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Jul, 2024

Chicago Public Schools Partnership with AYSO

Chicago, IL (July 10, 2024) - The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced a new partnership to enhance Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 youth soccer programming for 5th-8th graders as part of the CPS SCORE! Elementary Sports Program.

Under the partnership, AYSO will provide a comprehensive educational framework to integrate high-quality youth soccer programming with social-emotional learning principles. This initiative aims to support the growth of the CPS SCORE! Elementary Sports Soccer Program in an effort to align with the core values of the U.S. Soccer Federation, of which AYSO is a member organization.

As an approved vendor for the Chicago Public School District, AYSO will leverage its decades of youth development and technical training experience to implement a purpose-built coach development strategy with best-in-class resources, including age-appropriate online and in-person courses accredited by the National Committee for the Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE) and the United States Center for Coaching Excellence (USCCE). Additionally, the strategy includes best-in-class referee training managed by AYSO instructors and parent support through AYSO’s Safe Haven program.

AYSO Partnership with Chicago Public Schools

In collaboration with CPS’s Office of Social and Emotional Learning (OSEL), AYSO’s unique programming model allows young athletes to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally outside the traditional classroom. Students will have opportunities to refine interpersonal skills and nurture their ability to demonstrate responsible conduct through thoughtful decisions in an age-appropriate 9v9 or 11v11 player team environment.

“CPS is thrilled to partner with AYSO to support the continued advancement of our elementary soccer programs,” said Juliana Zavala, CPS Senior Manager of Elementary Sports. “Through this partnership, student-athletes in grades 5-8 will have the incredible opportunity to develop their athletic and social-emotional learning skills with expert instruction.”

To bring soccer to more youth athletes before, during, and after school, AYSO will utilize its AYSO PLAY! Program to increase access to soccer programs while maintaining the highest quality of soccer training and child development outcomes. The synergy of in-school and recreational programming further establishes a player pathway to play soccer in the local Chicago area.

AYSO Chicago Area Director (6D) Drew McElligott is delighted about the partnership, which will amplify positive youth soccer participation in elementary schools throughout his community. “It’s exciting and inspiring that CPS and AYSO are partnering together with a shared vision and shared value system focused on what’s most important—the students—and their experience and engagement with soccer and each other, and their development as young people,” remarked McElligott. “AYSO is running community-based, mission-driven youth soccer programs throughout Chicago and in Chicago suburban communities like mine with a focus on creating positive experiences and outcomes for boys and girls who are playing, learning, and learning to love the game of soccer regardless of their skill level, athleticism, experience, physical or mental disability, or financial constraints.”

For additional information about the AYSO and CPS partnership, contact AYSO Director of Community Engagement and Business Development, Chris Solomons at [email protected], or visit

About American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO)
American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is a national nonprofit organization committed to delivering quality youth soccer programs in a fun, family-friendly environment. AYSO is rooted in Six Philosophies: Everyone Plays®, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship, and Player Development. Now celebrating its 60th year since inception in 1964, AYSO programs span over 640 communities across the United States.
As a member organization of the U.S. Soccer Federation, all AYSO programs, including AYSO PLAY!, conform to U.S. Soccer standards for safety, training, education, and player development curricula. Learn more about AYSO at

About Chicago Public Schools (CPS)
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is dedicated to providing a high-quality education to all students, beginning with the District’s free full-day preschool programming for four-year-old scholars and continuing through neighborhood, magnet and selective-enrollment elementary schools that provide a rigorous K-8 education with schools that specialize in the fine arts, world language and culture, dual language, STEM, International Baccalaureate (IB), classical programs, and more. The rising District-wide freshmen-on-track and high school graduation rates reflect the hard work of the CPS community, including families, staff, and students across 635 schools. CPS celebrates the diversity of its more than 323,000 students who cite 182 home languages. Learn more about CPS at and connect with CPS on Facebook, X, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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AYSO 177 Long Beach/ Belmont Shore

Long Beach, California 90804

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