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AYSO Sets World Record at 50th Anniversary #SoccerFEST14

14,628 Boys and Girls Create Biggest Soccer Pick-Up Game on Earth

TORRANCE, CA--(Marketwired - May 06, 2014) - The first world record for the Biggest Pick-up Soccer Game on Earth was set on Saturday, May 3, as 14,628 youth soccer players in nearly 140 communities across the U.S. to celebrate the American Youth Soccer Organization's (AYSO) landmark 50th Anniversary.

Open to both AYSO and guest players, the pick-up style national event spotlighted soccer and fun as the foundation of a healthy, active lifestyle. Kids were assigned to age-based pick-up teams as they arrived at the hundreds of soccer fields hosting AYSO's #SoccerFEST14. Thousands of parents, siblings, volunteers and fans were on hand to cheer the players on to this first-ever world record.

"We're thrilled that the nation's oldest youth soccer organization has established this record," said Paula Berriz, AYSO's National President. "AYSO's #SoccerFEST14 was the perfect way to celebrate our 50th Anniversary, a perfect example of the principles that guide us. We welcome boys and girls of all ages and skill levels, and we're dedicated to delivering fitness, fairness and fun in every single AYSO community."

#SoccerFEST14 was presented by DOLE® Fruit Squish'ems, the Official Snack of AYSO. DOLE is the largest fruits and vegetable company in the world. Fruit Squish'ems are an all-natural fruit snack in a squeezable pouch.

"AYSO brings our community lots of fun," said Laura Love, an AYSO Regional Commissioner. "It also instills values like fairness, teamwork and respect and establishes healthy exercise habits which last a lifetime. Every parent and volunteer who makes AYSO a valuable resource in our neighborhoods is always proud to serve our kids -- now, we all own a world record and that's a great tribute."

From Hawaii to New York, Oregon to Florida, and Montana to New Mexico, AYSO's #SoccerFEST14 crisscrossed the nation. But winter and spring have not always been kind to the long-planned event. The hard winter and turbulent spring left some communities with fields under water and others with wind damage.

"Our hearts go out to those communities in recent weeks that have been hit by tornados and flooding in so many parts of the U.S." said President Berriz. "Everyone is joining together to support them in making sure their fields are ready for soccer in the fall."

ABOUT AYSO

AYSO's programs are distinctive among youth soccer organizations in their approach to player development, training and parent involvement. Six core philosophies guide all of AYSO Soccer: Everyone Plays®, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development.

AYSO is a non-profit organization founded in 1964 and is the first national youth soccer organization in America to celebrate its 50th Anniversary. FOX Sports is the presenting sponsor of AYSO's 50th Anniversary. AYSO operates community-based youth soccer programs in almost 900 communities nationwide.

Today more than 500,000 children ages 4 to 18 years old play AYSO soccer nationwide and 6,000,000 have played in AYSO since its launch in the Southern California city of Torrance. It was founded by a handful of soccer enthusiasts who wanted to introduce the kids in their neighborhood to the sport they loved.

Since then, AYSO's Everyone Plays® philosophy has helped launched the careers of dozens of American soccer stars including Landon Donovan, Alex Morgan, Cobi Jones, Julie Foudy, Carlos Bocanegra and Shannon Boxx. It was also the beginning of athletic careers for stars in other sports such as baseball player Derek Jeter and golfer Michelle Wie.

AYSO's vision of enriching children's lives through soccer is supported by a wide variety of corporate partners including DOLE Fruit Squish'ems, SCORE, Herbalife, Shutterfly, Kerrygold, Nestlé's®NESQUIK®, BJ's Restaurants and FOX Sports 1.

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