- VIP teams are composed only of players with special needs.
- VIP teams play arranged games with teams from the general AYSO program, and against other VIP teams when available.
- No experience is necessary. Players must be 4 years old by July 31 to sign up for the fall season (August 1st – October 31st). We have VIP teams for all ages, with no upper age limit.
- No geographic residency requirements. Practices and games are held in Concord, but our players come from as far away as Orinda, Bay Point, Benicia, and San Ramon.
- No player is turned away. Half and full scholarships are available available subject to review by program director and conditions. For details, please contact regional program directors.
- Registration price includes a complete uniform (jersey, shorts, & socks) and a ball, and a trophy or medal awarded at the end of the season. The only gear you need to provide is shin guards, shoes (no cleats required), and a smile!
Our season runs from August 1 to October 31 (Click here for details).
We are always looking for volunteers who can take on small tasks in helping to run this program. Specifically, the following positions are open in the Fall season of 2012. If you are interested in any of them, please contact Olga Saegert to sign up for it!
- Equipment and field manager - The Equipment Manager arranges to have fields set up at the start of the season, recruits people from each team to reline and maintain fields, and arranges for set up, take down, and secure storage of goals and equipment during the season. Additional responsibilities include:
- Unlock gate and goals on game days and maintain equipment
- Order more paint when supplies get low
- Coordinate moving goals to El Dorado/Westwood fields (Soccerfest) in October
- Arranging for off-season storage.
- Publicist - The Publicist will work towards advertising this program in our region. This means making sure that people in the Central Contra Costa County area is aware of the existence of VIP and of where and when to register their children for the program. The publicist can also recruit volunteers for distributing flyers, putting announcements in parent, school, and service organization newsletters, having announcements made at parent meetings, and securing spots for public service announcements. The publicist will perform most of his or her outreach services from February through the end of October.
- Soccerfest Manager - This volunteer is the coordinator for the Soccerfest event - an annual VIP tournament that is usually held in mid to late October with participants coming from different regions including Prunedale, Davis, and Reno. Soccerfest manager assigns to volunteers’ different tasks related to the event and follows up on their completion. He or she provides compliance guidelines to the Soccerfest contributors, and direct or finds resources for them when they face organizational challenges. This manager ensures that the event is well organized and successful.
- Safety Coordinator - This volunteer is mostly needed for the Soccerfest Event (organized during July – October). He or she:
-Sends our safety rules and paperwork requirements to different regions (e.g. regional directors or coaches) one month prior to the Soccerfest.
-Is a main contact person for safety rules clarifications or concerns.
-Will set up a Tent at the tournament to assist injured and to observe safety rules compliance.
- Fundraising Manager - This volunteer coordinates the solicitation of donations and sponsors from private businesses and sources to support the VIP program. The fundraising manager should track any funds supplied directly to the VIP organization and coordinate accounting of those with the Concord AYSO Treasurer. This position is most active from April – October.
Meetings / Training / Schedules / Locations
VIP families should use the links at the left side of the page to stay informed on Concord AYSO dates such as registration, the "town hall" season kickoff meeting, and picture day.
2011 Important VIP Dates:
Townhall Meeting 6 – 8 pm
First Practice/ Coaches will contact 6 – 7 pm
Start of the Season's Games 9 – 11:30 am
Dance and Dinner 6 – 10 pm
Soccerfest Tournament 9 am – 1pm
- VIP volunteer training: If you'd like to be a coach, assistant coach, or just a helping "buddy", plan on attending this class. Please contact Olga Saegert or Jen Schwartz @ (925) 405-6697 for latest information on this training. Don’t forget to complete a Safe Haven class that is required for all volunteers who work with children. This course can be completed online: http://www.ayso.org/training.aspx.
- Field set-up:Help mark out our soccer fields at Baldwin Park. Tuesday, August 2 at 5:00 pm.
Most East Bay VIP practices and games take place at Baldwin Park: Parkside Circle at Bonifacio St. in downtown Concord (map). The Baldwin Park fields are reserved for VIP use on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.
Program Objectives and Style of Play
The AYSO VIP Program provides a quality soccer experience for children and adults aged 5 and up; the program is open to anyone whose physical or developmental challenges make it difficult to successfully participate on a mainstream team. VIP teams may include those who have:
- Impaired vision, hearing, or mobility
- Autism, Down syndrome, mental retardation, or developmental delays
- Cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and other physical handicaps
- Attention Deficit Disorder or related attention/focus challenges
These individuals are Very Important Players (VIP) in AYSO. We recognize that everyone needs to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. The VIP program offers that acceptance and carries AYSO's philosophy of Everyone Plays® to new heights—giving everyone a chance to play. Our goals for every participating player are:
- Have fun playing soccer
- Understand the fundamentals of the game
- Learn teamwork and fair play
- Increase self-esteem
- Become more physically fit
- Meet and be comfortable with new people
Each VIP program is designed for the players in that particular region. Our East Bay teams are carefully organized by age and (when numbers permit) by sex as well as by size, mobility, and physical ability. There is no upper age limit for VIP players as long as they remain on VIP teams. The length of games, style of play, and even the rules are all tailored to the players involved.
In our region, most games are played against slightly older players from non-disabled teams, who are coached on how to play a fun and instructive game against VIP players. As we grow the VIP program, we'll have more chances for VIP teams to play against each other as well.
People with disabilities are members of our community: the children of friends, neighbors, relatives; our classmates and coworkers. Kids with special needs are estimated to make up approximately 10% of the school-age population. Special schools and classrooms can isolate these children, so the AYSO VIP program has been structured to integrate our special players into the rest of AYSO by having non-disabled players—"buddies"—assist them on the field. These relationships frequently grow beyond support into meaningful friendships.
VIP helps more than just the players. Buddies and other volunteers increase their appreciation and understanding of individuals with special needs. They find their lives greatly enriched by their involvement with their new VIP friends. For parents thinking they would never see their children playing a sport or making new friends, VIP gives them joy and hope. They are able to relax and enjoy watching their children having fun like other kids, perhaps for the first time.
To become a VIP buddy, please contact Olga Saegert @ (925) 405-6697.
Other VIP Programs
The AYSO site has more details on how VIP works, as do most AYSO regional web pages. To find an AYSO VIP program near you, call AYSO's international headquarters in L.A.: (310) 643-6455, ask for the Programs Dept. Here are some AYSO special-needs soccer programs in Northern California and Northern Nevada, but more recent information might be available on the NorCal section's web site: