In AYSO, fans are asked to be cheerleaders, not critics. Kids Zone® is a unique program that includes a parent pledge that moms and dads sign to commit to positive, encouraging behavior when they’re watching the games. It also includes signs, buttons and other game-day reminders.
Soccer is a player’s game. Players learn the game by trying new things, making mistakes and trying again. Sideline critics who scream instructions at players or criticize referees or coaches just slow down the learning process and make it less fun for everyone.
Negative, even violent, behavior of players, coaches and parents involved in youth sports has become almost epidemic in the U.S. Kids Zone is a proactive effort to counteract this trend.
As part of AYSO’s education agenda, Kids Zone is a dynamic program aimed toward producing a thoroughly positive experience for everyone involved in youth soccer. 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!