Aug. 7, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Last weekend, AYSO kicked off the 2009 soccer season with its annual coaches meeting at UCSB's Harder Stadium. Scores of coaches filled the stands to hear AYSO Regional Commissioner, John Maloney, and UCSB men's soccer coach, Tim Vom Steeg, touch on their goals for the upcoming season.
Making soccer history
AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) has headlined Santa Barbara's youth soccer scene since 1976 and continues to teach soccer and sportsmanship to 3000 local children on approximately 300 teams and is supported by over 1000 volunteers each season.
The upcoming season is slated be the most striking to date. With registration still going strong for the Fall season, division coordinators are busy recruiting volunteer coaches and referees, while forming balanced teams for children between the ages of 5 and 19.
The UCSB-AYSO Partnership
The UCSB athletic department and Coach Vom Steeg are committed to making soccer fun, family friendly and exciting for the youth in our community. The Gauchos play a fast, aggressive and high scoring brand of soccer that is intended to electrify fans of all ages.
This season, Gaucho players will be volunteering as guest coaches for AYSO team practices. UCSB will also allow kids the opportunity to be Gaucho ball boys and girls and participate in mini-games at half time of both the men's and women's games.
At the meeting, Coach Vom Steeg shared many of his coaching philosophies and his favorite drills with the AYSO attendees. In addition to promoting positive coaching and sportsmanship, Coach stressed the importance of teaching our kids to compete. The ability to compete is a skill that will transfer from the field to the classroom and to the workforce. I must admit that I personally benefited from this philosophy, as Coach Vom Steeg was one of my assistant soccer coaches when I was a senior at San Marcos High School some 20 years ago.
In AYSO, "Everyone Plays" and for our local region this is more than just a slogan. To maximize playing time, no player will play the whole game until all other players have played at least three quarters.
Since soccer should be accessible to all children and registration fees should not be a barrier to participation, our local region supports open registration by offering over 200 full or partial scholarships each season.
Physical challenges should also not exclude a child from playing soccer. The VIP (Very Important Player) division is designed for children with special needs. Last season there were three local teams in this division.
Youth athletic programs teach kids to exercise, improve self-esteem, reinforce teamwork, promote sportsmanship, learn to compete and most of all...to have fun.
I had the good fortune to grow up in Santa Barbara and play soccer in Region 122. It is now my pleasure to give back to the same organization by coaching my son and his teammates and being one of 25 hard working, energetic and passionate AYSO Board volunteers. I hope you will join us this season.
If you are interested in learning more about AYSO and UCSB athletics, I would encourage you to visit www.ayso-santabarbara.org and UCSBgauchos.com.
Season tickets for the 2009 men's soccer season are on sale for only five bucks a game. Fans who purchase 2009 season tickets will be guaranteed the opportunity to buy tickets for the 2010 Men's NCAA College Cup hosted by UCSB at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium Dec. 10-12, 2010. To accompany the successful "Soccer Town, USA" slogan as part of the College Cup bid, a discounted family valued offer is also available where a family of five can catch games for only $2.50 per game! Family Plan package also includes three free youth t-shirts and memberships to the new UCSB kids club, GKids. Fans can easily buy tickets online or by calling 805-893-UCSB. To purchase your tickets click here.
- UCSBgauchos.com -