It’s hard to believe but Okeeheelee Park - based AYSO Region 345 in West Palm Beach has been in existence for over 31 years! The region was started back in 1981 with only a handful of volunteers. The Saturdays consisted of around 20 games on Saturday with about 300 players. The growing popularity of soccer over the last years has helped the region to grow to 2100 players this year and now 80 games are held each Saturday! The region has grown in the number of players, as well as in the number of volunteers with about 160 coaches and 160 Team Managers each Fall and Spring Season. We are happy to offer our players Opening Ceremonies (players, parents and team parents parade Olympic style around the fields with banners showing off their team names and creativity) every Fall which prove to be a fun-filled day for the players and parents.
All Games and practices are held on the beautiful fields at Okeeheelee Park with the Fall Season running from the 3rd week of August through the 3rd week of November and the Spring Season running from the last week of January through the end of March.
We are truly a recreational league with teams reformed each year according to AYSO Philosophy “Balanced Teams” and “Open Registration”. No standings are kept by the league with all players receiving a trophy at the end of the season. All players are guaranteed to play at least half of every game according to the AYSO Philosophy “Everyone Plays”. All administration, coaches, team managers, and referees are volunteers. Since the focal point of each child’s experience with the program is with their coach, they are trained to communicate and act in accordance with AYSO Philosophy “Positive Coaching”. Our regional program is designed to instill good sportsmanship ship in every facet of AYSO, therefore, a positive environment is created that is based on mutual respect, rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude. “Player Development” –In order to maximize the enjoyment of the game, we believe that all players (new and returning) should be able to develop their soccer skills and knowledge to the best of their abilities, both individually and as members of a team.
Another rewarding benefit of offering the soccer program to the youths besides soccer is the Youth Referee Program. Every season numerous youth are recruited to referee youth games. We have seen many of these youths grow up to be magnificent young men and women and most have gone onto college. We have also seen several alumni who are coming back to coach their own child and seem proud to be able to bring their child to play at our region where they once played as a child.
We are also very proud of our VIP Program for special needs children which we started over 3 years ago. We offer 2 seasons and the program usually consists of around 40 players and 40 Buddies. The Buddies are mostly the youth players from our region who come help to be a Buddy before or after their own game. Several of our VIP coaches coach a mainstream team and help with the VIP as well as we all try to help each other whenever we can to help make our program successful! This year we were fortunate to have the granddaughter of the 1st Regional Commissioner for Region 345 from 1981 come and play at our region which reminds us of how long Region 345 has been providing soccer for the Palm Beach County area. We are a proud Region 345 and we are here to stay!
We also provide for players to play more competitively by offering to participate in AYSO Section 14 State Games and AYSO National Games.
For more information please go to region website www.ayso345.com