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Kids Zone®

Unique Program Promotes Sideline Cheerleaders
Kids Zone® is a unique program that includes a parent commitment to positive, 
encouraging behavior while watching games.
In AYSO, fans are asked to be cheerleaders, not critics

Soccer is a player’s game.  Players learn the game by trying new things, making mistakes and trying again.  Sideline critics who shout instructions at players or criticize referees or coaches just slow down the learning process and make it less fun for everyone. 

Kids are #1
  • Fun, Not winning, is everything
  • Fans only cheer, and only coaches, coach
  • No yelling in anger, or yelling negatively
  • Respect our volunteer referees and coaches

Kids Zone Parent Pledge

In Palo Alto AYSO we ask that parents read and honor the Pledge.  

  1. I pledge to be on time or early when bringing my child to  practices and games. I understand that it may be uncomfortable for my child to be late to a game or practice and that my child is subject to physical risk if not provided with adequate time to warm up. I understand that I am encouraged to stay during practices and games, but if I do not, I will be there when the session is finished. Being punctual shows respect for the coach, who has other time commitments, and it tells my child where my priorities are.
  2. I understand that the top three reasons kids play sports are to have fun, make new friends and learn new skills. I understand that the game is for the kids, and I will encourage my child to have fun and keep sport in its proper perspective. I understand that athletes do their best when they are emotionally healthy, so I will be positive and supportive.
  3. I will define what it is to be a “Winner” in my conversations with my child. Winners are people who make the maximum effort, continue to learn and improve, and do not let mistakes, or fear of making mistakes, discourage them. Mistakes are an inevitable part of any game and people learn from their mistakes. All children are born with different abilities and the true measure of success is not how my child compares to others, but how my child is improving.
  4. I will “Honor the Game.” I understand the importance of setting a good example of sportsmanship for my child and will show respect for all involved in the game including coaches, players, opponents, opposing fans, and referees. I understand that officials, coaches, and players make mistakes. If the referee makes a call I do not agree with, I will refrain from questioning, insulting or making personal attacks.
  5. I understand that games can be exciting for my child while dealing with the fast-paced action of the game, responding  to opponents, referees, teammates, and listening to coaches. I will not yell out instructions. During the game, I will make only sportsmanlike comments that encourage my child and other players on both teams.
  6. I will not make negative comments about the game, coaches, referees or teammates in my child's presence. This sets a bad example, which can negatively influence my child's motivation and overall experience. I agree to act in a sportsmanlike manner and make every effort to foster a friendly and non- violent atmosphere.

I will honor the AYSO Parent Pledge in my words and actions.

Tools for Parents

The following ideas may be helpful for being a supportive AYSO parent.

Conversations before the games.

  • “Go for it, give it your best shot and have fun!”

During the game

  • Kids are over-stimulated during games. The coach may be giving instructions, opponents and teammates are talking, the crowd is cheering, and the referee is blowing the whistle. To a youth sports participant, the atmosphere is much like that of a fighter pilot with enemy jets racing all around. Do not yell instructions to your child during the game because it only adds to the confusion. Sometimes the best thing you can do as a parent is to be quiet.
  • Cheer and acknowledge good plays by both teams.

After the game

  • Thank the officials for doing a difficult job.
  • Thank the coaches for their efforts. After a difficult loss, recognize that it is not a good time to question a coach.
  • Thank your opponents for a good game.
  • Congratulate your child and teammates for their efforts.
  • Compliment individual players on good plays they made in the game.

During the car ride home

  • Point out a good play your child made during the game.
  • Avoid criticizing or correcting mistakes.
  • Ask open-ended questions about how the game was played rather than how many points were scored. Here are examples of open-ended questions that might apply:
    • Did you have fun?
    • Did you give it your best effort?
    • What did you learn from the game?
    • What was the best play you made and how did it feel?
    • Did you bounce back from your mistakes?

AYSO recognizes the efforts and advancements made by the Positive Coaching Alliance in Honor of the Game. The Kids Zone Parent Pledge is adapted from Positive Coaching Alliance's Parent Pledge.