Near the end of last season, we got to sit down and talk to a very unique soccer family about their AYSO soccer experience.
Six kids pile into a van, soccer bags ready, cleats in hand and bubbling with energy while part-time AYSO referee and full-time soccer dad, Mike Jansta, is getting behind the wheel, ready to drive this small group to a long day at the field. It was just another day of AYSO soccer for this father, but for anyone else, it could be something right out of a blockbuster family movie.
Every weekend, Mike and his wife Lisa, prepare for a full Soccer Saturday at the field with their six kids, three sets of twins in Ladera Ranch, CA (Region 1455). He and his wife Lisa are a stellar team of soccer parents that both find amazing ways to stay involved with each of their soccer star’s AYSO days. From parenting to volunteering, this pair gets the best out of AYSO with their unique family.
Mike knew that having six kids would mean long days of dad duties but spending long days at the soccer field was an unexpected surprise. A life-long baseball fan, he never thought he’d be giving all his time to the beautiful game of soccer at this point in his life. His story of refereeing came to be so he could be more involved in all of his kids’ games while juggling a busy work schedule.
“When you have 6 kids, being a coach is difficult because someone is going to get left out,” said Mike. “So, when they asked for volunteers, I knew I could figure something out. Refereeing made the most sense, I could get some exercise, be allowed to referee the kids’ games up to a certain age and have the best seat in the house for some of their games.”
Each pair of twins came as a great surprise for Mike and Lisa. As they all became old enough to play sports, he began to look for the best possible organization that would fit his family and AYSO was the best option. They were able to accommodate their needs and ensure each child had a partner in their age group when possible. The three pairs of twins include Boy and Girl 11-year-olds, that play on their own 12U teams, identical 10-year-old boys on the same 10U team and fraternal 9-year-old boys on their own 10U teams.
Janice Lugo, Regional Commissioner of Ladera Ranch AYSO, knew she had an amazing group joining her region from the moment she heard about them.
“When we heard at in-person Registration that there was a family with 3 sets of twins that registered, we were all amazed. Honestly, if one family in our region wasn’t going to volunteer, I would think this family had a great excuse with kids on four different teams, however, I was even more amazed when I saw Mike out there refereeing games,” recalled Lugo about the Jansta family. “He has refereed 108 games for our region since he started volunteering for us!”
Their family’s soccer partnership has grown as the children have gotten older and his kids have joined him in the refereeing ranks.
“They have a great youth referee program in Ladera Ranch and they really encourage parents to bring their kids into the program, so my kids became regional referees,” Mike said. “It helps them learn the ins and outs of the game more in depth. From knowing how to play teams off side to knowing when to make well-timed run while staying on sides.”
With the help of Regional Referee Administrator, Tony Tiengtum, the Jansta family has received insightful referee training that has developed them into stellar volunteers within Ladera Ranch AYSO.
“The Jansta family has been a fantastic example of AYSO principles and community volunteerism,” shared Tiengtum. “Mike and Lisa have been great to our program. Mike will stick around a field all day to make sure kids get to play, while Lisa is shuttling their kids from game to game. In addition, Lucas and Sabrina (two eldest twins) have started refereeing games to give back to Region 1455. Sometimes I wonder how they keep track of it all.”
While the two eldest begin to dip their toes in the world of refereeing, the other four will continue to do what they do best – love playing soccer.
“The oldest two are both youth referees starting this year. In fact, all 3 of us are refereeing a 10U semi-final match tomorrow morning with me at center and Lucas/Sabrina as assistant referees,” said Mike.
Whether the whole family continues refereeing or not, they are still a model soccer family for their Region and Janice Lugo is glad to have them.
“As volunteers, we believe in giving back to our community and Mike is no different…it makes me smile seeing the next generation of Janstas refereeing on our fields,” said Lugo. “Mike is a great example to his children and they are learning important life lessons while spending quality time together. In addition, his wife Lisa supports Mike as it is a two-person effort every Saturday, between their own children’s games and the volunteer portion. We are really blessed to have them in our region.”
And we are honored to have them as part of our AYSO family.