San Mateo Soccer
AYSO Region 36
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Frequently Asked Questions in San Mateo AYSO

These pages will be updated whenever I get an interesting question that other may be interested in. So, please send your questions by e-mail to the webmaster.  (Please include your city and the age of your children in the email).

Click on any question - the answer should appear below it like magic.  This FAQ can be viewed with responses condensed by clicking here.

  1. What is AYSO anyway?
  2. The AYSO mission is to develop and deliver quality youth soccer programs which promote a fun, family environment based on our philosophies:

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

    The San Mateo ASYO is the largest youth sports program in San Mateo.  Information regarding the AYSO program can be found at

  3. What is this PIE I hear about and what does it mean?
  4. PIE stands for Positive, Instructional, and Encouraging.  It is a philosophy that we want all to abide by when dealing with players.  This means no negative comments towards a player when they make a mistake or fail to perform to your standards.  Referees have the authority to eject parents, coaches, or spectators who verbally abuse a player.  Please keep all comments PIE.

  5. What is "CYSA" - is it part of AYSO?
  6. AYSO is a national soccer league that promotes a positive, instructional and encouraging soccer experience for players at every skill level.  CYSA, not affiliated with AYSO, is a completely separate soccer league with teams throughout Northern California (including several in San Mateo).  CYSA provides a soccer experience with teams in a highly competitive league environment. 


  7. OK.  How do I register?
  8. Information on player registration locations is found on this website (see Registration).  Families must pre-register and print their own registration forms through the national eAYSO website.  These forms are brought to one of the Walk-In Registrations listed on the website.  Walk-In Registration can only be done in person.

    Volunteers (coaches, referees, etc.) have an online early registration option and can register their children at a discounted rate.  Please check the website if you are interested in volunteering.

    Missed Walk-In Registration?  Following the Walk-In Registrations, registration is done through the mail.  Registration is first-come, first-served.  The use of the Walk-In Registration process is encouraged.

  9. What other soccer expenses can I anticipate this year?
  10. The registration covers all player expenses, including the basic picture package, and supplemental accident insurance for AYSO-sponsored activities. 

    Players need shin-guards, appropriate shoes, and (strongly recommended) a practice ball. 

    Additional expenses may include:

    1. a donation to cover the expenses of a team banner
    2. a gift for the coach. 
    3. parents provide snacks for the team.  A snack schedule should be distributed before the start of the season.
  11. I cannot afford to pay the registration fees.  What can I do?
  12. San Mateo AYSO endeavors to provide a quality soccer experience for all eligible players.  Families who are unable to afford the registration expenses may be elegible for a fee reduction during the open registration times.

  13. Will my children be on the same team?
  14. Requests for brothers or sisters in the same division to be on the same team are honored whenever possible.  Often, however, a parent may decide that it is not a good idea for their children to play together, which will also be honored whenever possible.  These requests must be noted on each player's registration form.

  15. Can my child play on the same team as her best friend?
  16. Requests to play on the same team as another player for younger players are honored whenever possible.  You must coordinate with the other player's parents as each registration form must list the other player's name in the registration form comment section.  Player age and team balancing are factors in pairing players.

  17. How do I request a specific coach?
  18. Coach requests are not encouraged or honored.  Coaches and Assistant Coaches have their children on their teams.

  19. What days are the practices?
  20. Practices can be any day of the week but are typically Monday through Friday, and are at the convenience of the coach.  There is no way to assign players to coaches based on practice day preferences.

  21. Jimmy can't make it to practices on the days the coach has chosen. What can I do?
  22. If the problem is transportation, just speak to the coach or team parents.  There is always someone who will be available and willing to give your child a ride. If there are other activities (such as lessons of some kind), maybe it would be possible to adjust the schedule.  Please try to make it to practice.  Your child is involved in a team sport.  The team cannot learn to work together if there are players who consistently miss practices.

  23. I am a single mother and cannot drive to practices, and need like my child to play with her friend.  What can I do?
  24. Attach a note to your registration form describing your needs and circumstances.  The regional coordinators, when developing the teams, may be able to accommodate your request.  Please note that the coordinator considers many factors in the development of a team, and may not be able to honor your request.  (If the player is in the Under 12 or Under 14 division, balancing of the teams is important and special requests are difficult to honor.)

  25. When will we be notified if my child that registered late via mail has been accepted on a team?
  26. Since you got your Player Registration Form mailed in as directed, then you are on the wait list the appropriate division.  Late registrants for divisions which have not reached their capacity are placed on teams soon after receipt of the form.  If you did not promptly hear back, the division is probably full and are on the wait list. 

