Parents, referees, coaches and other volunteers,
By now you may have heard that AYSO is named in a lawsuit about policies in soccer regarding concussion. The news has been widely covered in major newspapers, PBS and the BBC. AYSO is named, along with FIFA (Federation International Football Assoc), and USSF (United States Soccer Federation). and several others. AYSO is probably included in the lawsuit because it is the youth affiliate of the USSF, is the largest youth soccer organization in the world, and is influential not only in soccer, but in youth sports policy in general. And the subject of concussions goes well beyond soccer.
I want to reassure you about your child playing in Palo Alto AYSO this season.
Concussions are a serious health issue in all sports, and that includes soccer. The primary means of getting a concussion in soccer is through, "heading" the ball, although players can also trip and hit their heads on the ground, or run into the goal post, For older players, concussion from heading is usually from two players banging their heads together while competing for the ball.
An additional concern is that research is showing that children who practice heading the ball can show the same brain lesions as if they had a concussion, even though the child has not had a concussion. This is especially true the younger the child is, but teen-agers are still susceptible.
AYSO has worked with the CDC to produce the CDC Concussion Awareness webinar that is offered through AYSO. AYSO requires coaches to take that course. In Palo Alto, we go farther and require all volunteers to take the Concussion Awareness course. This is because it is an important enough issue, with not enough common knowledge of the details. So, even though a volunteer may be working at the locker, or lining a field, we are "raising the tide" of awareness by requiring all to take it. Sometimes a volunteer questions if it is really necessary, but I hope that everyone can understand the importance of the need to raise everyone's awareness and knowledge of the procedures. I wish all parents would take it. It applies to your children not just at AYSO, but in whatever other sports activities they are engaged in, especially once they reach high school.
One of the points we learn in the Concussion Awareness training, is that we all have a responsibility to protect the safety of our children by encouraging recognition of concussion potential when a child bangs their head, and a cautious approach by our coaches, referees and match officials to handling the situation. If you have a concern about a player on the field, and you feel the coach and referee are not adequately protecting the child, email our Safety Director (firstname.lastname@example.org
), Child and Volunteer Protection Advocate (CVPA@ayso26.org
) and me, the Regional Commissioner (email@example.com
). If the matter appears to be urgent, text me at 650 537 0000.
We go a step further in our policies in Palo Alto AYSO, and forbid training for heading in U10 and younger, except for the advanced U10 teams in the AYSO Extra (Eltie) and Select Programs. But even then we urge caution and if it is to be trained, only careful light training. In our Instructional divisions at U8 and U10, if a player heads a ball, the referee is to call a "dangerous play foul", which gives the ball to the other team for a free kick. So we don't just tell players not to do it, we actively discourage it by penalizing them if they head the ball. We do allow such training and play starting at U12, but again, ask our coaches to go light.
I hope that our diligence succeeds to ameliorate concussion issues in our league, and concerns that might cause you angst.
If you have any concerns or comments please let me know.
Palo Alto AYSO
A NEW MASTER PLAN IS BEING CREATED FOR PALO ALTO
GET THE FACTS - BE IMPACTFUL
Aspiring to make our community better for you and the next generation of Palo Altans! We need your help in charting the future of our parks, facilities and recreation program.
Sign up on the email list below to stay involved and updated with the process.
Click on the link below for more information and feedback concerning Palo Alto’s Park & Recreation System.
GET ON THE EMAIL LIST AND STAY INVOLVED
Click on the link to send us your email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 650-617-3183.
Purpose and Goal of the Parks, Trails, Open Space and Recreation Master Plan
The purpose of this project is to provide the necessary analysis and review of Palo Alto’s parks and recreation system for the preparation of a long-range (25-year) Master Plan. The master plan will provide the City with clear guidance regarding future renovations and capital improvement needs for parks, trails, open space and recreation facilities.
The goal of the master plan is to provide clear guidance and recommendations on how to meet the demands for future recreational, programming, environmental, and maintenance needs, as well as establish priorities for future park renovations and facility improvements.
Why do we need a Master Plan?
The City currently has no cohesive plan to manage, improve and expand its parks and recreational facilities. The master plan is needed to ensure that the open-space and conversation needs of future generations are appropriately balanced, and to provide adequate funding to meet these needs.
The last comprehensive city parks and recreation master plan was completed in 1965.
