In AYSO, we want all players, coaches, families and volunteers to have fun. That’s where Kids Zone comes in. Kids Zone is a program that encourages fans on the sidelines, and anyone else near the play, to use positive language, show sportsmanship in their attitude and behavior, and create a great experience for every player. It’s a reminder that the soccer fields are a kid’s zone – a friendly, happy, wholesome place for children to play.
Regions that participate in the Kids Zone program typically place buttons and posters near the fields as helpful reminders that no matter how intense the game can be, kids need cheerful support from the sidelines. Then there’s the Kids Zone Pledge – parents and spectators are asked to sign the pledge and agree to the following guidelines:
- Kids are No. 1.
- Fun, not winning is everything.
- Fans only cheer, and only coaches coach.
- No yelling in anger.
- Respect the volunteer referees.
- No swearing or abusive behavior.
- No alcohol, tobacco or drugs.
- No weapons.
- Leave no trash behind.
- Set a proper example of sportsmanship.
When it comes down to it, Kids Zone is about supporting every child on the field – even those on the opposing team. It means supporting the players whether they win or lose. It means honoring the game – not the outcome of the game. Remember, respect starts with you! To execute this program, four basic elements are involved:
- The Button. This is a pin-on button with the Kids Zone logo. This is worn by program supporters at games and serves as a reminder of the importance of positive sideline behavior.
- The Sign. A large sideline poster, which lists positive behavior standards, designed to be posted at the entrance of participating fields. Parents and spectators who will abide by these standards are welcome — all others are not.
- The Pledge. AYSO requests all parents to sign a pledge that holds them to the Kids Zone standards.
- The Video. This is a 12-minute documentary that introduces AYSO’s principles and its Kids Zone action plan to new participants. Viewers will also watch a parent intervene to change another parent’s negative behavior. In order to make this program work, everyone must help!