Burlingame Dragons FC Community Partner: AYSO
Interview with Local AYSO Regional Commissioner from Burlingame Gary Rainville
The Burlingame Dragons Football Club have made community outreach a priority this off-season. One key partner has been the American Youth Soccer Organization and the various AYSO regions throughout the Peninsula. The American Youth Soccer Organization is the oldest national youth soccer program in the United States. The volunteer-driven youth soccer program is for kids ages 4 ½ to 19 as is proud to have established itself in 900 communities throughout the country and over 500,000 players nationwide. The program focuses on the entire family and it’s goal is to provide a safe, fun and fair experience for every boy and girl that steps onto the soccer field in the hopes of providing life long family memories.
BurlingameDragons.com recently sat down with Gary Rainville, Regional Commissioner of the local Burlingame AYSO region to learn more about the organization and their partnership with the Dragons.
What makes AYSO so special?
Rainville: AYSO is truly a community-based organization. We're 100% volunteer run, providing a fun, high-quality soccer experience for about 1,500 kids each year. It's a massive undertaking, but tackled each year by dozens of volunteers. One of the things that sets AYSO apart is that every child is eligible to play -- there are no tryouts and everyone is guaranteed to play. Any child in Burlingame who wants to play soccer gets to experience the team environment, make new friends and develop their love for the game. We also emphasize positive coaching, which couples the goal of winning with the arguably more important goal of learning important life lessons, including good sportsmanship.
Why AYSO when it comes to volunteering your time?
Rainville: I believe community service is an important part of a well-rounded life and think AYSO is a great organization to devote some time to. I like that it brings lots of people from the community together in a positive environment focused on giving kids a great experience. Some of our board members and volunteers played in AYSO in Burlingame and elsewhere themselves when they were young and have the best things to say about what it meant to them. It's really inspiring and makes me proud to be helping this generation of kids enjoy the same.
How can the AYSO and the Dragons benefit from each other moving forward?
Rainville: It's awesome for AYSO players to have a local, high-quality team to root for and be inspired by. Games are convenient, tickets are cheap and there's not a bad seat in the house! I think the Dragons benefit from having a strong loyal fan base to cheer them on and inspire their play. This year we're offering a special reward for our volunteer coaches and referees to go to the opening day game at a fantastic group rate. It's a great way to spread appreciation for the game.