Playoffs, Grad Series signups, All-Star tryouts 

What you need to know...

Team Pictures continue. It's at Upper Victory Park, way in the back behind the trees.

Register for Grad Series. Children whose parents will coach or referee for Grad Series may register now. Others may sign up on Monday.

All-Star tryouts move to LCHS.

Spectators should be behind the touch line, between the penalty areas, to minimize visual distractions for the players and officials. Spectators and coaches stay off the field during the game, unless invited on by the Referee.

Everyone you meet could be a neighbor, schoolmate, or future teammate, so please treat everyone you encounter on Saturday as a friend.

No dogs! Seriously! Not even little ones in a basket.


New location: All-Star tryouts are this coming Sunday, October 29th, and Sunday, November 5th at La Canada High SchoolPlease arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled time to ensure you have time to check-in:

All-Stars will end in early February this year, so you can play baseball or softball afterward.


Volunteer to set up fields, staff the tent, or help with pictures.

Please let the coaches be the only adults giving the players instructions. If the game were played by predictable robots, it would be rather boring to watch. Therefore, the Bob Ross rule applies: There are no mistakes; only happy accidents!

Teams in 10U, 12U, and 14U who completed their referee assignments, and whose coaches, players, and parents have demonstrated good sporting behavior, will be invited to play in the Rose City Cup, a single-elimination tournament on Dec 2, 3, 10, and 11. This used to be called the "playoffs", but Rose City Cup has a nice ring to it. Teams will play with other teams with similar records, so that everyone gets to play a balanced game. 10U will have A, B, and C flights; 12U will have A and B flights; and everyone in 14U is in the A flight. A flight champions will continue to the Area 1C League Playoffs in South Pasadena on Dec 17-18. If you win that, you get to go to the SoCal finals in February. 


The league wraps up the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Teams in 6U, 7U, and 8U will be done for the year. While everyone is together, hold a team celebration in the park after the final game, with snacks and speeches. Trophies will be provided (details to follow). 

Teams in 10U, 12U, and 14U take Thanksgiving week off, then resume training for the Rose City Cup on Dec 2-3, and 9-10. Games could be either Saturday or Sunday. It's a single-elimination tournament, possibly with a 3rd place consolation game. The teams ranked #1 and #2 in pool play in each age division receive trophies or medals. The tournament finalists (in each of the flights) receive trophies or medals. If you take one of those home, you'll feel like you earned it. 

This week, beware "tournament fever," which can turn teammates against one another as they  work out how the team might move up in the standings. The effort you put into establishing a supportive team culture back in September will pay off now. If you're playing catchup in that regard, Try some passing & moving drills to focus on working with teammates, and maybe also some relaxation and deep breathing. 

Plan to attend the coaching seminar Monday, October 30 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm in person at the AYSO Region 13 Clubhouse. Highly recommended for coaches who want to win in the Rose City Cup.


This is when we start to see more aggressive behavior, leading to injuries. Sensing a chance to bring their team to the top of the standings, players may also try to be heroes, and clash with teammates. Ironic, and yet a valuable learning opportunity! Set the tone early, and go ahead and use the whistle to discourage careless and reckless fouls. If you feel your hand reaching for your pocket, then the card should probably come out.

Help the coaches, and take a few minutes before the match to ensure that the spectators are in the proper place: behind their touch line, between the penalty areas. Parents who are likely to disrupt the game tend to creep farther away. Move them to where the coach has a better chance of keeping track of them.

Report great sporting behavior by grownups at

Team Managers

Trophies are being ordered! Everyone in 4U through 8U gets a trophy. Cara and Pam will send you instructions to pick them up in a couple weeks.

Thanks for getting the word out about setting up. Field hosts are still needed at Victory Park.

Pop quiz! What's the call?

Take your best guess, then scroll down for answers. 

1. Red #9 swings at where the ball used to be, and trips Orange #2, who was starting to dribble the ball, but is now face-down in the grass. What's the call?

2. In an unrelated incident, Red #3 is brushing herself off and preparing to take a free kick. Orange #4,  #6, and #11 are setting up a wall in front of her, and she thinks they're too close, so she says, "Referee, I'd like 10 yards, please." What's the call?

3. Orange's GK caught the ball, and is bouncing it against the ground while walking up to the top of the penalty area. Red #4 runs into the penalty area and kicks the ball into the goalWhat's the call?

The Road Ahead

See more by subscribing to the Region 13 calendar. The board meeting is usually the first Thursday of each month.

Oct 24  Picture day #2
Oct 29  All-Star tryouts #1 at LCHS
Oct 30  Coach seminar with Barry Ritson, 7:00 - 8:30 pm at the Clubhouse
Nov 2  Board meeting on Zoom, 7:15 pm
Nov 5  All-Star tryouts #2
Nov 12  All-Star makeup in case of rain
Nov 18  Last game for 6U, 7U, 8U. Final week of pool play for 10U, 12U, 14U
Dec 2-3  Rose City Cup starts 10U, 12U, 14U
Dec 9-10  Rose City Cup finals 10U, 12U, 14U

What's next?

You can keep playing soccer with Region 13.

Grad Series is for current 8U-aged players who will be playing 10U for the first time in Fall 2024.

Winter Stars is Sunday afternoon pickup for everyone else. If you'd like to organize Winter Stars, hit that reply button!