    Every attempt is made to allow all players to play.  The total number of players in each division is determined based on the number of trained coaches available and the number of players registering during the open registration period. 

    Parents tend not to un-register their kids when they move from the area or decide not to play, so the region generally does not know who is not going to play until the initial telephone calls are made. If your wait-listed child can be placed on a team, you are most likely to receive a call starting in the second week of August.

    I hope this helps. You may Email the Waitlist and Late Registration Coordinator and leave a message, but they likely will have little additional information until mid- to late- August.

  27. I have moved - how do I transfer my son to the new region?
  28. Every region in AYSO conducts their own registration for the upcoming season.  Transfers are not possible, however refunds are.  See the Refund Policy for information on refunds.

    If you have moved to another city and have already registered, you may still participate in the San Mateo program if you desire. 

    If you have previously registered in another region, the eAYSO registration database record may need to be modified to allow registration in a San Mateo.

  29. Is there a program for children with special needs?
  30. Yes!  The VIP program is designed to meet the needs of physically and mentally challenged children.  <more info>

  31. Are there coed teams?
  32. San Mateo AYSO does not have any co-ed teams.


  33. What division does my child play in? or What does U6 or U8 mean?
  34. The age division designations in AYSO are: U19, U14, U12, U10, U8, U6, and Jamboree (U5). The division designation U10 literally means that the player was "Under 10" on the July 31st proceeding the start of the season.  If a child turns 8 on July 31st, then he/she would play in the U10 division. If a child turns 8 on August 1, then he/she would play in the U8 division as they are still under 8 on July 31st.

  35. What is the Jamboree (U5) Division for four year olds?
  36. The U5/Jamboree program is specifically designed for four year olds.  Jamboree is a combination of two different formats that, put together, provides the best possible introduction to soccer for our youngest players.  Jamboree is a One-with-One program where each player works with a parent (or other adult) on the field.

  37. Why can't Susan keep her earrings on?
  38. Safety on the field is the first responsibility of every coach, referee, and all other AYSO officials.  Players may not wear any earrings, bracelets, watches, barrettes, or any object that could possibly cause injury to him/herself or another player to practice or to a soccer game. Pierced earrings are not allowed during practice or at games.  Covering earrings with tape is not allowed.  NO EXCEPTIONS.  Please encourage your daughter to defer piercing her ears until after the season has concluded.

  39. What sort of hair clip can my child wear?
  40. 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 will decide if an article of clothing is unsafe.

  41. How are injuries handled during a match?
  42. The referee shall decide when to stop play to take care of an injury. At the younger ages (Jamboree, U6, and U8) the referees are encouraged to stop play immediately. Older players may attempt to feign an injury as a tactical move, or may "bounce back" from a minor fall.  As a courtesy, a team is encouraged to kick the ball out of play, as the referee can most easily deal with the injury at that time.  In the event of a serious injury occurs, the referee will stop play as soon as he / she is aware of the injury.

    A player that is bleeding shall not participate in the match until the bleeding has stopped, and any blood on his / her clothing is covered or removed. (New parents: this seldom occurs.)

  43. The doctor said that Jason can play with his arm splint.  Why can't he play?
  44. While the doctor may be representing your son's interest appropriately, the risk to other players mandates that he limit his participation to that of moral support on the sidelines.  Players may not wear casts or splints which could possibly cause injury to him/herself or another player. The policy from the National AYSO allows for NO EXCEPTIONS.  This applies at the games as well as at practices.

  45. What about eyeglasses and hearing aids?
  46. Glasses, hearing aids, and med-alerts should be worn to practices and games.  The use of a eyeglass holder or sports-glasses is recommended.

  47. What type of shoes are required, and about soccer cleats?
  48. Soccer shoes are often referred to as "Cleats".  Soccer cleats are different from many other field sport shoes in that they fit snugly to facilitate kicking the ball.  Players do not have to have cleats to play -- athletic shoes are fine, especially for younger players.

    Referees, Coaches, Volunteering:

  49. How much do the Board Members, Coaches, and Referees get paid?
  50. Board members gets the lowest pay, $0. Coaches and referees are more important so they get paid double, $00. We are an all volunteer organization. We do not receive any money for being a board member, a coach, or a referee. Working with children and seeing them develop is our reward.

  51. What should I do if I'm having problems with the coach?
  52. If a serious problem should arise concerning the coach, the parents should:

    • 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 at this meeting, the parents may contact the Division Coordinator.
    • If the problem persists or is serious in nature, the Kids Zone Feedback form is the best way to address the problem.
  53. Katie doesn't get along with her coach. Can she change teams?
  54. Discuss the problem with your child and the coach and try to resolve the problem between yourselves. It is impossible to move teams around after they're assembled.

