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AYSO Region 18 Parents' Handbook

AYSO Vision

To provide world class youth soccer programs that enrich children’s lives.

AYSO Mission Statement

To develop and deliver quality youth soccer programs which promote a fun, family environment based on our philosophies:

  • Everyone Plays
  • Balanced Teams
  • Open Registration
  • Positive Coaching
  • Good Sportsmanship
  • Player Development

Brief History of AYSO

The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) was established in Torrance, CA in 1964 with nine teams. It was the dream of a group of devoted soccer enthusiasts who started the organization in a garage. Today, AYSO has more than 50,000 teams, 600,000 players, and 200,000 volunteers. It also employs 50 people at its National Support and Training Center (NSTC) in Torrance, CA.

Regions are assigned numbers chronologically with respect to when they were established.  Manhattan/Hermosa Beach is Region 18. There are currently over 1200 regions chartered. AYSO is organized below the National level into 13 sections (three of which are in Southern California). Each section is divided into areas that contain a number of regions. Region 18 is in Section 1, Area D. Westchester (Region 7), North Redondo ( Region 17), Hawthorne (Region 21), South Redondo (Region 34) and El Segundo (Region 92) are the other regions in Section 1 Area D.


AYSO is a volunteer organization.  In our region we have the following volunteer categories; team volunteers (including coaches), referees and regional board members.

Most parents start off as team volunteers performing tasks like those listed below. Many later decide to participate as a coach, referee, or as a member of the regional board. Without the participation of parents this organization would cease to exist. Please help as much as you can!

Volunteer Screening

All persons, who wish to serve as Board Members, coaches, assistant coaches, referees, or assistant referees must fill out a confidential volunteer application form. Volunteers are subject to screening processes in accordance with applicable law and AYSO’s Safe Haven Program and Child Protection Policy.

AYSO Region 18 welcomes youth referee volunteers, who must submit youth volunteer applications and attend training courses for their certifications, just like the adults do.  AYSO National Policy prohibits children under 18 from serving as team coaches.

Team Volunteers

Parents are encouraged to participate actively.  Without their volunteer efforts the team would not exist. The following is a description of some of the volunteer positions.

- Coach

All AYSO Coaches are certified volunteers.  They set up and run training and practices for the team and are responsible for the conduct of players, parents and others associated with the team at all practices and games. They attend mandatory coaches meetings as scheduled and are ultimately accountable for all team responsibilities to the league, even if delegated to another parent volunteer.

The region provides training for entry level coaches. This training is mandatory. If a coach would like additional intermediate or advanced training it is available from the area or section staff as well as via coaching camps. The region will cover the costs of a coach continuing his/her training.

- Assistant Coach

All AYSO Assistant Coaches are certified volunteers.  They give assistance to, and can substitute for, the head coach as needed.

- Team Parent

Formerly known as "Team Mom" but are not just Moms anymore, this position functions as the liaison between the team parents and the coach, and oversees (i.e. gets lots of help from the other parents) all the other volunteer activities for the team such as the following:

  • setting up a "phone tree" and email list to distribute information,
  • coordinating picture day activities (handing out picture order envelope, verifying the team roster),
  • creating a team banner if desired (there are several companies who will make banners for a fee),
  • setting up or taking down the goals and nets when it is the team’s responsibility,
  • painting lines on the fields when it is the team’s responsibility (this involves picking up the field marking machine and paint from the storage shed, shaking up the can of paint, loading it in the machine, pulling the trigger and walk over the lines that have been burned into the fields)
  • coordinating the end of season party, where most teams hand out pictures and trophies,
  • scheduling parents on the team to provide healthful snacks (orange slices, water, ice, etc.) for players at the half-time break and after the game.

Referee Volunteers

All AYSO Referees are certified volunteers. Typically, three persons, one center referee and two assistant referees officiate the game in U10 and above. The league is always in need of referees. Referees typically officiate one game per weekend but can cover more if they would like. Referees choose when and where they would like to officiate (typically the game before their own child's game), but they cannot officiate their own children's games.

