In what has become an annual tradition, Santa Monica’s local AYSO soccer league will send a spate of teams to various tournaments over Thanksgiving weekend. With over 1,500 players aged 4-19, AYSO is the city’s largest youth league in terms of participation, and approximately 250 players in the under 10 to under 14 divisions, both boys and girls, will compete against other elite teams from throughout Southern California. If the past is any prediction of the future, Santa Monica will enjoy a strong tournament showing.
In other league news, last weekend was “Quiet Saturday” – a special day when the adults on the sidelines could cheer the players, but offer no instruction. It is a great opportunity for the players to realize their own soccer knowledge and to learn that the teams can function and function well without being “over coached.” Earlier this season the league observed “Silent Saturday” where the adults were requested to remain perfectly quiet during play. Both special days emphasize AYSO’s commitment to grow the confidence of the players.
The oldest divisions, under 16 and under 18, have already started playoffs against other regions. Some of these players have been in the program for over a decade. For younger divisions, league playoffs will commence in early December and champions will be crowned before the year end holidays. Champs in each division will then start the new year playing champions from other regions and play continues as long as the teams keep winning.
Earlier this fall, AYSO held its annual Sunday 5-on-5 tournament at Clover Park. Players competed in the various age groups to crown a champion in each division after short sided brief games. This year the event was renamed the “Blair Renshaw Memorial 5-on-5” to honor a board member who passed away unexpectedly just prior to the start of the season. Much of AYSO’s operations have gone online in recent years and Blair Renshaw took the lead, volunteering countless hours to support AYSO.