For those of you who have children that participate on USYSA or US Club teams, it can be easy to forget there are other national soccer associations out there. The AYSO is a less competitive oriented program, but that doesn’t mean they are just grassroots and local. They’re holding their National Games in Hawaii this month, with teams chosen to participate by lottery:

The AYSO Games are held every other year, and for this tournament they incorporated a system where teams are chosen by lottery. They don’t need to qualify, which is why they don’t call the winners of the tournament “national champions.”

Following the philosophy of AYSO, which embraces participation and sportsmanship, the National Games also feature Soccerfest as part of the tournament’s festivities.

In Soccerfest which will be held today players in each division are mixed randomly to form teams and play against each other. While it is not mandatory to participate, playing in it is worth just as much as a win in pool play.

Almost 140 teams from the mainland are traveling to Hawaii for the games. Talk about the ultimate vacation excuse! Though a number of teams selected had to back out due to travel costs and local teams were recruited to take their place.

Still – a neat concept for a higher level event in an organization like the AYSO that focuses on equal playing time.