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Everyone Plays, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship, Player Development

 

AYSO serving the youth of Oak Park and surrounding communities

AYSO Region 697 is an all-volunteer organization providing spring and fall soccer programs for elementary through high school players from the Oak Park area.

Teams are balanced and organized by age. It's all about the kids.

Participation is open to all. Volunteers welcome.

 

The Most Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Why AYSO versus club soccer or other programs?
When is the AYSO soccer season?
Should I volunteer to help ?
Is there a local VIP Program ?

Registration & Teams

When is registration ?
How do I register my child to play ?
What if I missed registration ?
What are age "divisions" ?
Why doesn't OP AYSO offer a U6 or U5 program and what can I do with my younger child?
What if my child drops out and I would like to request a refund ?
What other expenses will there be ?
Who will be my child's coach?
What if my child wants to play for a different coach ?
Can my child play on the same team as her best friend ?
My child is better than her age group. Can she "play up" in an older division ?
My child is rather timid. Can he "play down" with younger kids ?
What are "ratings" ?

Practices & Game

When do practices start in the Fall season ?
When do practices start in the Spring season ?
Where are practices held ?
How often are practices held ?
How long are practices ?
What do players wear to practice ?
What do players wear to games ?
Where (and when) do we get a uniform ?
Where do we get a ball, cleats and shinguards ?
What size ball do we need ?
Where are the games held ?
How long are games ?
Can I bring my dog to games ?
Are there bathrooms at the fields ?
How early before a game should players arrive ?
What if it is (or has been) raining before a game ?
What if a game is cancelled ?
What if a player cannot make it to a game ?
Can players wear earrings ?
Can players wear any jewelry ?
Can players wear medical alert bracelets ?
Can girls wear hair clips ?
Is wearing glasses safe ?
Can players wear sunglasses ?
Can my child play wearing a cast or splint ?
Can my child play wearing a knee brace ?

Issues & Concerns

What if we don't like our coach ?
What should I do if I see something happen during a game that seems wrong ?
What do I do if the referee is making bad calls ?

 

Why AYSO versus club soccer or other programs?

Soccer is a wonderful sport for children, and they should have a good experience with any soccer program. AYSO soccer is primarily a recreational league designed to be SAFE, FUN and FAIR. There are no "try-outs" or "cuts". Everyone who signs up will get to play in every game, where the goal is to learn and have a great time with no pressure to "just win". In comparison, most "club" teams are highly competitive with more aggressive play, and players are expected to already know how to play soccer well.

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When is the AYSO soccer season?

The primary AYSO playing season is in the fall from end-of-August through the beginning of November. There is a follow-on season in the spring that runs from April through June.

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Should I volunteer to help?

OF COURSE!! Our AYSO program is a totally volunteer organization run by the parents of players (and often the parents of former players who have moved on but the parents still enjoy helping). There are projects you can help with that take two hours one time up to jobs that require a couple of hours each week. Something for everyone with no experience necessary. Check out the VOLUNTEERS page.

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Is there a VIP Program?

The AYSO Very Important Players (VIP) Program provides a quality soccer experience for children and adults whose physical or mental disabilities make it difficult to successfully participate on mainstream teams. Oak Park AYSO does not offer a VIP Program. Chicago does.

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When is registration?

We typically have registration day events in February for the Spring Season and June for the Fall Season. We hold registration very early so that we have time to organize teams and train a sufficient number of coaches and referees before games start. Go to the REGISTRATION page to get all of the details on the process, dates and times.

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How do I register my child to play?

Go to the REGISTRATION page to get all of the details on the process, dates and times.

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What if I missed registration?

Check the REGISTRATION page for instructions for late registration. The child will most likely be put onto the waiting list pending final team organization.

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What are the age "divisions"?

As part of making balanced team that will allow for safe, fair and fun play, AYSO divides players into groups based on their ages as of 31 July of the Fall season year. A child that turned 7 in March will be in the Under 8 (U8) division, while a child who turns 9 in September will play in the Under 10 (U10) division. If your child has an August birthday, please make special note of the division in which your child is placed by eAYSO. When in question, OP AYSO will put children in their division by grade. Check out the DIVISION BY AGE AND GRADE CHART to quickly see where your child will be placed.

