|By Marketwired .||
|June 10, 2014 10:22 AM EDT||
TORRANCE, CA--(Marketwired - June 10, 2014) - The next generation of what may be America's great soccer players will compete in the American Youth Soccer Organization's (AYSO) National Games 2014 on June 29 to July 7, 2014. Part of AYSO's yearlong 50th Anniversary celebration, the National Games returns to Southern California, the birthplace of AYSO. The bi-annual event will be twice its normal size, hosting more than 7,000 players on nearly 500 teams from across the United States. Thousands of volunteers will support the teams at the event, in all, close to 30,000 will attend. Due to the expanded size of this Golden Anniversary event, the Games will be co-hosted by two cities, Torrance and Riverside, Calif.
"This will be the largest youth soccer event in AYSO's history and one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation. Nearly 500 teams from over 150 communities in 19 states will converge on Riverside and Torrance," said Mark Stewart, AYSO's National President. "It's a great accomplishment for the over 7,000 AYSO kids who will be participating, who exemplify everything AYSO stands for -- including Player Development, Good Sportsmanship and an all-inclusive culture where Everyone Plays® -- and we could not be more proud."
Boys and girls ranging in ages from 8 to 18 will compete in a tournament structured in large part using the same model as the FIFA World Cup: Teams will placed into groups of four teams each and play in a series of round robin qualifying games. Teams with the highest scores during the qualifying round will then proceed to a single game elimination playoff system.
The AYSO National Games uses a unique scoring system that places as much emphasis on good sportsmanship as it does on win/loss records. During every game, teams receive points based on whether they win or lose, the number of goals they score, and the quality of good sportsmanship they demonstrate. Good sportsmanship points are weighted equally to the win-loss-scoring points.
Teams participating in the National Games include divisions for both boys and girls, age-specific divisions (under 10 years, under 12 years, under 14 years, under 16 years and under 19 years) and also a VIP (Very Important Player) division for players with disabilities.
This year's National Games will be happening just as the World Cup heats up interest in soccer nationwide. Three soccer players currently on the Men's World Cup roster, Alejandro Bedoya, Nick Rimando and Brad Guzan, got their start in AYSO.
"AYSO's National Games is exciting for a lot of reasons. What I love is watching the kids play and develop and gain confidence," says Scott Gimple, AYSO's Director of Player Development and National Events. "That's part of the reason so many professional soccer players got their start here. It's a great place to learn, try new things and have fun. And that's what the National Games is all about. A lot of people will fall in love with soccer this summer," says Gimple. "We're excited to be playing our 50thAnniversary National Games during such an exciting time for the sport."
AYSO was founded in Torrance, Calif., in 1964 and is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. It was the dream of a group of devoted soccer enthusiasts who started the organization out of their own garage with nine teams. Today, the national non-profit has more than 50,000 teams, nearly 900 leagues, and 500,000 players nationwide. Its alumni tops 6,000,000, including some of the top professional soccer players in the U.S. AYSO is founded on Six Philosophies which include Everyone Plays®, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development.
AYSO's vision of enriching children's lives through soccer is supported by a wide variety of corporate partners including DOLE Fruit Squish'ems, SCORE, Herbalife, Shutterfly, Kerrygold, Nestlé's® NESQUIK®, BJ's Restaurants and FOX Sports 1. FOX Sports 1 is also the Presenting Sponsor of AYSO's 50th Anniversary.