TORRANCE, CA. (August 24, 2023) — The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is pleased to announce a new partnership with the US Center for Mental Health & Sport (USC-MHS), building on our commitment to provide current and innovative training and support resources to our coaches, players and volunteers.
AYSO has always been a leader in youth development with our distinct Philosophies and child-centered approach; and we must continue to be intentional with our efforts and bold in our commitment to explicitly target social and current areas of need.
USC-MHS will offer organizational support, resources and guidance and offer in-person and virtual workshops to local Regions in our quest to address this important area of focus. USC-MHS believes in order to establish sport environments that promote and support positive mental health, participants struggling with mental health challenges need to be surrounded by people who are able to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, as well as be able to provide them basic information and resources to point them towards the pathway of support and recovery.
“In 2019, we identified mental health and wellness as an organizational priority, and post-COVID, the demand to supply resources and support has increased significantly,” stated Scott Snyder, AYSO Senior Director of Sport Development. “USC-MHS is the industry leader in mental health in sport research, trainings and applications, and will help educate AYSO in normalizing the topic, opening discussions to provide much needed local resources and guidance for our players and volunteers.”
USC-MHS Co-founder and Executive Director, Margaret Domka, stated, “We all have mental health, and we should never be ashamed to talk about it or get the support we need. Whether individuals’ mental health is thriving or languishing, the USC-MHS has the resources, training and support to help local AYSO Regions maximize the play environment and overall experience for all their membership including, of course, athletes.”
Online content and resources will be available this fall on the AYSO Mental Health and Well-Being site and workshop offerings will begin in early 2024. More details to come.
Established in 1964, AYSO is a national nonprofit organization that develops and delivers quality youth soccer programs, which promote a fun, family environment based on AYSO’s Six Philosophies: Everyone Plays®, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship, and Player Development. Today, AYSO has 1.6 million players, parents, siblings and volunteers. For more information, visit www.AYSO.org.
About The U.S. Center for Mental Health & Sport
The U.S. Center for Mental Health & Sport, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, develops sport environments that allow for optimum mental wellness by providing mental health awareness training and resources, opening pathways to access additional mental health support services, and committing to the advancement of mental health and sport research. For more information, visit https://mentalhealthandsport.org/.