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Why doesn't OP AYSO offer a U6 or U5 program and what can I do with my younger child?

We would love to offer soccer for our younger soccer fans, but Oak Park simply does not have enough field space to allow for a U6 or U5 program. The Park District of Oak Park and Elmwood Park AYSO have U6 programs.

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What if my child drops out and I would like to request a refund?

Go to the REFUND POLICY page for details and instructions.

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What other expenses will there be?

The registration covers a jersey, shorts, socks, equipment, field rental space and supplemental accident insurance for AYSO-sponsored activities. Players need shinguards, appropriate shoes, and a ball. Additional expenses may include a gift for the coaches, and occasional team snacks.

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Who will be my child's coach?

AYSO teams are coached by volunteers from the community, many of them parents with children in the program. Coaches are required to complete age appropriate training, as well as Safe Haven training. Teams are reformed every season to keep them balanced, and coaches are randomly assigned to teams so that play will be safe, fair and fun.

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What if my child wants to play for a different coach?

In order to ensure teams are balanced and fair, we cannot allow players to request specific coaches or coaches to request specific players. The only exception is that coaches can coach their own kids if they wish. Therefore, if your child wants to play for a specific coach, that coach needs to be you (so volunteer! You'll love it.).

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Can my child play on the same team as her best friend?

For the U8 divisions, we try to honor requests to play with friends. That said, we cannot always honor that request. For the U10 and above divisions, balancing teams take priority over friend requests. However, you may request up to 3 friends and, if balanced teams are possible, we will try and keep your child with at least one of the 3.

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My child is better than her age group. Can she "play up" in an older division?

For safety reasons based on too much variation in size and weight, we never approve "playing up."

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My child is rather timid. Can he "play down" with younger kids?

Actually, you don't want them to. AYSO is structured to be recreational and low pressure. Having your child interact with his physical peers in a fun environment will allow him to gain self-confidence.

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What are "ratings"?

At the end of each season, division coaches assign a rating for each player based on their observations over the season. These ratings are used in subsequent seasons to help build balanced teams. All ratings are kept strictly confidential.

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When do practices start in the Fall season?

Most coaches start practices in mid-August.

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When do practices start in the Spring season?

Most coaches start practices in early April.

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Where are practices held?

Different divisions practice throughout fields in Oak Park. Your coach will inform you of practice locations when he contacts you before the start of the season. Check the FIELD LOCATIONS page for details and directions to all fields.

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How often are practices held?

U8 - before their games on Saturday. All other divisions may practice up to two times per week at the discretion of the coach.

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How long are practices?

Typically, practices are between 60 and 90 minutes long, but individual coaches can vary their schedule.

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What do players wear to practice?

Typical practice attire is shorts and a tee shirt (or sweatshirt if it's chilly). Players should wear their cleats and MUST wear their shinguards with socks pulled up to completely cover the shinguards.

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What do players wear to games?

The required uniform is the "five esses": shirt, shorts, socks, shoes and shinguards. Players may wear long sleeve plain tee shirts under their shirts if it is cool, and may wear compression shorts under their soccer shorts.

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Where (and when) do we get a uniform?

Uniforms are distributed by the coaches one to two weeks before Opening Day. Check the CALENDAR for locations and times.

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Where do we get a ball, cleats and shinguards?

Target, Walmart and Sports Authority carry equipment. In addition, if you prefer to shop local, Chicago Soccer at 3415 W North Ave in Melrose Park, Extreme Soccer at 6611 26th St in Berwyn and Forever Sports at 6907 Cermak in Berwyn each carries a range of excellent choices.

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What size ball do we need?

U8 divisions: #3
U10 | U12 divisions: #4
U16 | U19 divisions: #5

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Where are the games held?

Different fields (of different sizes) are set up for different divisions. Your coach and the online scheduling system will have the information for your team. The FIELD LOCATIONS page gives locations and directions to all our fields.

