Welcome to Beverly Hills AYSO Region 76
SIGNING UP IN CYBERSPACE
- updated for 2010
2011 marks the 15th season that Region 76 in Beverly Hills, CA has registered players on-line. Here we answer some FAQs (frequently asked questions) posed by other AYSO regions interested in this process:
Does it work? How does it work? Is it more or less work?
13% of our players registered on-line in 1997. The number went up to 49% of the registrations received for Fall 1998, 59% in Fall 1999; by 2003 it was well over 90% and we were getting people to register earlier, always a problem in our community. Since 2004, we no have longer registered players in person; all 2370+ players who played in 2010-11 registered online. It works.
Originally, we worked very closely with a programmer, Sam Knowlton, who over a period of years brought our system to a high level of functionality, with many features that went far beyond AYSO National's online tool, eAYSO. Sam ended up forming a company, inLeague LLC (www.inleague.org), which now offers the programs originally developed for us to other regions.
Process is key. Before going on-line, we thought through what registrants wanted to know and what mistakes they might make. Our registration page tells registrants they can only register on-line. There is a link to a welcome page. The form has the same fields as many of the fields in the standard AYSO paper form and eAYSO form. The form, which is in three parts, is then submitted and a confirmation page pops up. The registrant can correct mistakes in a text box. The registrant confirms the registration and is then taken to the payment page (see below)
The system generates two e-mail confirmations to the registrant. One is for the registration; the other is for the payment (see below).
Overall, processing an on-line form now takes much less work as a paper form, for both registrant and region. We save all of the mailing out forms and daily trips to our post office box, especially as the season approaches. And we really cut down on original data entry - registrants do it for us! No need for in-person registrations either.
How do you get paid?
Since 2003, we have arranged to accept credit cards on-line through a payment gateway. Since 2008, we have used YourPay, now known as FirstData (www.firstdata.com/ecommerce). After submitting player data, the user is taken to a secure payment page, where we accept all major credit cards. The form is simple and an automated email goes to the submitter. Our experiment with Paypal a few years ago was not successful - people had a lot of difficulties signing up with PayPal.
We have always adopted a policy that we will accept a registration even if payment has not been paid. Online payment sometimes fails; occasionally, we run across people who are having problems with their credit card or even are victims of identity theft and therefore reluctant to pay online. We would rather take the registration and deal with the payment problems than have someone give up on registering because of a payment problem. However, registration is not complete until payment has been made.
Since 2006, we have been able to link payments to registrations automatically. This simplified and speeded up our ability to identify nonpayers and contact them so that they could complete their registrations. Our system also allows for scholarships.
Can you share the data?
In 2005 we transferred our data from Quickbase to an MS-SQL database server, operated by Sam Knowlton of inLeague. There are various technical reasons for this, notably speed, and also we are now much better able to integrate player data with numerous administrative applications we use to run our region. We no longer recommend Quickbase to AYSO regions.
In our current environment, our data continues to be shared based on tiered levels of access through password protected user authorizations. Who you are and what you are authorized to do determines what you can see (and do). Parents with user names and passwords have access to their own children's data and can change most but not all personal data. (For example, we don't allow parents to edit the date of birth.)
What about signed medical releases?
In 2003, working with our programmer, we developed a system by which division directors and coaches can generate releases through a merger of our data and an html document that contains all the AYSO mandated release language as well as registration information in a much more presentable way than the AYSO National standard form. Since 2008, parents can also generate their own medical releases for their children. Alternatively, once the data has migrated to eAYSO (which we do through an eAYSO application called eAYSOOffline, available at www.eayso.org/eaysooffline, we could use it to generate the AYSO registration forms. Every coach is required to have the forms signed and we spot check this. We will eventually accept verified electronic signatures but this is not yet practical. We have had several players, especially in Divisions U19 and U16, register themselves on-line and this procedure (and our payment procedures) ensure that parents know and approve.
How do you get volunteers? Do you maintain your volunteer base?
Our website has lots of information about volunteering. During the registration process, people are asked to indicate an interest in volunteering as coaches, referees, and administrators and the inLeague system allows us to list customized roles. Many complete this part of the online form. Also, on-line registration gives us e-mail addresses. Our list is over 3500 strong. We regularly e-mail our constituents and occasionally post these emails on our site. We have been successful in recruiting. Volunteer levels have not suffered. In 2004, we implemented a volunteer points program in 2004 which has "encouraged" teams in U10 through U14 that want to make the playoffs to provide volunteer referees. Our system tracks volunteer points online.
Any other benefits?
Replacing mail-in and in-person registration for returning players with on-line registration has been terrific. Most callers' questions are answered by our voicemail greeting and by our extensive websote so we need return fewer phone calls. We long ago stopped compiling and distributing or mailing out registration packages. People fill out forms on-line more completely (especially as you can make selected fields mandatory) with fewer mistakes.
Some of this sounds complicated. Can I handle it?
You need someone who understands how to put together and link web pages and someone who knows how to process the information. You need to be committed to the process. On-line registration only is not for everyone but it works well for us. Contact us, on-line of course, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be glad to answer questions or offer help.
We have heavily customized our system to meet our own needs and business processes. Our systems are for mid-size and largeregions that would like to use the numerous features offered by inLeague that either do not exist in eAYSO or that inLeague simply does better. Many regions should consider using eAYSO, the AYSO national program. eAYSO has limited customization features but overall it does a decent job and it is getting better, especially after the implementation of eayso2 in November 2009. AYSO Region 76's webmaster participated from the inception of eAYSO to 2008 first on the committee overseeing eAYSO and later on the eAYSO commission.