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Frequently Asked Questions (updated 1/24/2024)

I’m a new parent and need information about AYSO soccer. Can you help?

Welcome! This website is full of information, so you’re in the right place. This introductory Power Point is presented at our new parent meeting each year and goes over some important points about how the AYSO philosophy was developed, and what we ask of parents. Please download and read it, especially if you are unable to be present for the new parent meeting. If you are a Facebook user, we recommend that you join our Facebook Group. 

How is AYSO soccer different than other soccer programs?
AYSO soccer aims to teach kids soccer skills in a fun, safe environment that de-emphasizes competition, which takes the pressure off and allows kids to enjoy an organized sports experience, develop as a player, and have fun. AYSO’s Kids Zone program helps ensure a positive, encouraging atmosphere for kids and parents alike. The AYSO Safe Haven program is intended to prevent child abuse, promote education and awareness, enforce policies. and screen and train volunteers; it includes proactive steps that promote a positive, healthy environment for children.

Who makes AYSO soccer happen?
AYSO is a national organization, but each region is powered by volunteers — every single person involved, from the board to the coaches to the referees, are volunteering their time to make AYSO possible in Johnstown. (Player fees fund uniforms, AYSO national registration fees, and field rental only). We are always in need of adult and youth referees, volunteer coaches, and others to make this program available to kids in our community — please, consider volunteering.

I don't know anything about soccer -- can you help me understand the lingo? 
Soccer is growing in popularity in the US, but many parents and grandparents of kids never had the opportunity to play and don't know the game. We've put together a glossary of common soccer terms that might help. 

How old do kids have to be to play?

Children with birthdays between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019 are eligible to play AYSO soccer in the U6 division.  AYSO’s “Playground” program is a facilitated parent-and-child program for kids born in 2020 or 2021 (must be three by 5/1/2024).Playground meets once a week for an hour-long session; kids will receive a soccer shirt, shorts and socks; cost is the same as for older children. An age chart showing what division your child will be assigned by birth date can be found here.

What is the upper age limit?
Teens are eligible to play AYSO soccer through age 19.

What level of training does my kid need to have?
All skill levels are welcome, in accordance with AYSO philosophy. All kids will have equal playing time, regardless of skill level. Similarly, coaches will rotate kids through the different positions (offense, midfield, defense or goal) through the course of the season.

How and when do I register my child?
You can register online on this site.  No late registrations can be accepted. 

Can I request that my child be placed on the same team as his/her friend?
No. This places an undue burden on our scheduler, and can make it harder to create balanced teams. However, siblings that are eligible for the same division will be placed on the same team upon request.

Wait, I think my child has been placed in an age division that's too old for him/her! Can you help?
The system will automatically place your child in the appropriate age division when you register. But we understand the confusion!  In accordance with USA Soccer, AYSO places kids by calendar year birthdate, not school year classification. And the names of the divisions are somewhat misleading -- for example, 8U is actually kids who are *turning* 7 or 8 that calendar year. So that means any child who's 6 and won't turn 7 until, say, November of the current year is still properly classified as 8U, and there will be plenty of 6-year-olds on an 8U team. That said, kids who are 8 and turning 9 will age up into 10U. Each division is still a 2-year span of kids -- the span is just slightly younger than the division names make it sound. 

I want to register my child, but my family is experiencing financial hardship. Can you help?
We really want children to have the opportunity to play AYSO soccer. We have a scholarship program -- please fill out this form, and we will be in touch:   

I’m having trouble registering my child (player or youth volunteer) or myself (volunteer) on this website. What should I do?
You can call AYSO at 424-221-7998, and they are available 8am-5pm PST. More about how to register as a volunteer or player is posted elsewhere on this site.

My child is registered to play but isn't going to/is unable to. Can I have a refund? 
Our refund policy is outlined on our policies page.


When is Greater Johnstown AYSO soccer played?

The season runs from mid-April to early June. This site will feature detailed schedules of practices and games once registration is complete and teams are assigned. There will be two weeks of practice, with practices occurring twice a week, and then games about twice a week.

Where is Greater Johnstown AYSO soccer played?
All practices and games are held at Westmont Hilltop High School. U12 divisions and older will have "away" games, playing against neighboring regions like Richland, Conemaugh Township, and North Star. Directions to the away fields are available on this site. 

What if my child can’t attend all the practices and games?
Kids are encouraged to attend practices and games whenever possible, but are not penalized if they are unable to do so for any reason. We recognize that many kids take part in multiple activities! However, we do ask that you let your coach know anytime you know your child will miss a game, as that will assist your coach in making game rosters. 

How should my child dress for AYSO soccer -- what do we need to buy?
Kids must have shin guards and appropriate cleats to play AYSO soccer, both in practices and games. Note that you need soccer cleats, not cleats intended for baseball or football -- these types are unsafe for soccer use. 