Upcoming Meetings and Dates
Look for us out in the community this summer! Staff will be in the following locations to provide information on the project and gather your ideas:
• Event #1 – Rinconada Park, Saturday June 28, from 11am to 2pm
• Event #2 – Downtown Farmers Market, Saturday July 19, 8am to noon
• Event #3 – Mitchell Park, Saturday August 9, from 11am to 2pm (tentative)
• Community Survey – Coming in September 2014
Presentation Materials from Previous Meetings
City Council Study Session 3/24
Stakeholder Advisory Group Study Session 6/25
When:: August 30, 9am to 12 noon
Where: Festivities will be at Greer 1, 2 and 3
Who: Registered AYSO players and their family & friends
- fun, fast, short sided pickup games suited for each age group
- an inflatable mini-soccer field for outrageous soccer fun
- keeper wars
- fun games for kids
- balloons and ice cream
- Golden Anniversary training balls for the first 75 players
- soccer ball for each Palo Alto AYSO registered player
- pens and decals to personalize your soccer ball onsite
- visits by soccer personalities
- coaches can pickup season equipment at the field
- team managers can pick up team uniforms at the field
- return last seasons' uniforms
- onsite registration for new u4, U5 and U6 players
- onsite registration and guidance for volunteers
MUST DO: Be sure to bring your player form and wear your shin guards and suitable shoes. If you have your uniform, wear that, too! Non-AYSO children must be accompanied by a parent, and the parent will be required to sign a liability waiver.
U5 & U6 Coach Clinic - coaches, take the online U6 Coach course and then this 1 hour field clinic at the celebration, and you are set to go! 10am - 11am.
Sign up for summer camp now. Each camp is a week long. Choose form half day or full day. More information is HERE.
My son had a great time. The coaches, Andrew and Ben, were awesome. I feel like they really inspired my son to learn this game. I think they took very good care of the kids. I never worried about their safety. We especially enjoyed the video that they put together at the end of the week and posted on YouTube. My son has a summer full of camps, but he does have two free weeks and we are definitely signing up again. Please relay my thanks to the coaches, they did a great job. Michael Yen
23% of the respondents identified themselves
2/3 of the responding families had 1 child in the program
10% had more than 2 children in the program
Instructional and Select families responded in equal numbers, implying that the Select family representation was triple in percentage
85% would recommend their coach to another family
7% felt their coach did not follow AYSO principles
8% felt their coach did not help their player make expected progress
2% felt their children were very unsatisfied
8% felt their children were unsatisfied
12% felt their children thought their experience was ok
31% felt their children were satisfied
48% felt their children were very satisfied
Similar numbers of satisfaction were recorded for the parents satisfaction.
Coaching 12% very unsatisfied
44% very satisfied
Refereeing quality was almost all positive comments
68% of the respondents did volunteer in some capacity
Any Comments About Volunteering that Would Help Us?
- Coaching and refereeing is way too much for me to accomplish. You should train some young coaches/high school kids like Soccer Shots to make the practices fun for the kids.
- All parents should at least take a role instead of one person does it all.
- Palo AYSO really needs more active and involved age-group commissioners. They could help resolve any issues in a given league and allow the lead commissioner to focus on big picture management issues.
- An in person volunteer's meeting at start of fall season would help for first time volunteers, maybe little tables where you could learn about duties of each job. The website is confusing, and too busy.
- I felt like the website had so many links and so many places to go to find information that it was overwhelming. I was never quite sure if I had read everything because whenever I thought I had it all down, I'd find a new link with a whole new set of information and guidelines. It was very stressful in the beginning and at the end as I wasn't quite sure if I was doing things properly. I'm still not sure we did everything quite right...
- Better organization. Expectations are not clear and communication to regional volunteers was not good.
- I was a spontaneous volunteer as a line judge on several occasions. I would have liked to do more, but work and family commitments really got in the way this spring.
- On Line videos for helping coaching and players understand where to focus on. UK Soccer help.
- Get paid refs and increase the cost per girl to cover the extra cost
- Being a Field Marshall is easy. I did it twice this year. It does not require a 1 hour in person training session for a 2 hour volunteer job. Send an email description of the job to parents instead of asking them to attend a meeting. Removes a barrier to participation. Parents are too busy for xtra evening meetings.
- Discount fees for coaches
- Very unequal distribution of volunteer work. Anyone can ref, only three of us did. Many parents NEVER helped move goals or anything else.