  55. I have some comments about the refereeing of my child's game.
  56. The referee administrators are your point of contact regarding referee issues, and are available to discuss any of your concerns.  The administrators are listed on the Contact Us page.  Please remember that the referees, like all other officials in AYSO, are volunteers who have dedicated a large amount of time and energy in training and refereeing every week.

  57. What do the referee badges mean?
  58. Soccer referees in every league come to the game with differing degrees of training and experience.  The badges represent the level of training the referee has accomplished.  Ask a referee what his badge represents to him!

  59. What should I do if a referee makes a terrible call?
  60. As upsetting as it may be, the best course is to try to forget about the mistake and get back into the game. The referees are human, so they will make mistakes just like everyone else. Put yourself in their shoes and think how you would like people to respond if you made a mistake.  Also, please keep in mind that the referee is on the field and is seeing the game from a completely different location than you, and that his interpretation and application of the laws may differ from yours.

    Remember that, above all, the coaches, referees, and all other AYSO staff are volunteers.

  61. I see some real bad referees out there. What can we do?
  62. Specific comments should be sent from the Kids Zone Feedback form.  Referees are always in demand - contact the Regional Referee Administrator and find out when the next referee class is. Then, come to class and become a certified referee. We need people that know the game and can make the calls as they see them. The administrators are listed on the Contact Us page. 

    Harassing the referee is not permitted - no matter how poorly you think he is performing.

  63. I have never played soccer and I don't know anything about soccer. Can I still become a coach or a referee?
  64. You sure can. AYSO will provide you with all the training for free. The only thing we as for are your time and commitment. Contact the Regional Coach Administrator or the Regional Referee Administrator to learn more. If coaching or refereeing is not for you, there are others way you can help. Talk to the Commissioner or a board member and ask how you can take part in bringing this quality soccer program to our community. You'll be glad you did. The administrators are listed on the Contact Us page.

    The soccer game:

  65. What do I do if its raining on game day?
  66. Just because it is wet outside, don't assume that the games will be canceled. Kids are waterproof and have been known to play soccer in the rain. On rainy days, the fields will be checked for playability.

    Notices are placed on the AYSO San Mateo home page when fields are closed due to weather and are available to parents through the free RainedOut service (subscribe at <RainedOut>.  Weather conditions often change during the day, Board Members and the Referee scheduled may call off the game as conditions worsen.  If there is nothing on the web site and you don't hear from your Coach or Team Parent, assume the game is on and go to the field at game time.

  67. When does the ball become "in play" following a goal kick?
  68. The ball is out of play when the entirety of the ball crosses the goal line.  (Goals are scored if the ball enters the goal.)

    If the ball was last touched by a member of the attacking team, a "goal kick" is taken from anywhere within the "goal area":

    • Members of the attacking team must remain outside the penalty area until the ball leaves the area or else the kick is retaken. 
    • If a defender (except the kicker) touches the ball, the kick is retaken. 
    • If the ball crosses the goal line, the restart is a corner kick (no goals can be scored from a goal kick)
    • If the ball fails to leave the penalty area, the kick is retaken. 
    • If the kicker touches the ball a second time before it is touched by another player, the opposing team is awarded an Indirect Free Kick.
    • The ball is in play once it leaves the penalty area. 
  69. A parent was screaming at the players and upsetting the flow of the game.  What can I do?
  70. Please tell us about it.  Comments may be sent from the Kids Zone Feedback form.

  71. I was watching a professional soccer match and saw them doing things that we are not allowed to do.  Are the rules the same?
  72. The Laws Of The Game are the same for professional soccer as in youth leagues.  These Laws can be viewed online at FIFA Laws of the Game

    Referees in youth leagues understand that AYSO is a recreational league with younger and less skilled players than found in many adult leagues.  Consequently, there are different thresholds for awarding of fouls for "playing in a dangerous manner" and "gaining an unfair advantage".

    AYSO has made a small number of modifications to the laws (as permitted by the laws) to meet the needs of a youth sports program.  The modifications are in the areas of field size and ball size, restrictions on heading the ball, play time, and substitutions.  Players in younger divisions play a special short-sided game with very simplified laws.

  73. The rules in my son's High School Soccer games seem different.  Is this true?
  74. Yes.  High School soccer games are governed by a set of rules which are different from the FIFA Laws of the Game.

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