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How long are games?

Different divisions play different amounts of time:

U8 20 min halves with 2-min “mid-half" break and a 5 min halftime
U10 25 min halves with 1-min “mid-half" break and a 5-10 min halftime
U12 30 min halves with 1-min “mid-half" break and a 5-10 min halftime
U14 35 min halves with 1-min “mid-half" break and a 5-10 min halftime
U19 45 min halves and a 5-10 min halftime

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Can I bring my dog to games?

No. Dogs are not allowed on Oak Park, Elmwood Park or River Forest fields.

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Are there bathrooms at the fields?

Sayer Field in Elmwood Park does not have bathrooms. All other parks have port-a-potties or bathrooms. Occasionally, Berwyn bathrooms are locked.

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How early before a game should players arrive?

Most coaches want their players to arrive 30 minutes before a game to warm up and get checked in by the referee.

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What if it is (or has been) raining before a game?

Soccer is played in the rain, but cleats on muddy fields tear up the grass. If it is wet or raining before a match, check the FIELD CONDITION HOTLINE for field status, since they may get closed for the day.

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What if a game is cancelled?

There is no official make-up game policy. Your coach will notify you if a cancelled game can be rescheduled.

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What if a player cannot make it to a game?

Your coach would really appreciate a call or a text message as soon as you know a player is not going to be at a game so that they can adjust their lineup.

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Can players wear earrings?

No, under no circumstances can players (girls or boys) wear earrings during practices or games. It is a major safety hazard. If a young girl has just had her ears pierced and cannot take out her studs, she must sit out the game. Taping over earrings is not acceptable. Do not get your child's ears pierced within 6 weeks of the start of the season.

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Can players wear any jewelry?

No. A standard referee safety check speech goes: "check for no finger rings, no earrings, no nose rings, no belly button rings, no necklaces, no bracelets, no watches and no metal clips in the hair." Nothing that could injure someone.

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Can players wear medical alert bracelets?

Yes, but they must be secured with tape except for the alert medal so that nothing can get caught.

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Can girls wear hair clips?

Metal and plastic hair clips are not allowed on the field for practice or during a game. Players with long hair may wish to wear soft hair ties such as "Scrunchies". The referee shall decide if an article of clothing is unsafe.

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Is wearing glasses safe?

The wearing of prescription glasses is allowed but must include a headstrap. It is strongly recommended that the lenses and frames be made of materials designed for sports safety. Of course, sports goggles are preferred.

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Can players wear sunglasses?

No, non-prescription sunglasses are not allowed for safety reasons.

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Can my child play wearing a cast or splint?

No, for two reasons. The first is that if a doctor says that the cast or splint is still required for healing then the player should not risk additional injury. The second reason is that casts and splints are dangerous for other players. Soft support wraps are allowed if the referee deems them to be safe.

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Can my child play wearing a knee brace?

Yes, knee braces and other soft support wraps are allowed if the referee deems them to be safe.

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What if we don't like our coach?

You are urged to talk with the coach in a calm manner and try to work out the problems like adults, away from the players (preferably this meeting will be done outside of practice or games). If no solution can be reached, parents may contact the appropriate Division Manager listed on the CONTACT US page.

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What should I do if I see something happen during a game that seems wrong?

Depending on the situation, you can talk to the coach. You may also contact the appropriate regional board member listed on our CONTACT US page. For instance, if you have a concern about a referee, you should not confront the referee at the game. Instead, let your child's coach know, or contact our referee administrator.

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What do I do if the referee is making bad calls?

Two answers.

One is that the referee is a volunteer who is doing the best job they can, so it's really important that parents, coaches and players treat them with respect. Criticizing them during a game is highly discouraged. Remember that our young referees are learning as well.

However, the second answer is that some referees try to officiate in games where they are not really qualified based on the level of play. You can share any concerns or experiences with the Regional Referee Administrator and they will be investigated. Please send an appropriate email to one of the regional board members listed on the CONTACT US page.

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