Your child will receive a uniform shirt and socks to be worn during games (and note that shin guards are to be worn under socks, not the other way around). You will need to provide your child with black sports shorts to wear with his/her uniform. If the weather is cold, your child may wear another layer underneath his/her uniform shirt. 

Shopping Checklist:
Black athletic shorts
Soccer cleats
Shin guards
Water bottle

It is helpful but not required for your child to have their own soccer ball, sized appropriately for the age division -- click  here for details.

During practices, please dress your child appropriately for the weather — April can be quite chilly in Johnstown! Kids may not wear jewelry, including pierced earrings and watches, during practices or games. This is a national safety rule we are required to enforce — please cooperate with your coach or referee about this!

Players with long hair should wear it tied back with soft hairbands — barrettes and other hair accessories made of plastic or metal are not allowed. Eyeglasses are allowed, although the region takes no responsibility for damaged or broken glasses. We strongly encourage the use of a safety strap to hold glasses securely in place.

Can my child practice in a cast?
AYSO national expressly forbids kids who are wearing any kind of cast or splint to practice or play games. Soft, sleeve-style joint braces are allowed.


Do we practice/play in inclement weather?

Generally, yes! We find that the kids think playing in the rain is great fun, and as a general rule we try to hold practices and games as long as we can do so safely (no thunder/lightning), and field conditions are good. Individual team practices are sometimes cancelled in advance due to the weather at the coach’s discretion, in which case you’ll hear from your coach directly. That said, parents are encouraged to use their own discretion, and be assured that no child is ever penalized for not taking part in a practice or game for any reason.

The decision to cancel all games and practices because of unsafe weather conditions is generally made by the AYSO board at the field, right before the game/practice is to begin. But sometimes the AYSO board will make the decision to cancel all games or practices in advance due to expected thunderstorms or  poor field conditions. In that event, coaches will be notified immediately, and information will be posted in our Facebook Group and through the notification system available through Sports Connect (which powers this website). 

Basically, assume your practice or game is on unless you’ve heard from your coach, or information to the contrary is posted on this site and Facebook.

Are games ever cancelled?
We hate to do it, but yes, sometimes thunderstorms or unplayable field conditions force us to cancel games as discussed above.

Also, very rarely a game will be cancelled due to the lack of an AYSO certified referee. U6 games are played without referees, but all games in divisions U8 and above must be played with certified referee(s). Referees, like everyone else who makes AYSO happen, are volunteers — and if, despite our best efforts, we are unable to schedule a ref, we are forced to cancel.

We strongly encourage parents and others to consider volunteering as a referee to help us avoid this unfortunate situation. The reality is that we need more volunteer referees — in  2016 we had fewer than 40 (of which 10 are newly-trained youth refs) to cover 477 slots on 159 games. That said, we hate having to cancel, and ask your understanding in the rare event that we have no choice. If you would like information on how to become a referee (we provide training, uniform shirt, and other materials free of charge — and we promise, it’s a lot of fun), please contact us.

Are cancelled games made up?
The challenge of rescheduling referees, coaches, and players, means that we are not always able to reschedule games that are cancelled, regardless of the reason for the cancellation. We do our best to make sure everyone gets an adequate season.


Can I bring my dog to practices and games?

No pets are allowed at any practice or game, regardless of the animal’s size or behavior. If you bring your dog, you will be asked to leave. (Of course, service animals in harness are welcome.)

Anything else I need to know about practices and games?
No alcohol, tobacco, or vaping is allowed at AYSO practices or games. Please note that only positive cheering is allowed — it is not permitted nor tolerated to berate players, coaches or game officials.

We also ask our parents’ cooperation in arriving at least 5 minutes before practice begins, and 5 minutes before practice concludesAlso please understand that the game schedule reflects when games are to begin, not when players are to arrive. Arriving 10-15 minutes before game-time is enormously helpful to your coach, and helps us keep the day’s schedule by starting on time.


I have a more detailed question that isn't covered here. Can you help?
Our Policies page has detailed information about some of the most common issues that come up, including policies related to refunds; playing up or down a division; incidents; 6U specific rules; and AYSO National reference materials. 

How can I get in touch?
If you need to let us know about an issue that concerns you, or have a constructive criticism or suggestion, we want to hear from you —email us at [email protected] (please include your phone number), and we will do our best to address your concern.

Our region maintains an Facebook Group, which is to be used for general announcements and questions, lost-and-found, team/coach/game information, and volunteer calls only. Again, if you have a concern or constructive criticism, please send us an e-mail.

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AYSO Region 728

750 Bedford Street 
Johnstown, Pennsylvania 15902

Email Us: [email protected]
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