The Elite Program is beginning its 3rd year this fall. It was originally conceived in Palo Alto as part of the AYSO Extra® Program, similar to the Spring Select Program. Intended to provide more advanced instruction and competitive play, the Elite Program included a game venue against similarly competitive teams in the greater Bay Area, and tournaments.
The prior year, the Recreational Program was transformed into the Instructional Program with increased emphasis on soccer instruction. Still intended for recreational soccer players, the increased instruction is intended to better enable recreational players to understand, enjoy and play soccer.
Spring Instructional was added to the Palo Alto AYSO program, providing for more recreational soccer fun.
Altogether, the Fall Instructional, Fall Elite, Spring Instructional and Spring Select permit a near year-round enjoyment of the great game of soccer at both the recreational and competitive level.
However, our experience from the past did not prepare us for some of the challenges that have emerged, and we need to make an extra effort, and adjustment of our programs, to re-align them to better fulfill our intended program benefits.
Our historical experience was based upon Fall Recreational and Spring Select only. The two programs provided fall recreational soccer, and competitive soccer for a small subset of players in the spring. The two programs did not overlap or compete with each other for coaches, resources, players, fields, or management attention.
With the addition first of Instructional Spring soccer and then Fall Elite competitive soccer, these programs do overlap. Our challenge is to now dovetail the programs in such a way that resources are shared, and in such a way that each program complements and enhances the other.
A model for this exists in AYSO, called Concurrent AYSO Extra. In this model, the coaches, teams and players are bound more integrally, with a mixture of common and separate training and game venues. The planning of this model can be complicated, but the end result seen from the point of view of the player and their families is not much different than it has been, other than the training and play being improved.
I will be working with our Board and our coaches on this for the next two months. I hope to be able to report more detail July, and for certain, we will address these issues this fall.
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Palo Alto AYSO