There are different certification levels for referees. In our region, we train Referees, who may center ref (or "CR") a U8 game, Assistant Referees (lines only) and Regional Referees, who may ref U8 games and older. Classes for these positions are taught a number of times in the region. Additional training is required if a Regional Referee wishes to officiate higher level games. The region provides referee uniforms and equipment and covers all costs associated with referee training.

Regional Board Members

Board volunteers are parents and community volunteers who believe in AYSO and have agreed to take a leadership role in the region. The goal is to have all of the regional tasks broken into small enough chunks so that the load on each volunteer is not overwhelming. Problems arise when we cannot find enough volunteers and our existing volunteers must take on multiple roles.

The current list of board members can be found here. If you are interesting in joining the board or otherwise assisting, please contact our Regional Commissioner.


The Region supplies each player with a uniform consisting of shirt, a pair of socks, and shorts. Each player is expected to provide his/her own appropriate footwear and shin guards. No player may participate in a game without such shirt, socks, shorts, shin guards and appropriate footwear. Players may not wear jewelry of any kind (including chains, watches, any type of bracelet, body jewelry and earrings, bandannas or other ornamentation) or anything else that may cause risk of injury to the player or to other players during the game. 

Hard casts (including padded casts), splints, helmets and hard padding are not permitted to be worn by a player during any game or practice. Players with permanent orthodontic braces are encouraged to wear mouth guards.

The referee will inspect all players prior to the start of the game for conformance to these rules. Coaches should make the same checks at the beginning of each practice. The Region supplies the coach a set of soccer balls for practices and games. If you would like to purchase a ball for your child, please purchase one of the proper size for the age group. A full size ball is described as a 5, and is used by players 12 and up. Size 4 and is used by players from 8 to 11. The smallest ball used by AYSO is a 3 for players under 8.

Appropriate footwear can be either tennis shoes or cleats. If cleats are purchased they must be designed for soccer and not have exposed metal cleats as are found on some baseball shoes.

Team Formation

Teams are formed by the division commissioners for each age group, using feedback from prior coaches and confidential player evaluations from the prior year. The division commissioners’ primary objective is to create balanced teams, which is never an easy task. In order to ensure balanced teams, we cannot honor any requests for specific team assignments (in U6 and to some extent in U8 we will consider requests but cannot guarantee them). We make every effort to consider schedule conflicts when setting up teams. However, coaches have the ultimate authority on when and where practices are held. The only way a parent can guarantee a specific time for practice is to volunteer to be a coach.


Each division is assigned particular fields for games before the beginning of the season.

If your team is responsible for field setup (lining or nets) please try to arrive at the field 30 to 60 minutes before the start of the game. We have many teams playing, and it is very important that all games start on time.

The region works closely with Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach to keep their park and school fields in good shape. Please pick up any trash and dispose of it properly.  Dogs are prohibited at all our fields in Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach with the exception of Hermosa Valley Park.

The Game

Most coaches will ask that your child arrive at the field 15 to 30 minutes prior to kick-off time so the players may warm up adequately. At the beginning of the game, the referee staff will inspect all players and inform them of any last minute changes or alert them to any problem areas on the field.

The game is broken into two equal halves. The length of the halves are as follows:

U6 (4.5-5 years) 15 minutes
U8 (6-7 years) 20 minutes
U10 (8-9 years) 25 minutes
U12 (10-11 years) 30 minutes
U14 (12-13 years) 35 minutes
U16 (14-15 years) 40 minutes
U19 (16-18 years) 45 minutes

There is a 5 to 10 minute break between the halves at the discretion of the referee. Approximately half way through each half, the referee will stop the game to allow quarter substitutions. This is not a break and no player should leave the field with the exception of those leaving the game. Players can get a drink at any time by coming to the sideline and having someone hand them their water bottle. Players are not to enter or leave the field without referee permission. Similarly, no parent or coach may enter the field during the game without the referee’s permission.