- I noticed that there were 3 assistant coaches and 4 team managers signed up, but two of the assistant coaches were never there (and one of them, the child was never there, did he play with another team perhaps?). None of the team managers did much either, our snacks were unorganized. I think I expected our head coach to send out one beginning-of-the-season email to nominally get us organized. That didn't happen. So... the season was fine, but not as awesome as it could have been. I guess my only comment to the league specifically is to encourage the head coach to send that email at the beginning of the season so things seem more organized.
- assigning ref to games was confusing, different logins for kids, parent, instr. / elite, even different home pages
- Some people bring their kids to be babysat and I prefer to be a coach not a babysitter and that is the reason why I do not volunteer to be a coach. Also, you cannot be strict when you coach in AYSO. I am glad that others are able to volunteer and i command them for that
- Was very fun. I am so happy that I helped out with field Marshall. It was a great experience.
- Did not want to give my social security number
- I refereed. Too few referees meant I did games alone, which had the usual effect -- unhappy coaches.
General Comments Provided in the Feedback
What was your favorite part of the season?What was your least favorite part of the season?
Weekend gamespractices Great coaches The games! Spending time with other families my daughter had all her school friends on the team and it helped to know the parents games on saturday every practice was fun Practice flexibility Coach and team spirit some of the players it was all good Practice I like how Kinder soccer is organized with 1 day on Saturdaywatching boys have fun togethe Tournaments Games Fall tournament The Coach Traveling to Davis and being in Presidents Cup Positive energy coaches Games, friends Davis cup Coaches taught so well and were organized When it was over Practices and games Season League Games The training sessions watching the kids enjoy free play all of it Doing shared practices with another team Watching my son play coach did a mini keeper wars for spring instructional Other teammates The first 3/4 of the season was great allWhen the players knew they played well and had fun, even if they did not winCoach
Team strength Injuries not long enough Single field. Memorial Day wekeend game. Games in other towns Trying to wheel nets that the wheels did not work on. El Palo Alto practicing with 3rd Select team Negative coaching clickiness among players no team manager Not feeling respected or listened to by the coach Practices Started spring season late and a bit disorganized at first losing nearly every game -- quite uneven range of team skills Can't think of any Spring usual AYSO disorganization Occasional blow ups from the coachNone spring - coach was only at games Terrible practice field Practice time, wish it was slightly later. 10 am or later in the morning. n/aKids who didn't really want to play Davis Tournament Not enough parents participation The schedule none early morning games :) Uneven competitiontraveling to games far awayGames lack of carpool games/practicesthe crazy uniform policy Lack of parent volunteers on team first 2 times were chaos. my son would not go back. The last 1/4 because the season was too long last fall. It started early so it was just too much. The games ending My child's response to negative coaching Not sure
Congratulations to all of our Palo Alto Spring Select (PASS) teams for a job well done this past weekend at the Davis World Cup tournament. We had 9 PASS teams go this year and 4 of them made medal rounds, and another made the quarter finals. The road to play on Monday in this tournament is not easy, especially in divisions with double elimination such as U12 and U14. Playing 6 to 7 games in 3 days is difficult enough without having to deal with the 94+ degree heat we had this weekend. All of the teams, whether they made it to Monday or not, can be proud of their hard work this weekend and for the entire season.
5 Teams Made It Past the Elimination Round
G10 Net Rippers finished 2nd. They finished 5th in the White Bracket of 6 teams, but did not let up in the quarter final elimination game against Sunnyvale. The game with Sunnyvale was 0-0 late in the game when the Net Rippers scored a late goal to end 1-0. Their hard work earned them a trip to the semi final round against a fresh PHMSA team who earned a first round bye. The Net Rippers won the game 2-1 to advance into the finals against Davis, where they were eliminated 0-3.
B10 Sharks finished 4th. The Sharks finished 2nd in pool play even with a rocky start in their first game loss against the eventual champion of the White Bracket of 6 teams. They made up for it with a dominant quarter final win over Concord, but couldn't keep the momentum going in their loss to Sunnyvale in the semi final game only to play Davis in the consolation game.
