The US Youth Soccer (USYS), the youth division of the US Soccer Federation (USSF), is the largest youth soccer service organization in the nation. The USYS registers more than 3 million youth players between the ages of 5 and 19.
Organization of "The Game for All Kids!"
Organizational StructureThe nonprofit organization is made up of 55 member state associations - one in each state and two each in California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. The state associations are divided into four regions:
PhilosophyUSYS programs emphasize fun and de-emphasize winning at all cost. Small-sided games are encouraged for players under ten.
The organization's mission is to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of America's youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition.
The USYS prides itself on providing a fun, safe and healthy game for all kids:
"Big kids, little kids, tall kids, short kids, young kids, older kids, kids who want to play strictly for fun, kids who want to compete at the highest level possible ( ) our programs are aimed at meeting the different needs of ALL KIDS."
ProgramsThe US Youth Soccer develops and administers both recreational and competitive programs.
For those players with advanced skills and greater ambition, highly competitive leagues are offered, including national championship, in several age groups.
The US Youth Soccer runs the Olympic Development Program (ODP),
a national identification and development program for high-level players, usually between the ages of twelve and nineteen.
For recreational players, besides their normal league play, USYS offers high quality statewide tournament - Kohl's American Cup.
Its purpose is to provide the recreational players an original event in "a fun, festival-like atmosphere" increasing young kids interest in and love for the game.
The Kohl's American Cup "places emphasis on participation, as opposed to competition" where "all players have the right to participate in competitions where they can develop and exhibit their skills while enjoying themselves."
The pledge of US Youth Soccer to reach "all kids" is evident in the next two programs:
TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer)
It is a program for children with physical or mental disabilities. The training and team-placement program for boys and girls aged eight through nineteen operates in a number of communities across the country. Children in wheelchairs can even participate in TOPSoccer.
It's designed for children living in low-income communities. It provides "soccer training and administrative guidance to players and organizations who might otherwise not be exposed to the sport." Reach out to children in under-served communities, boost their self-esteem, teach positive social and life skills and provide young kids with enjoyable after school activities are the most important goals of this program.
So, Is the US Youth Soccer really for all the kids?
No doubt! Right?
No matter what level of soccer you think your child is ready for, the US Youth Soccer probably has an appropriate team. Be aware, however, that the policies of USYS clubs may vary from state to state and from league to league. Playing-time and open registration policies, for example, are not mandatory policies of USYS. Therefore they usually are assigned by clubs or in most cases, left to the coaches' discretion.
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