If you're ready to try something different, we're fortunate to be neighbors to many other great sports clubs, most of which start registering players in November. You'll see many of the same AYSO players and volunteer coaches playing softball and baseball with Little League and PONY League. Those games start in March, after All-Stars and Grad Series end. Girls can and do play baseball, by the way. If you already know how to ice skate, check out Li'l Kings hockey in Pasadena for kids 5-9, wherein the NHL provides all the equipment, to keep! It's the best value in youth sports, and the sport that most welcomes girls and boys to play together. Futsal is like soccer, but different. Lacrosse is growing in popularity, as well as Flag Football. Basketball and volleyball go year-round, and you'll find a league at just about every recreational center. For tots, Coach Andy's classes at the Community Center of LCF are a winner. For indoor soccer, check out Evolve Soccer, only 15 minutes away, and LA Grassroots.

For individual sports, there's Tennis, Track & Field, and lots of Swimming. If you're looking for the most laid-back, no commitment recreation, try the pickleball courts in La Canada on weekends and in Altadena at Farnsworth Park.

There's much more. We've linked to a few programs with similar philosophies to AYSO - positive coaching, everyone plays, balanced teams, and player development. The costs are similar to Region 13 soccer, and you can register as an individual player, not as a team. If we missed any, let us know to include them in a future newsletter.

Good Sportsmanship

What do we get if we win? A juice box! What do we get if we lose? Also a juice box!

Have you read the book, Moneyball, by Michael Lewis? Or maybe seen the movie? To save some time, here's a summary: baseball is a game with simple rules and complex physics. There are traditions for how to train for and play the game. But in 2002, the Oakland Athletics used Microsoft Excel to analyze the statistics of what actually happened in a baseball game, and came up with a different way to play. The discovery? The old way of playing the game was based on heuristics, while the new way of playing the game is based on a deeper understanding of the true underlying rules of physiology, psychology, and physics. Understanding the true rules was newly possible because of the improvements in computing. If your child plays softball or baseball, you've probably heard some of the traditional heuristics still in use, like "keep your eye on the ball," and "protect the plate." Nothing wrong with those, per se. They serve a purpose. They just have limitations, and athletes who understand the true rules (the ones enforced by physics) will outperform in the long run. After all, if watching the ball was the most important thing, then Albert Pujols would be able to hit a pitch by Jennie Finch.

Heuristics are useful, of course. You may have heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect: that someone who is new to a skill is often more confident in their abilities than they should be, while an expert is less confident than she should be. If you accept that this is just part of how the human mind works, it can be used as a powerful tool for introspection. 

Humans are really quite good at learning new skills, especially those combining perception, decision, and motion. Reflecting on what we've accomplished makes it easy to want to learn more, often discovering a set of heuristics that scaffolds rapid learning. After a while, we reach a plateau, in which continued effort yields no real improvement. But then, our brain starts to figure out what the true rules really are, and remaps itself to develop a more sophisticated set of behaviors (combining perception, decision, action, and adjustment) that are difficult to express in plain language. That's when we reach the long, slow incline of mastery, and the new mental models reward new experience with both improvement and confidence. There are no shortcuts.

It's easy to hear this in language development! Nearly every child switches from saying "ran" to saying "runned," when they recognize that "run" and "ran" are different tenses of the same verb. The child's mind is replacing a list of special cases with rules for conjugating verbs, and then the irregular verbs need to be learned again. It's also easy to hear this at Victory Park on Saturdays, as parents ask questions like, "why can't you just dribble like you were so good at last week?" 

A hallmark of being on a plateau is relying on heuristics. When you hear yourself using words like "always" or "never," those are heuristics. Examples include, "never cross the ball in front of your own goal," or "always kick the ball out of bounds if you're outnumbered on defense." This is often the best thing to do, but there are exceptions. Only by gaining experience does an athlete develop the more complex mental models that lets her make decisions to take advantage of those exceptions.

It's difficult for a young child to explore those decisions, and move along the experience/confidence curve, when her parents are yelling at her during the game, telling her what to do. That's why AYSO asks parents to let the coaches have the only voices instructing the team during the game, and why the AYSO coaching classes stress "coaching off the ball," to avoid distracting the players at the center of action.

Michael Lewis also as a podcast about coaching and refereeing. The episode "Ref, you suck," explores how we relate to those who enforce the rules -- whether in sports, in business, or in law. We tried to get Pierluigi Collina to referee your child's game this Saturday, but he had better things to do. Instead, you get some random parents who just started refereeing soccer games 6 weeks ago. Your referee crew is on their own journey of confidence and experience, so AYSO depends on everyone respecting the referees' learning process. It's hard enough keeping track of 20 people, while running, without having to worry about insults coming from the parents on the sidelines. A simple, "Thank you, Referees!" goes a long way to encouraging volunteers to want to gain experience, develop their understanding of the game, and get better over time. There are no shortcuts.

The best way to support your child after a game is to say, "I love watching you play!"

Picture of the Week

Thanks, Angelica! Send action shots to or tag @aysoregion13 on Instagram to be in next week's newsletter.

Quiz Answers

1. Direct free kick for Orange. No card is shown, as this is a careless foul, appropriate to the age and ability of the player, not reckless or deliberate.

2. The referee says, "wait for my whistle" to Red #3, paces out 10 yards, and then moves the Orange players back. The Referee will blow the whistle again to signal that the kick may be taken. If the Referee feels the Orange players deliberately set up too close in order to delay the game, the Referee may caution them (yellow card) for Failure to Respect Required Distance.

3. The referee blows the whistle and cautions Red #4 (yellow card) for preventing the goalkeeper from bringing the ball into play. A goalkeeper is considered to be in possession of the ball, once she has controlled it with her hands, until she puts it into play. Bouncing or tossing the ball to herself is not considered putting the ball into play.

You are receiving this message because of your involvement with AYSO Region 13, 711 W. Woodbury Rd., Unit E, Altadena, CA, 91001, United States of America

View in browser | Unsubscribe | Sent by EmailOctopus