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American Youth Soccer Organization Providing world class youth soccer programs that enrich children's lives.

Home of Youth Soccer for the Prescott Area!

Playground and Schoolyard Programs



Playground and Schoolyard are unique programs designed to develop children by focusing on improving a child's Fundamental Motor Skills (FMS) in a fun, parent participatory atmosphere utilizing age appropriate activities and storybook adventures. These programs were designed by child development and soccer experts to give your child a foundation for sports success. Your player will hop, skip, jump, run, throw, balance, kick...and play. This Division is a combined Program lasting 10 weeks, 5 weeks of Playground followed by 5 weeks of Schoolyard.

Games are played on Saturdays from 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM each week during our primary season at Pioneer Park, Field 4B. 

The AYSO Playground program is for the 4U/5U Player (based on the development stage of the child) that focus on Fundamental Motor Skills (FMS). We can no longer assume children are physically equipped (through free play) to perform all the tasks we require in soccer. We must cultivate their physical development in order to add soccer specific requests. Otherwise, we are often asking players to perform technical actions that they are not yet physically equipped to execute (which can lead to frustration for the child and the coach).

● A child development program that focuses on FMS, using soccer merely as a common thread.
● Designed for 4 & 5 year old players
● Each player will have a parent (or other adult) working with them on the field to help guide them within each activity.
● Sessions are led by a “Playground Leader” who will introduce and explain a game / activity that will apply to a certain fundamental motor skill or technical skill.
● Playground is NOT the world’s cutest soccer game! Don't expect 60 minutes of soccer games. This program is heavy on motor skills development and light on competitive soccer. Let your little one learn the beautiful game the right way.

The AYSO Schoolyard program is designed for the 4U/5U Player . It continues the learning of Fundamental Motor Skills (FMS) and introduces soccer skills. We utilize what is called a Jamboree system at these ages. The children learn soccer skills like dribbling, and shooting, but in a low-pressure setting. Jamboree is about exposing children to soccer, not grooming them for college scholarships. In Jamboree, children get to play soccer in an age-specific program, and you, the parents, get to participate with them. We start with all players together for a group activity where we will introduce a soccer skill and parents work with their child. Following the group session, players will be divided into smaller groups. In Jamboree, each group is made up of 8 to 10 players and we play 4 vs 4 during games. Each week different players will be grouped together and parents volunteer to manage the group and run the demonstrated activities for that session, under the guidance of a "Master" Coach, or the “Playground Leader”. Most importantly , we allow the players to play without coaching or teaching them as this experience is designed to expose them to soccer, not to begin developing them. The two goals of the program are to allow the players to enjoy the activities and to let the game be the teacher.

What are Fundamental Motor Skills (FMS)?


● Fundamental Motor Skills (FMS):

● Locomotor (i.e., running, hopping, skipping, etc.)
● Non-locomotor (i.e., balancing and twisting, etc.)
● Object Control (i.e., catching and throwing, kicking, etc.)
● Children should be exposed to a wide base of FMS in their early years to provide a solid foundation for future movement activities and sports. If we miss this important window of opportunity, their development and opportunity can be hindered.

● FMS Hierarchy:

● Walking before running
● Balancing before twisting and rotating
● Rolling a ball before underarm throwing a ball
● Stopping a rolling ball before catching a ball
● Jumping before skipping

● Translating this to Soccer:

● A child need to be able to stand on one foot to kick or control a ball
● Children who can underarm throw have more success in facing a target, knowing the release points, following through and recognizing ball flight. All key skills in passing.
● Twisting and rotating is needed when dribbling, especially when passing and taking on an opponent.
● When catching, a child learns to track the flight of a ball. A key component for trapping a ball.

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT IS MANDATORY.

● DO's
● Be enthusiastic and encouraging
● Monitor players for signs of fatigue, stress, overheating or conditions that compromise their safety
● Help you child understand the activity and guide them along as needed
● Help paint the picture and tell the story
● Let them experiment
● Let them make mistakes
● Be patient and tolerant (there is a purpose behind the simplicity of the activity and expectations)
● Make them confident learners
● Thank them for letting you be part of their soccer life.

● DON'T's

● Be late (we need you and can't start without you)
● Coach, correct or direct. Let them PLAY!
● Compare them to other children (players)
● Criticize them or tell them they are not working hard enough
● Take it too seriously, it is just a game.


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AYSO Region 172

PO Box 11452 
Prescott, Arizona 86304

Email Us: [email protected]
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