I didn’t actually start playing soccer until I was around 13 years old, and my first team was an AYSO team, Khaos. Note the photo above, I’m in the top right next to the coach in the white shirt: As I suspect many 13-year-old girls might feel, having my hair straightened properly was far more important than strapping on a pair of cleats, and I spent hours on that felt elephant for the team sign but generally couldn’t wait to be done with practice.
Nevertheless, my soccer coach saw something in me and asked me to come out and help coach a younger girls’ team with him. For as long as I can remember from that point forward, I’ve been coaching. Whether it was a 10-year-old goalkeeper while I was in high school, a 14-year-old girls’ travel team while I was in college, or a university team after grad school, since my first days playing, I’ve also been coaching. All thanks to my AYSO coach – a true testament to mentorship.
It’s funny how certain events can bring back memories like that. On Wednesday, I went to the AYSO National Office to do a bit of consulting for their marketing department. While the morning was spent hard at work, I took a tour around the office in the afternoon. I got to meet folks that have been with the organization for over 20 years, from volunteers to board members to national staff. I am thankful to have been part of that organization, and truly felt camaraderie, fellowship and teamwork when I was down there. What a tremendous experience.
So, in classic Amanda Vandervort fashion, I snapped a few photos and posted them below. Enjoy!
The AYSO mission and vision statements are posted throughout the National office.
The wall of AYSO coloring contest submissions.
A candid shot of Lynn Berling-Manuel behind a shelf of trophies and balls.
Found this little game on somebody’s desk. Looks like the blue team’s outnumbered!