B12 Spartans finished 4th. They had a difficult path to the medal round, a total of 7 games with a division of 16 teams. The Spartans finished 3rd in pool play. The first elimination game was against Davis with a sound 5-2 win, then faced Mountain View in the quarter final elimination game that battled to a 0-0 tie at the end of regulation. Setting up kicks from the mark to determine who advanced. The Sharks won the shootout 4-2 with their keeper blocking 3 of the 5 MV attempts. The win put them in the semi-final game against PHMSA, and an unfortunate 5-1 loss. They matched up against MDSA in the consolation game. Worthy of note, three of the top 4 teams that placed out of 16 teams came from the Spartan's original pool, finishing 1st, 2nd, and 4th.
B14 Elite made the final 8 of 12 teams, but were eliminated in the quarter finals. They finished in the bottom of their pool, but did not get discouraged. They had an exciting first round elimination game against PHMSA. In a very close 2-1 match. In this key elimination game, a PK was called with only seconds remaining in regulation time. The Palo Alto keeper selected the right direction, defended the shot, and before any one could play the ball the game was over and they advanced to the quarter finals. Their quarter final game ended in a 3-0 loss to 2nd place finisher, Visalia. Visalia had earned a bye and was fresh coming in against Elite.
B19 Raptors finished 4th. After finishing first in their pool, this young B19 team headed into their quarter final elimination game against PCSSL arch-rival Millbrae. The game ended 2-2 and went to kicks from the mark to decide the match. Palo Alto made their first two and the Palo Alto keeper blocked Millbrae's first two shots. Millbrae made their 3rd to close the gap to 2-1, Palo Alto missed again just off the pipe, followed by another deflected shot by the Palo Alto keeper. With needing only one more goal to win the game the Palo Alto keeper took and made the 5th shot to advance the Raptors to the Semi final. Down 1-0 in the second half, Palo Alto lost their keeper to injury and was out of the tournament, the final result was a 2-0 loss to Davis who took first place. The consolation game ended in a close 1-0 loss to the other Davis team.
The heat of this past weekend and the experiences were an excellent primer as they head south to Riverside, CA for the National Games.
Congratulations and Good Luck,
With Davis as our next event coming up this weekend, I do want to take a moment to reflect on the PCSSL season while it's still fresh in our minds, and since all of our teams will not be attending the Davis World Cup tournament. For them, the season has come to a close. I want to say thanks to all of the players, parents and the coaches for a job well done.
Overall this was a good season for our 14 Select teams. We have seen some young teams that are now the older team as their division progressed well over the past two years. It's not just about the Wins in the standings, but improvement that is being made with each passing season and that these players are sticking around to play more soccer, in our program. It shows that we are working to do the right thing in providing them a positive playing experience. Coming back for more is one of the most important indicators that our coaches are providing the right environment and reflects well upon our program as a whole.
PCSSL put together different flights that was intended to match similar team strength. They didn't always do this well, especially in the two flight divisions, so the win-loss records can be misleading. I hope next season, when possible, all teams within a flight should play against each other, and if another game is needed to complete the 8 game schedule, then playing outside of the flight is okay. This is better than playing the same team twice. I will work with the scheduler next season to fix this.
The season does have its highlights in PCSSL. We should look at all of our divisions, not just your own, to see and to congratulate our fellow coaches and their teams for a job well done. Even the teams that did not place, their record may be misleading. Looking close at some of the match ups, there were some close games.
This PCSSL Season
G10 Net Rippers coached by Jim Pflasterer finished 2nd in the upper division
G10 Predators coached by Karl Yost finished 2nd in the lower division
G12 Thunder coached by Jim Smith finished 2nd in the upper division
B10 Serpents coached by Jerome Dochez finished 1st in the lower division.
B12 Spartans coached by Sefano and Jim McGregor finished 2nd in the upper division. They also finished 2nd at Concord this past weekend.
B19 Raptors coached by me finished 1st in the solo flight
Tryouts went well this past weekend. More tryouts this Thursday for some of the divisions. Thanks to all that could pitch in Saturday to help. High 5s to Gordon for all of his hard work getting the word out and for his endless amount of support on so many fronts.
RC Footnote; I am pleased with the progress of our Select and Elite program to rebuild our competitive teams. Clearly, providing year-round opportunity, and improving our coach bench have both been seminal to rebuilding this service to our community. It is accomplished with the hard work and many hours our coaches are dedicating to our community and families. Many thanks and kudos to the coaches.
- 45-Venemous Tigers
- 129-YMC Alliance