AYSO National Games 2010 Overview
Take Advantage Of All The Games Has To Offer
Every two years, teams from all over the country come together for a week of soccer, cultural exchange and fun at the AYSO National Games. Next year's Games will be held July 4-11, and couldn't be in a better place - beautiful, sunny Florida. The Village of Wellington, in Palm Beach County, Fla., will be the site for a week of soccer, sand, sun and many other activities for all participants and their families.
The Games will be held at the world-class International Polo Club Palm Beach. Among the most exciting element for the teams will be playing on the lush, open grounds of the International Polo fields, particularly for fans of equestrian sports.
How can my team play in the Games?
In order to play on a team attending the AYSO National Games 2010, players need to be registered and play in their Region's primary program in the 2009-2010 membership year. Participating Regions were selected in May via a lottery system during the National Annual General Meeting.
Section 14 is playing host for next year's Games. The Section, which encompasses most of the state (except the panhandle), South Carolina and parts of Georgia, is relatively new, having started in October 2001. But Section Director, Wendy Smith, believes they are up to the challenge of hosting this special AYSO event.
"We are a small Section, but we felt that the National Games would bring exposure… to our Section better than anything else we could ever do without spending a lot of money," she said.
How Invites Are Determined From Lottery Draw
To understand the AYSO National Games Lottery Draw and the subsequent Region invitations, one must understand the purpose of the AYSO National Games. The AYSO National Games is not a national championship. It is also not just a tournament. The AYSO National Games is a cultural exchange designed to bring together all Sections and as many Regions as possible for a celebration of all that is AYSO. The weeklong event focuses on sportsmanship, team spirit, making new friends, lots of soccer and having fun through all of its activities.
What's there to do during the Games?
The week is not just all about soccer. Want to take your team to Disney World? Not a problem. Organizers are setting aside time for teams to explore Florida. A wide variety of activities are accessible nearby. The 220 participating teams will have a chance to visit beaches, zoos and other locations. Players young and old can expect a good time, said Smith.
Section 14 is planning a variety of events and activities for Games participants, including the multitude of soccer games, an indoor Youth Event and a VIP showcase. Organizers haven't overlooked the fact that the Games will begin on Independence Day. If you're looking for a Fourth of July celebration, the Village of Wellington holds a party every year, complete with live music and a nighttime fireworks show.
How about Soccerfest?
Of course, you can't forget the ever-popular Soccerfest, a day-long soccer extravaganza. Players are shuffled at random into new, one-day teams, so it is truly an opportunity to make new friends. While National Games players are automatically included, Soccerfest is open to all kids U-10 to U-19 whether or not they are on a Games team. Soccerfest inevitably has players concerned at the prospect of playing with "strangers," but by the day's end there are no strangers and it is consistently mentioned by players as one of the most memorable days of the entire event.
AYSO began the National Games in 1988 with the purpose of bringing together teams from different Regions, Areas and Sections to experience the diversity AYSO has to offer. The Games are a chance for participants to make new friends and gain exposure to new parts of the country and other cultures and to enjoy a lot of soccer. The Games are not a national championship, but a celebration of all that is AYSO. Reese said that aside from soccer, there is one thing each attendee can expect:
"A really good time!"
History of the AYSO National Games
Let the Games Begin! That's the traditional phrase that has proclaimed the start of the AYSO National Games from its first venue in Irvine, California in 1988 to its 15th 2010 version coming up in Wellington, Florida. Those words will start off a week-long celebration that brings together AYSO players, volunteers and parents from across our country. The genesis of the National Games is typically AYSO. It started with a good idea and volunteer power pulled it off!
The Games were the brainchild of Mike Michalski, then Area 1-B Director from West Hills, California. Mike had been putting on successful tournaments for California players, coaches, and referees for years. He wanted to share the good times and fun with more players and volunteers. And so he made a proposal that paved the way for the National Games. He gathered together some diligent, dedicated and daring men and women from the volunteer corps and the National Office – a few of them are still involved in AYSO– who would, in the AYSO spirit and tradition, make it happen.
The Opening Ceremony, the Soccerfest, the Sportsmanship medals – they were all there in 1988. Over the years traditions have been added as each venue wove a bit of its own spirit into the fabric. The National Games is everything AYSO: they reflect the excellence, tradition and spirit of our players, volunteers, spectators and philosophies. Let the Games continue!
|Year ||Venue ||Venue Chairperson || |
|1998 ||Irvine, CA ||Mike Michalski ||Founder & Chairperson |
|1989 ||Irvine, CA ||Mike Michalski ||Founder & Chairperson |
|1990 ||Torrance, CA ||Mike Michalski ||Founder & Chairperson |
|1992 ||Torrance, CA ||Mike Michalski ||Founder & Chairperson |
|1994* || ||Frank Scotto ||World Games Director |
| ||Irvine, CA ||Gert Jensen ||Venue Chairperson |
| ||Kalamazoo, MI ||Sheppy Douma ||Venue Chairperson |
| ||Oahu, Hawaii ||Harry Lee ||Venue Chairperson |
| ||San Jose, CA ||Gopala Krishnan ||Venue Chairperson |
|1996 ||Kalamazoo, MI ||Nancy Hinga ||Venue Chairperson |
|1998 ||Ontario, CA ||Jodi Gmeiner ||Venue Chairperson |
|2000 ||Albuquerque, NM ||Kaitlyn McCarthy ||Venue Chairperson |
|2001 ||West Point, NY ||Irwin Kavy ||Venue Chairperson |
|2002 ||Oahu, Hawaii ||Max Sword ||Venue Chairperson |
|2004 ||Lancaster, CA ||Charlie Johnson ||Venue Chairperson |
|2006 ||Chicago, IL ||David Keller ||Venue Chairperson |
|2008 ||Oahu, Hawaii ||Alan Heu & Maynard Pang ||Co-Chairpersons |
|2010 ||Wellington, FL ||Wendy Smith/Irwin Kavy ||Venue Chairpersons |
|* World Games || || |