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AYSO to Set World Record With 50th Anniversary #SoccerFEST14

Thousands Across the Nation Will Play in Biggest Soccer Pick-Up Game on Earth

TORRANCE, CA--(Marketwired - March 13, 2014) - On May 3, 2014, thousands of children of all ages will set a world record in a one-day soccer pick-up event in over 100 communities, from New York to Hawaii. As part of the American Youth Soccer Organization's (AYSO), 50th anniversary celebration, #SoccerFEST14, presented by DOLE Fruit Squish'ems®, will make soccer history across hundreds of U.S. soccer fields with tens of thousands of participants playing soccer, showing off their soccer moves, having fun, making new friends and enjoying a great day of sports and activity.

"We want everyone to join us at the #SoccerFEST14 in their community, not only to set a world record but to participate in a day filled with fun, action, family, friends and soccer," said Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, AYSO's National Executive Director. "Since its inception in 1964, AYSO has always been an open and inclusive youth sports organization following the philosophy that Everyone Plays®. Through soccer, AYSO continues to build strength, leadership, skills, sportsmanship and healthy active lifestyles for children and their families."

"Soccer is the world's most popular sport, played by 250 million players in over 200 countries," said Jimmy Conrad, AYSO #SoccerFEST14 spokesperson and former 13 year Major League Soccer (MLS) and U.S. National Team defender. "Soccer is the one unique and universal game where anyone can play regardless of income, gender or size. It's a global language that brings everyone together. I applaud AYSO and its 50 years of service and dedication to our sport, its players and families. AYSO is building more than just soccer games and teams; they're instilling lifelong values of teamwork, leadership, athleticism, fitness and healthy lifestyle choices. Not to mention lasting friendships and vibrant communities."

Each player in #SoccerFEST14's soccer extravaganza will be shuffled and organized onto new, one-day "pick-up" teams, meeting new teammates to play a series of abbreviated, small-sided games of pick-up soccer. Players will be provided with Dole Fruit Squish'ems branded pinnies and at some locations, have the opportunity to try the delicious and nutritious squeezable fruit pouches. A convenient and healthy snack, Dole Fruit Squish'ems provide one full serving of all-natural fruit from fresh USA apples. To sign-up, parents and kids can visit AYSO.org/SoccerFEST to locate their nearest #SoccerFEST14. The event is filling up rapidly so families are encouraged to check their local AYSO league website for registration availability. This sign-up is specifically for #SoccerFEST14 but many locations will also have open registration for AYSO Soccer's fall season.

The month of May is also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, sponsored by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. AYSO encourages everyone to participate in this momentous day of soccer and health by cheering on their family and friends as they set the world record and celebrate AYSO's 50th anniversary.

AYSO is a non-profit, parent-supported organization that operates local youth soccer programs for children ages 4-19 in almost 900 communities nationwide. AYSO's programs are distinctive among youth soccer organizations in its approach to player development, training and family involvement. Six core principles guide all AYSO programs: Everyone Plays®, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development.

AYSO's reach into the nation's communities is supported by a wide variety of corporate sponsors including DOLE Fruit Squish'ems, The American Soccer Company/SCORE, Fox Sports 1, Herbalife, Shutterfly, Kerrygold and Nestle's®NESQUIK®.

About AYSO

AYSO was founded in Torrance, Calif., in 1964 and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It was the dream of a group of devoted soccer enthusiasts who started the organization out of their own garage with nine teams. Today, the national non-profit has more than 50,000 teams, nearly 900 leagues, and 500,000 players nationwide. Its alumni tops 6,000,000, including some of the top professional soccer players in the U.S. AYSO is founded on Six Philosophies which include Everyone Plays®, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development. For more information on AYSO, contact Sahar Milani at [email protected] or visit www.AYSO.org.

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