SportsEvents Magazine

APR 2018

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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Page 8 of 67 2018 Soccer & Lacrosse Fields & Facilities Sourcebook 9 The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) also adopts a "child first" approach to the game, with small-sided games (mandated in August 2017) for younger players so that all the players get their feet on the ball. Started in 1964 with nine teams, AYSO now has 50,000 teams and more than 500,000 players. US Club Soccer is expanding its Player Development Programs and identification programs, now hosting eight to 10 throughout the country. In 2017, 1,000 teams participated in National Cup events. With the addition of a sixth National Cup Regional this year and expanded State Cup qualifiers, Heffernan said US Club Soccer anticipates 1,200 total teams this year. US Youth Soccer has 55 state associations, with some states split into two. These associations hold various tournaments all year long, including some qualifying tournaments that allow teams to compete in regional and national events, said JoEllen DeLeon, marketing and communications coordinator for US Youth Soccer in Frisco, Texas. In the 2017 season, 1,024 teams and more than 18,400 players took part in US Youth Soccer National Championship Series games. More than 8,600 players who played for more than 500 teams took to the field in the Presidents Cup regionals and national. And even more players were part of US Youth Soccer's National League competition. Organizations want to make the experience as fun and affordable as possible for players and families, and that includes choosing the right facilities for its events. "As we see more families traveling for events, we want to ensure we provide a great experience for them, as well as the athletes," Heffernan said. "Destinations are determined by multiple factors, including target age group(s) and competition level, travel distance for participants, facility criteria, club engagement and city support, among others." US Club Soccer looks for facilities that can accommodate the number of games while maintaining quality playing surfaces. Ideally, the facilities are run or supported by its local clubs, Heffernan said. City support is also important for determining destinations. "Not only can the city help ensure there are adequate hotel accommodations at favorable rates but CVBs and sports commissions have been a great resource for providing additional ► t SOCCER Spotlight City of College Station Department of Parks & Recreation Veterans Park Athletic Complex Soccer Club game at City of College Station, Texas

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