The next generation of American soccer was on display last week at the American Youth Soccer Organization’s (AYSO) National Games 2014.
The West Palm Beach area had three teams playing in this year’s games, held in Torrance and Riverside, Calif.
Part of AYSO’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration, the national games returned to southern California, the birthplace of AYSO. The bi-annual event was twice its normal size, hosting more than 7,000 players on nearly 500 teams from across the United States. In all, close to 30,000 attended.
“This will be the largest youth soccer event in AYSO’s history and one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation,” AYSO National President Mark Stewart. “It’s a great accomplishment for the over 7,000 AYSO kids who will be participating, who exemplify everything AYSO stands for.”
Boys and girls ranging in ages from 8 to 18 competed in a tournament structured in large part using the same model as the FIFA World Cup: teams were placed into groups of four teams each and played in a series of round-robin qualifying games before moving onto a single game elimination playoff system.
ABOVE: AYSO players from Okeeheelee Park take part in the opening ceremonies.