and field training in AYSO’s system.
I had a great time coaching the kids, the kids had a great time and learned a lot about soccer, and the parents were all very engaged and appreciative. All in all, coaching was a great experience that I’m excited to continue doing with both of my daughters!
– Tori Pinckney, volunteer soccer coach
Why should I volunteer?
Someone has to coach the team and referee the games.
That someone is probably you.
While they’re young is the easiest time to start!
The good news is that if you do something a lot, you get better at it! Over a few years of playing soccer, kids will make new friends and about cooperation and teamwork. Start volunteering for your child’s team now, and you’ll be the one to show your peers the power of a growth mindset through AYSO’s emphasis on positive coaching and good sportsmanship.
Your registration fee includes a full uniform and supplemental accident insurance. There are no other required costs. The coaches and referees are volunteers. You’ll only need to provide your own shinguards, a ball, a water bottle, and orange slices. Soccer cleats are optional, and there will be an opportunity to exchange used soccer cleats at the start of the season.
|When you register||2023 Prices|
|By May 31||$195|
|By July (waitlists may turn on in June, depending on enrollment)||$210|
|EPIC (special needs)||$60|
Siblings receive a $20 discount through May 31. If you need to cancel, most, but not all of your fee is refundable.
Region 13 invites everyone to play, regardless of their financial situation. Just decide how much you can afford to pay, and email email@example.com to request a scholarship.
Region 13 runs three separate programs during the fall. 4U5U is for pre-kindergarten kids, Upper Division is for 8th-12th graders, and the Core program is for everyone else.
|3 – 5 years||4U5U||4U / 5U||Meets once a week|
|K – 2nd grade||Core||6U – 8U||Teams, coaches, and referees. Small goals, small fields.
60-minute practice on a weeknight, and one game on Saturday.
Everyone plays the whole game of 4v4 or 5v5.
|2015||10U||7v7 with goalkeepers, offside, and substitutions. 90-minute practice, once a week, and a game on Saturday. Bigger field and 3 referees.|
|2013||12U||9v9 on a larger field. 90-minute practice, once a week, and a game on Saturday.
|2011||14U||11v11 on a full-sized field. 90-minute practice, once a week, and a game on Saturday.
|2009-2007||Upper Division||16U||Coaches draft teams. Play with other teams in the San Gabriel valley. Two 90-minute practices per week, starting in August. 1-2 games on weekends and evenings, ending before the high school soccer season starts.|
What is soccer, anyway?
Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.
— Johan Cruyff
Soccer is a global sport that Americans also love. The rest of the world calls it “football.” It gives us an opportunity to teach basic motor skills to the very young, teamwork and social skills to elementary-aged kids, and leadership and grit to teens. Soccer is a game you can grow with and enjoy for your whole life.
Soccer is a game of keep-away. Two teams play on a rectangular field. You score when the ball enters the opposing team’s goal, and you try to keep the ball out of your own goal. Except for when a player throws a ball in from the side or when a goalkeeper defends the goal, players are not allowed to move the ball with their hands or arms.
The game is played in two halves of equal length. The duration of the match gets longer as the children get older.
The sport involves several basic skills: passing, shooting, dribbling, and controlling the ball. These skills can be learned at any age, and a dedicated soccer player works continually to improve them.
How does AYSO fit in?
Starting in the 1960’s, The American Youth Soccer Organization started adapting European traditions to a format that works for American values. The key was to make it fun for everyone, with balanced teams, and ensuring that everyone gets plenty of playing time. We win in the long run when everyone has fun, so they want to come back and do it again next year.
AYSO is a whole community effort. Parents coach the teams, referees referee the games, and parents slice the oranges. Over several years, the coaches get better, the referees get better, and even the players get better! Most importantly, everyone learns the power of teamwork.
Next: Read about AYSO’s mission.
The Region 13 culture
Let’s be clear: we do this to have fun. No college scholarships are at stake. A few Region 13 players have gone on to play in the MLS, but there’s no way you would have predicted that when they were 8. You’re joining a community of families who are simply putting on a fun soccer program for kids. It’s an opportunity to observe how hard work and a positive attitude lead to results. Over weeks, over months, and over years, you’ll notice changes in the children and in yourself. The parents who have the most fun are the parents who admire the growth of all the kids, not just their own, on all the teams. And there’s a lot to admire!
Are you wondering which program is right for your child? Well, everybody plays in the same league in the fall, from September through December. The registration system will assign your child to the correct division for her age.
Read more on what to expect from the fall soccer league.
Every team will have a few first-time players and a few who are already quite skilled. If you are one of those more skilled players, the fall league is an opportunity to take a leadership position and learn about working with a team. Think ahead 5-10 years — if you want to play on a high school team, do you think the coach will appreciate having a player who makes everyone else on the team better? In the winter and spring, you can try out for more competitive programs.
Should I coach or referee?
Coaching a kids’ soccer team is one of the great joys in life. If you’ve never done it, you’re missing out.
Refereeing is a lot of fun because referees have the best view of the game. If you like watching sports, you’ll like it even more up close.
Refereeing takes less time at first. By 10U, the time commitments are about the same.
Referees work during the games, and coaches work between games.
But I don’t know anything about soccer. I can’t volunteer!
Everyone you interact with in AYSO is a volunteer, and most of them were first introduced to the game by a 5-year-old.
You already know all sorts of things, like how to introduce yourself to a teammate, that you generally kick the ball with your feet, and which net the ball is supposed to go into. Soccer is a simple game, and the best teacher of the game is the game itself. AYSO asks you, as a coach, to give kids the space and freedom to figure out most of it on their own.
