Graduated Approach to Learning Soccer Palo Alto AYSO operates a graduated approach to learning soccer with fields, rules and teams sized appropriately to age and learning needs. Offered in the Fall and in the Spring, the Instructional Program is open to all boys and girls between the ages of 2 and 18, with age eligibility determined as of July 31 preceding the Program start date. There are no tryouts for the Instructional Program. Interest and enthusiasm are the only criteria for instruction and playing. Any level of experience is welcome, from beginners to advanced. And all play at least 75% of each game.
Our programs are about playing and learning through playing. This is true in our Instructional and our competitive Programs. Winning does not trump playing time for any player.
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- All Divisions (Except Kinder and earlier)
- Training is twice a week on weekdays, usually late afternoon, ending toward dusk
- Games are once a week on weekends, beginning the first weekend after Labor Day
- U7 to U19 Divisions
- U7 to U10 train twice a week for 60 minutes at an elementary school ground, typically near you
- U12 to U19 train twice a week for 90 minutes at a local park
- U7 to U14 plays on Saturday at various Palo Alto schools and parks
- U16 and U19 play on Sunday at a local city park, or a nearby city (Madison League)
- K (Under 6) and Pre-K (Under 5) Divisions
- U5 Division is co-ed
- training/games are combined on Saturday afternoon at Greer Park in a one-hour program
- Kicker (Under 4 and Under 3) Divisions
- fun games are on Saturday morning, typically at Seale Park in a 45 minute program
- kicker program is co-ed
Program Dates & Specific Information
Spring - the Spring Instructional Program runs from mid-March to the weekend prior to Memorial Day. Registration commences January 1. The dates vary slightly each year, check the Regional Calendar on the home page for details.
- U8 to U14 Divisions
- training starts in mid-March
- games start in late-March and end the weekend before Memorial Day
- game schedule is interlocked with sister regions and Area 2J, including Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Saratoga, and west San Jose. The exact game formats are adjusted to accommodate the mix of Regions combining in a given year.
- most games are in Palo Alto, but some will be in nearby cities. The number of them depends on the mix of teams.
- training sessions are twice a week, after school or in the early evening, in Palo Alto.
- U8 includes U7 and U10 includes U9
Fall - the Fall Instructional Program runs from late August until the weekend before Thanksgiving. Some divisions finish a week earlier, and some divisions go a week longer for tournaments. Registration commences in April.
- U7 to U19 Divisions
- training starts in mid-August (first week of school)
- games start in early September, the weekend after Labor Day and end before Thanksgiving
- all regular season games are in Palo Alto for U7-U14
- tournaments for U10 and U12 are in early December
- U16 and U19 play on Sunday in Palo Alto and nearby cities
- U16 and U19 interlock their game schedule with our sister regions, known as Madison League
Teams are formed a week before training starts. Parents may view the team assignment of their players and more, as explained in http://faq.ayso26.org.
Age Divisions: Players are grouped into divisions by their age. Their age as of July 31 preceding the Program start date is used for this determination. This means that most teams include players from two or three school grades. Players with fall birthdays who would be in a division younger than most of their grade may optionally request on the registration form to play up into the older division. Additionally, some players may be more advanced due to experience and participation in the Palo Alto Spring Select (PASS) Program. These players may also play up to gain a higher level of instruction and challenge.
Balanced Teams: AYSO balances teams, meaning we distribute the players as evenly as possible according to age, experience, and current skill level. In addition, we try to factor in training field or school attendance, preferred practice days, and field availability.
We try to place a small number of players (3) from each school onto a team together. This allows for players to have a classmate on the team, and also provides a great opportunity for players to make new friends from other neighborhoods in Palo Alto.