At the end of the game, the players on each team shall line up at the halfway line and shake hands with the players of the opposing team and thank the referee and assistant referees.

Child Playing Time

In AYSO, "Everyone Plays." The national guidelines mandate that every child must play at least half of every game. It is the policy of AYSO Region 18 that child must play at least three quarters of every game. (In U16 and U19, where teams are larger, there are free substitutions and no quarter breaks.  Players must play at least half of every game.)

Each player is strongly urged to attend and participate in every team practice. Practice is important for the development of the team as well as each player's individual skills. Players are encouraged to arrive early for games. Players arriving after the first quarter of the game may be limited to playing one-half of the time they are at the game.

Coach and Spectator Conduct

Coaches, Referees and Parents are all here for the benefit of the players, and they should all work together and support one another to that end.  Players, coaches, referees, spectators and all other participants must maintain the highest standard of conduct and good sportsmanship at all times. Offensive, insulting or abusive language is forbidden. The use of alcohol, tobacco products or illegal drugs in the vicinity of the playing field during practice or games is strictly forbidden.

Coaches are expected to be positive, encouraging, and set the best possible example for the participants. Excessive coaching from the sidelines shall not be permitted. The function of the coach should be to provide encouragement and a positive direction. The coach may enter the field of play only with the consent of the referee and shall coach only within 10 yards in each direction of the halfway line.

Spectators must remain at least two yards from the touchline (sideline) and between the penalty areas so that they are gathered nearer the middle of the field. They may not sit behind the goalkeeper. Their vocal efforts should be limited to positive compliments to the participants. Under no circumstances should spectators attempt to coach or make derogatory remarks to players, coaches or referees.

Discipline shall be up to the referee. The referee has the power and authority to remove players, coaches, and spectators from the playing area, or to terminate the match should their conduct violate the Laws of the Game, the AYSO National Rules & Regulations, our Regional Guidelines or otherwise interferes with the course of play. No appeal of disciplinary action taken by a referee shall be allowed.


No protest of games shall be permitted. However, coaches are encouraged to advise the Regional Referee Administrator (RRA) within 48 hours after a game of any misapplication by a referee of the Laws of the GameAYSO National Rules & Regulations, or our Regional Guidelines. This procedure shall not be used as a means of disputing, or criticizing, any judgment made by a referee or assistant referee. If, after investigation, the RRA finds that a law, rule or regulation was misapplied, such referee shall be advised in order to ensure that no further misapplication occurs.

All AYSO Referees undergo specific training, however they are also volunteers. If you have a question about a call or would like clarification on some aspect of the game, please talk to the referee after the game.  While most referees will make the time to clarify situations that take place on the field, please keep in mind that most of them are parents, just like you, and may be leaving the field immediately to get to their own child’s game or another officiating assignment; they are not avoiding talking to the coach or parent.

You may see teenagers who are part of our Youth Referee Program officiating your child's game. Please remember our youth referees should never be the object of abuse of any type, whether verbal, physical or psychological. Region 18 has a zero tolerance policy for any abuse to a youth referee.

Dispute Resolution

It is the policy of the Region to resolve all disputes in an amicable way. Compromise should be emphasized whenever possible, and personality conflicts should be avoided. If disciplinary action is ultimately necessary, it is the Region’s policy to take only the minimum action necessary. All means available should be taken to avoid legal action.

If you have been unable to resolve a problem with a coach, referee, or other volunteer, please contact the next person in the respective chain:

Coach -> Division Commissioner -> Regional Coach Administrator -> Assistant Regional Commissioner -> Regional Commissioner

Referee -> Regional Referee Administrator -> Assistant Regional Commissioner -> Regional Commissioner 

Please refer to the Region 18 Board Directory for the email addresses of the volunteer occupying each of these roles.

Want to know more?

If you would like to have a copy of our Regional Guidelines you can get them by clicking here.