Getting Started in AYSO
Our soccer league is divided into 20 divisions based on age and gender so that players play with and against kids their own age and gender. The divisions have names like "U8 Girls" and "U12 Boys." The "U" stands for "under," so the U8 Girls Division is for girls who are under 8 years old as of August 1, just before the season starts. We have divisions for each year U5 through U12, plus U14 for 13- and 14-year-olds and U19 for high school students. Smaller regions generally don't have enough players to field teams for each year, so they offer only even numbered years (U6, U8, U10, etc.). One of the benefits of playing in Region 104 is the opportunity to play with kids your own age.
The U6 division is generally kindergarten, U7 is generally first grade, and so on, but, because AYSO figures a players age as of August 1 and Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) figures ages based on September 1, there is not a perfect correlation between ages and school grades. To help with that situation, we offer players born in August the opportunity to play with the division based on their age (making them one of the oldest players in their division) or with the next older division so that they can play with their school classmates. If you have any question as to the proper division for your players, go to the Which Division page, enter the player's birthdate, and you will get a definitive answer.
The Soccer Season
Our soccer season runs from the middle of August to the middle of May with a break from Halloween to Valentines Day. Each spring, parents have the opportunity to register their children for the next soccer season. (For all the registration details, see the registration page.) Then in July, teams are formed and assigned to coaches. In August, we train our coaches and referees, coaches meet with their teams for the first time, and practices begin. U5 and U6 teams don't hold practices during the week, U7 and U8 generally have one practice per week, and U9 and up have two practices per week. To get all the details, look at the At-A-Glance page. We form teams by neighborhood, so practices are generally located at a park in your neighborhood.
If you miss spring registration, you can still try to get on a team. By contacting your division's registrar (e-mail address are on the contacts tab of the home page) you can put your name on a waiting list, and if any of the teams in the division need players, you may have a chance to join. Unfortunately, you may not get to play on a team in your neighborhood if you join a team from the waiting list.
Soccer games are on Saturdays at a park somewhere in town. You can look at the Game Schedules to get an idea where you division will play. We play eight games in the fall portion of the season, which generally fall on all the Saturdays in September and October. By the time Daylight Savings Time ends, so do soccer practices. We then take a break through November, December and January, and practices begin again around the middle of February. The eight spring games generally take place in March and April with a weekend off for Spring Break. By the end of April the season is over with the exception of end-of-season tournaments that some divisions hold the first weekend in May.
At the beginning of the fall and spring portions of the season, we also put on four 2-hour skills clinics called PowerSkills. These fall on the two Saturdays before the first game and the two Sundays after the first game. All the details are on the PowerSkills page.
Because AYSO believes "everyone plays" we have special programs to provide more opportunities to play. For children and adults whose physical or mental disabilities make it difficult to successfully participate on mainstream teams, we have the Very Important Player (VIP) program. For players who want to play in tournaments in addition to their regular season teams we have the Advanced Competition Team program. And for players who want even more of a challenge, we have the Challenge Teams program, in which players are selected for teams to represent AYSO in the local club soccer schedule.