1,141 kids ready to play some soccer
Youth soccer players may just want to keep an eye on their parents’ behavior instead of the other way around this season.
For the first time, parents will be required to sign a pledge certifying that they’ll behave during their kids’ games. Like other American Youth Soccer Organization leagues around the country, South Lake Tahoe AYSO will implement Kids Zone.
“This came down nationally because there were so many violent acts in youth sports across the country, so AYSO jumped on this with Kids Zone to start reinforcing (acceptable behavior) before anyone else did,” said Terry James, regional coach adminstrator for the local league.
Any parent breaking their pledge will be asked to leave the premises.
“We’re out there to have fun, not compete with everyone,” James said. “If they’re not obiding by it, they’ll be asked by a coach or someone else to leave the field. Until they obide by the pledge they cannot come back.
“Parents need to understand that we’re all volunteers, from the commission down the line to coaches and referees. A ref’s call is it, no questions, no confrontations. I’m going to be a quiet soccer mom with my hands crossed.”
Naturally, the league’s 1,141 players and 110 head coaches will be asked to conduct themselves by the same standards.
While accomodating as many players as possible, South Lake Tahoe’s league has bounded ahead of some areas by offering a Very Important Player divison for the first time. Children who are physically/mentally disabled or require special needs will share in the camaraderie, teamwork and thrills of competition that are rarely offered to them.
“The faces of the kids are just precious. It gives you the chills,” said regional commissioner Sandi Suarez. “We have one kid who received his uniform and he hasn’t taken it off yet. They’re so excited about being part of a team.”
The league currently has 12 players and kicks off Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Tahoe Paradise Park.
“We’re hoping that it grows into different areas like Gardnerville and Carson City and we can have interregional play.”
Once again, some coaches will be asked to provide a referee for each of their home games.
“Usually when we put a team together, a coach is informed that he or she needs to get a parent on their team to ref their games,” James said. “Some coaches have a problem with it, but we give them a list of 80 referees.”
Referees are volunteers and are not paid.
Players still hoping to join the league, should call (530) 577-AYSO. Leave your name, date of birth and phone number. You’ll be put on a waiting list and will be placed on a team as soon as possible.
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