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Welcome to Madison, AL AYSO Region 498

AYSO Academy

The Region 498 EXTRA program is run as an Academy; hereon in called the Academy. The major difference between an Academy and the normal AYSO structure is there are no fixed teams under an Academy system. Instead the Academy train altogether but divided into groups of players of the same ability, which normally aligns with players actual age, however it also allows players to train at the most appropriate ability. It also means that an individual player can move between groups to best meet their needs as they develop.

The Academy runs from 1 Aug to 30 Jun of the following year. To join the Academy players attend Tryouts, typically Jun/Jul prior to the start of the Academy year. If successful players will be invited to join the Academy. All players are encouraged to participate for the whole year, however, we recognize there are other commitments. It must be noted that selection to participate in any or all tournaments and games may be impacted by attendance at training; principally because soccer skills will not develop. Players may also join the Academy part way through the year, by attending one or more training sessions as an individual Tryout.

While there are not fixed teams, the Academy will for teams to enter tournaments and play friendly games. The tournaments entered and in which age bracket will be chosen to be appropriate, yet challenging for the players selected for the team. This means the Academy can best develop groups of players as well as individual players. Anyone player will participate in a maximum of 5 tournaments within the Academy playing year.  The AYSO Section 5 Games will be one of the tournaments, and we will enter as many teams as possible.

More details on how the Academy works is explained in the following paragraphs.

Registration - All players will register at for the EXTRA Program, which is the Tryout Registration; the Tryout registration is FREE. If successful players will receive an invite to join the Academy, and if they accept will be required to pay the appropriate fees.

Fees -  The fee structure is “pay-as-you-go”, with a Base Fee paid if the Academy invite is accepted. A separate Tournament Fee is paid for each tournament a player attends. All payments will use the Blue Sombrero system.

Uniforms - The Academy will use the Region 498 uniforms, but with the AYSO EXTRA Patch applied to the left sleeve. The EXTRA Patch will be applied by a local store, players will drop off their uniforms and pick them up 5 business days later. Uniforms are distributed using the normal Region 498 system; check for details. Make sure you let the volunteers handing out the uniforms know you a picking up an EXTRA uniform.

Training - All Academy players train on the same days and at the same time. Routinely there will be separate boys and girls groups, although for certain training the gender and/or ability groups may be combined. The player groups are:

  • Red Group - Nominally players of the older years of birth.

  • White Group - Nominally players of the middle years of birth.

  • Blue Group - Nominally players of the younger years of birth.

It must be noted that the year of birth of each group is nominal, and an individual player may be placed in a different group at anytime. The training cycle the Academy will aim for is 3-4 training sessions per week, with a game-like activity approximately once every 2 weeks. Players are expected to attend at least 2 training sessions per week.

Tournaments -  At the start of the playing year the coaches of each group will nominate the tournaments they plan to attend, and the compiled list will be published on the Region website. Approximately 4-6 weeks before a tournament the team rosters will be published, so that players can sign up and pay the tournament fee in the Blue Sombrero system. If players are not signed up by 2 weeks from the tournament start date, their place on the team may be offered to another player.

Most tournaments use a computer based system for registration, and some tournaments require parents to complete certain documents. If this is required it will be notified separately.

Section 5 Games - AYSO is organized into Sections, Areas and Regions. Madison is Region 498, we are in Area C within Section 5. Section 5 covers Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, panhandle of Florida, and part of Kentucky. The Section 5 Games are an annual tournament held in rotation Charlotte area, Knoxville area, and Huntsville area. As many EXTRA teams as possible will attend this tournament; players should assume they will play in the Section 5 Games tournament.   

Friendly Games - The Academy will aim to have a friendly game for each group once every 2 weeks, but this will be adjusted to fit around the tournaments. Friendly games are the opportunity for coaches to experiment with line ups and allow players to test if they are ready to move up. There is no limit to the number of friendly games a player can participate in, but playing time will be balanced as best possible across the playing year. The normal AYSO 50% playing time generally applies to all friendly games, however, if a younger player is clearly and obviously struggling or any player does not want to play, their playing time will be adjusted accordingly.


Who decides when/if players move between groups? - The EXTRA Program Director has the final say, but coaches and parents will be included in the discussion.

Can a player move “down” a group? – Yes, children develop at different rates and soccer is no different. If a player is struggling at one ability level, and they can benefit from being in a lower ability level, they may be moved groups. Moving between groups should not be seen as a negative; the program is about player develop, and as soon as a player reaches the crossover ability they will be moved “up”.

How are teams formed for Tournaments? – From each group of players the coaches choose which players will form the team to enter each tournament; players from other groups may also be selected to play on a particular team. The EXTRA Program Director will oversee the team selections.

How is equal playing time handled? – The equal playing time strictly applies to games attended (which includes friendly games). However, all players playing time will be monitored centrally and we will strive to make playing time as balanced as possible throughout the playing year.

What about older players playing down? – The general perception is that this is not allowed; not true. As long as the number of players playing down is 1 or 2, and they are not “game changers” then a waiver can be requested from Tournament Directors. It does take some pre-planning, including coaches contacting TDs well before entering a tournament.

If selected to attend a tournament does a player have to go? - No, although we encourage every player to take the opportunity if selected.

How many tournaments does a player attend? - The maximum number of tournaments an individual player will be allowed to attend is 5. Although a group may enter more than 5 tournaments. It should be noted that a player may not be selected to attend any tournaments, although we will do our utmost to avoid this, if possible.

How far away are the tournaments? - The maximum one way travel time for a tournament is 2 hours. However, there are several appropriate tournaments less than 1 hour one way travel time. The exception to the travel time limit is the AYSO Section 5 Games.

When will we know which tournaments we are attending? - The tournaments each group has selected to attend will be published at the start of the year. The roster for each team entering a tournament will be published approximately 4-6 weeks before the start date of the tournament.

Does a player have to attend every game in a tournament? - No. We know there are other commitments, so if you can only attend 1 or 2 games that is acceptable. Just let the coaches know, so coaches can add a player.

If a player only attends part of a tournament do they pay full Tournament Fee? - Yes, at the moment. Although we are investigating if this is going to be possible in the AYSO online system.  

What is the maximum number of players on a tournament team? - It depends on the age bracket of the team. Exact numbers will be the coaches decision, but typically 13U and up will be 15-18 players. 12U and 11U will typically be 12-16 players. 10U and 9U will typically be 10-13 players.

Does a player have to stay with Academy for the whole year? - No, we obviously want all players to stay with the program for the whole year, but we recognize that some players may need take a break. For example, some players may be selected to play on their school teams.

Must players attend every training session? - No, but we expect each player to attend at least 2 sessions per week. Also, the fewer sessions a player attends the slower their development, which puts at risk their selection for tournaments.

My player has already registered for Core, can they transfer to the Academy? - Yes, if you have already registered for Core and have also accepted the Academy invite, email [email protected].

Can players play in Core and the Academy? - Technically, yes, but in this scenario the Core team takes priority over the Academy for training and games. We do not advise playing in both Core and the Academy.

Does the Academy Base Fee include a uniform? - No, the uniform fee is in addition to the Academy Base Fee.

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AYSO Madison Alabama Region 498

101 Danvers Dr 
Madison, Alabama 35758

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 256-684-2959
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