Welcome to Beverly Hills AYSO Region 76
Have Youth Sports Become Too Competitive? - A No Vote
The following article was published in the Beverly Hills Weekly on August 3, 2000:
Extra! Extra! 10,000 Planes Landed Safely!
By Michael Karlin
The above headline is true – but you’ll not see it in any newspaper. Nor will you read about racially unbiased ballplayers. For a record 55th straight year, Britain, France and Germany were not at war. And this past Fall, 1000 youth soccer games were played in Beverly Hills without incident.
the New York Times nor the Weekly report any of this.
What we read about is the Concorde crash, John Rocker on the New
York subway, the breakdown of Middle East peace talks and the killing of a
parent at a hockey game in Boston.
course, tragic and unusual events command our attention.
But they should not be mistaken for the norm.
The truth about youth sports is that, for the overwhelming majority
of participants and supporters, the dominant themes are fun and friendly
competition. It’s why the
kids keep coming back.
American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), our five philosophies (Everyone
Plays, Open Registration, Balanced Teams, Good Sportsmanship and Positive
Coaching) collectively tell that soccer is about fun, fairness and ethical
behavior. We take these
philosophies seriously. We
implement them through formal programs, as well as informal communication,
teaching and counseling. We
constantly emphasize that soccer is not about parents vicariously reliving
the real or imagined athletic triumphs of their youth.
take sensible measures to mitigate risk.
Every coach receives risk management training that includes a
module on handling young players. Every
coach must complete a comprehensive volunteer application and must be
approved by the Regional Board. We
provide feedback forms that ask about the coach’s behavior.
We don’t permit players under 8 years old to participate in
tournaments. Once players
reach 8 and play on larger fields in more formal games, games are
officiated by trained referees. Three
years ago, we eliminated competitive playoffs for players under 10.
am not blind to occasional or even repeated bad behavior of some coaches,
spectators and players. Where
needed, we impose discipline. Discipline
can include suspension or expulsion.
But the actual number of serious incidents is minute.
Nor am I deaf to the tone of the sidelines. I could wish for people to be a little less intense. I’d love them to appreciate better how hard soccer is – so simple in concept and so very difficult to execute. Some sideline folks expect unnatural feats of skill from their children; quite a few are (in their own estimation) far more eagle-eyed than the referees and unreservedly eager to share their insights. In the kids’ words: Chill.
20 years of observing Southern California soccer convinces me that, if
anything, parents and coaches are better behaved than ever.
I think that this can be attributed both to diligent promotion of
our AYSO values and to the American public’s increased familiarity with
soccer as its popularity has taken wing.
I can report to you, with confidence, that in Beverly Hills, 1400
children play each Fall weekend and just about every one lands safely.