Oh, sure, there’s more to it than that, which is why you’ll take a class. AYSO will teach you what you need to get started. If you’re going to be involved in your child’s activities for the next 5-10 years, you might as well start learning now. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second-best time is today.
I’m afraid of parents criticizing me if I make a mistake
It takes many years of practice to become a great referee, and you know that even professionals disagree on what to do. The game needs referees, which means that you need to feel comfortable and protected when you’re holding the whistle. Region 13 has developed a Respect The Referee policy to make all spectators aware of what the volunteers in the yellow shirts are doing. Spectators or coaches who are disrespectful will be invited to observe the game from much, much farther away.
The whole point of refereeing is to restart the game so we can get back to playing after an interruption. Which way the throw-in should have gone is much less important than the communication the referee does with the players to keep the game safe and fun.
Spectators are advised, at the season orientation meetings, at team meetings, and through regular league communications during the season, that the point of soccer is to play the game, rather than argue about who did what. Experienced volunteers monitor fields, and the referee staff mentor new referees in conducting their first games.
When are the games? I want to plan other activities for my kids
AYSO also stands for All Your Saturdays Occupied. It’s funny because it’s true! The reality is that most parents find they don’t need to schedule additional activities on Saturdays during soccer season. Some weeks, the game will be in the morning, and your child will be REALLY TIRED the rest of the day. One sport at a time is usually enough.
I have two kids.
If you coach multiple teams, the league will do its best to arrange each week’s game schedule for you. You will also you get first pick of practice times.
Why do the age divisions not make any sense?
US Soccer copies the age divisions used in Europe. For the younger divisions, 6U-8U, Region 13 unilaterally decided to assign children to teams by school grade (K – 2) instead of by birth year, but we kept the names for compatibility with the rest of the soccer world. See the age chart.
Can my child play up?
In very rare circumstances, The Next Lionel Messi has been allowed to play up a division. The families of these children have usually been involved in soccer for several years.
Can my child play down?
No. If you’re worried that your child is at the younger end of her age division, expect that many other parents whose children are the same age have the same concern. Maybe your child is younger, but it wouldn’t be fair to the even younger kids in the next division down for your child to be competing with theirs. Starting with 10U, players are allocated so that every team has a balance of abilities, and of ages, and birth months. There have been a few, very, very rare instances where a child played down.
My child has special needs
The registration form will ask you to identify any physical or mental idiosyncrasies your child may have. If you think your child would be more successful with a coach experienced with neurodiverse children, the registration form will ask you to indicate this as such. If you are a coach who is comfortable with these children, be sure to let your DCA know.
Region 13 tries to have most children be successful in the core program as possible. Many kids with ADHD, Downs Syndrome, or on the autism spectrum will be playing on Core teams this fall. If your child needs a buddy to work with them on the field, there is also the Everyone Plays in our Community (EPIC) program.
Can I pay someone to coach or referee for me?
There are “club soccer” programs where you can pay someone else to coach your child and referee their games. Notwithstanding the fact that these programs cost 15x as much as AYSO, there aren’t enough soccer coaches and referees in the country to serve the club soccer teams. Since nobody is available to hire, parents created AYSO so we can learn how to do it ourselves. Over 50 years, AYSO has evolved to do what it takes to sustain youth soccer in the United States.
My child identifies as …
For the Fall League ages 6U and up, there are two separate leagues labeled “girls” and “boys.” You may choose the one you want your child to join.
Are more advanced teams available?
South Pasadena AYSO runs an EXTRA program. Tryouts are held once a year, in March. You’ll need to play a season in the 10U core program (or something similar) first. This involves a higher level of commitment, starting with reading the program rules.
May I request a specific coach or request my child be placed on a school team or with friends?
The volunteer coach staff is trying out the following new policies in the 2023 Fall league season. We ask for your grace and patience as we work through testing this out.
6-8U Friendly Divisions
In the past, our volunteer Division Coach Administrators in the Friendly Divisions worked hard to honor any player’s school, coach, or player pairing request. This proved to be an extremely difficult task for our DCAs without the required 2 coaches + 2 referee volunteers for each team. In short, it meant the DCAs spent an inordinate amount of time recruiting volunteers to serve as coaches and referees in order to form teams. Accordingly, this year, our DCAs will prioritize requests made by volunteer coaches and referees. DCAs will also strongly consider forming a full team by request when 2 coaches + 2 referees + Team Manager have signed up as volunteers, started their background check process, and begun the certification process: https://ayso13.org/volunteer/. Any volunteer coach or referee’s request should be directed to their division’s DCA: https://ayso13.org/leadership/.
Requests submitted by non-volunteers will be considered during team formation to the extent practicable.
10-14U Competitive Divisions
In the past, our volunteer Division Coach Administrators in the Competitive Divisions formed teams with “balanced teams” as the priority. This meant our DCAs were asked not to consider any coach or player pairing requests during team formation. However, teams cannot be formed without a Head Coach and referees. This year, as an incentive to volunteer as a Head Coach or a referee, our DCAs will attempt to honor a request for a particular referee made by a Head Coach so long as it does not create a team balancing issue for the division. The Head Coach and requested referee must both be signed up as volunteers, started their background check process, and begun their certification process: https://ayso13.org/volunteer/. Any volunteer Head Coach’s request for a particular referee should be directed to their division’s DCA: https://ayso13.org/leadership/.