What's your sign?
You may have noticed a sign popping up on this web-site and on AYSO fields. It's our commitment as parents, families, volunteers, and as an organization to providing the best possible environment to our children.
In recent months, the national media have focused on the negative, even violent behavior of players, coaches and parents involved in youth sports. In a proactive effort to counteract this trend of violence, AYSO has initiated a program called "Kids Zone." Download and sign the pledge here: http://soccer.org/media/programs/pledge.pdf
We ask you to agree to the following when entering our facilities:
Kids are #1
· Fun -- not winning -- is everything
· Fans only cheer and coaches only coach
· No yelling in anger
· Respect the volunteer referees
· No swearing
· No smoking
· Leave no trash behind
· Set a proper example for our children
If you can agree to the above, we welcome you. If not, we ask that you please leave now. AYSO -- It's for the kids!!!
History of the "Kids Zone Pledge"
Kids Zone was the "brainchild" of then Region 234 Commissioner Steve Hamann in 2000. Steve sensed during his field "walkarounds" that the environment was changing. There was more tension, more shouting (definitely more attitude) and less fun than the region's parents and volunteers had come to expect.
A man of action, Steve came up with a plan that he believed would remind parents that their behavior at games is crucial to setting a good example. His plan included three-inch Kids Zone buttons distributed to parents and coaches and field signs to remind visitors of appropriate conduct. In Region 234 it quickly became obvious to parents that it was up to them to ensure good sideline behavior or suffer the consequences.
Steve approached staff members at the AYSO National Support & Training Center to help him get his plan under way. The National Board of Directors and NSTC staff members provided partial funding and support to implement the plan and that, as we say, was the beginning. The plan was for Region 234 to pilot the program that fall and then make the project ready for national implementation the following year. Steve and Region 234 did an exemplary job and provided the BOD and NSTC staff with reports, ideas and help to launch the new program.
Since its inception, we have added a Kids Zone Parent Pledge and other assorted materials and paraphernalia. Currently the Kids Zone program is being used in nearly 50 percent of our AYSO regions. Kids Zone does help in controlling negative sideline behavior, but it is not a magic potion, it takes continual reinforcement and commitment to the ideals of good sportsmanship and the AYSO philosophies.