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AYSO Area 12C

EXTRA Program FAQs

FAQ's on the AYSO EXTRA Program in the Greater Albuquerque Area


Why is there an "EXTRA" program?

The AYSO EXTRA is a national program developed for U-9 and older players having advanced soccer skills who wish to develop these skills on a more competitive level. Recognizing the need to offer an AYSO based program for higher caliber players, and to help develop players for high school and college competition, AYSO is providing a program that will offer a higher level of training from more experienced coaches and a higher level of competition for those involved. The AYSO EXTRA program is designed to enhance each player's experience and individual growth through the game of soccer while retaining the spirit, organization and six philosophies of AYSO:

  • Everyone Plays
  • Balanced Teams
  • Open Registration
  • Positive Coaching
  • Good Sportsmanship
  • Player Development

Which AYSO regions are participating in EXTRA?

For AYSO local to the greater Albuquerque area, participation includes the following AYSO regions (local communities):

Other regions not currently in the program, but who could potentially form teams and join include Grants (Region 800) and Socorro (Region 364).

How long has EXTRA been going on locally?

We've been playing EXTRA games in Albuquerque since the fall of 2010.   The pilot program was voted into being by the national general membership in the spring of 2009.  Our local program has been officially approved by the AYSO National Organization in 2012.  The program has grown from 10 teams in its initial year (only in the U-10 boys division ) to presently over 50 teams across 5 regions and six age/gender divisions.

Who do EXTRA teams play?

In short, other EXTRA teams.  An EXTRA team in a given age and gender division will compete against other EXTRA teams within the division.  The games may be inter- or intra-regional play.  An attempt is made to schedule U-9 teams so that they play mostly other U-9 teams, likewise for U-10 teams.  However that depends on the number of teams formed in each bracket within the U-10 division.

Where are EXTRA games played?

In the city of Albuquerque and in nearby communities.  All current participating regions host games.  As such, our games are played at fields hosted by the two Albuquerque regions, and potentially at fields in Edgewood or Tijeras, Los Lunas, and Belen.  Hosting in a region outside Albuquerque depends on the division and whether there are teams at those ages formed in those regions.

The majority of the teams are from Albuquerque and therefore most of the games occur at parks within the city's limits.  Some of the common host fields in the city include: Jeanne Bellamah park (south of Constitution on Tomasita), Conchas park (near Eubank and Candelaria), Grisham Park (near Comanche and San Mateo), El Oso Grande park (Morris north of CNM east side campus), Heritage Hills Park (San Antonio NE & Ventura), CNM Westside campus (Universe NW north of Irving), John Adams Middle School (Atrisco on Hanover Rd NW.  Sites outside Albuquerque include: Los Vecinos field in Tijeras, Edgewood soccer field (U-12), Edgewood Elementary (U-9/10), the Los Lunas Soccer Complex, and Belen Eagle Park.

In general, fields are shared on Saturday with the region’s core games at different times of the day.  All fields are age specific in their size and field the specifications outlined in the AYSO National Rules and Regulations.

What's the time commitment?

EXTRA will require more travel and commitment than a core team or even a club recreational team, so it may not be right for everyone.  This program was designed for more focused soccer players and their families.  As such, the time commitment may be challenging for individuals involved in many other sports or activities.  Travel may be required for regular season games, and if opted, tournament play.  For one or two weeks of an 8-week season, trips outside the city of Albuquerque are not unusual.

Time commitment for practices during week are greater too.  The maximum daily practice time for the EXTRA teams may be 30 minutes longer than core (or recreational) teams. So, for a U-10 team this is as much as 3 hours per week – 2 weekly practice sessions of 1.5 hours each.

Regions participating in EXTRA will still have core recreational programs, so the opportunity to play AYSO soccer with fewer demands on time and travel still exist.

How long is the season?

The EXTRA season consists of 16 games, split between the fall and spring, with each game played on Saturday.  The game season begins the first weekend in September following Labor Day, with 8 weeks of play going through the end of October.  After that we take a break for the winter and then continue the season in mid-February for practices, and another series of 8 games beginning in the first weekend of March.  The regular season finishes up with an end-of-season tournaments played in late April or early May.  Outside of the regular season commitments, teams are free to attend as many tournaments, AYSO and Club, as they wish to in the off-season.

Who is coaching?

The volunteer coaches for this program have been selected based on their training, experience and other qualifications.  In most instances, these volunteers are parents of a player on the team.  Though there is no requirement that the coach be a parent of a player, or even have a relationship with any player on his/her team.  All coaches in our program are adults over the age of 18, have passed a national background check, have attended one or more live coach certification courses, are Safe Haven (risk management) certified and have taken the CDC's concussion awareness training.

How are players selected for teams?

Participation in the EXTRA program is determined by player evaluation sessions, commonly referred to as tryouts.   Tryouts for this program are open, meaning that any youth within the designated age range can come to the event and be evaluated, as opposed to "by invitation only" events.  To be selected for an EXTRA team, all potential players must attend at least one age/gender appropriate tryout session.  Prior to the event, a selection committee is formed within the region and the members serve as impartial evaluators at the tryout.  The primary function of this committee is to choose the players for the program and assign them to teams.  Often times, the head coaches are involved in the assignment process.

Players on EXTRA teams stay together for the entire year.  As such, the EXTRA tryouts are a once a year event.  Provided that coaches, players and parents approve it, the players can remain on that same team from one year to the next.  However, selection between years requires the youth trying out again, and being selected, for the team formed for that upcoming year.

What about tryouts?

Tryouts occur in the May-June time frame for most regions. These events are organized and scheduled by the volunteers from that region.  The tryout process is repeated each year, even for returning EXTRA players.  Youth trying out must either be registered as AYSO players for that membership year (starting Aug 1) or pay a tryout administration fee of $5.  This fee covers the liability insurance cost.  If AYSO registered, there is no fee for trying out.  If your son or daughter wants to tryout, contact the person who serves as the EXTRA Program Coordinator for your  local region (listed below).  These individuals can provide you the details about the time and location of tryouts.   Those individuals not selected for an EXTRA team will be notified and placed on a core team within their AYSO region for the fall.

Regional EXTRA Coordinators

What are the divisions/player ages for this program?

The program has divisions formed in two-year age groups: U-10, U-12 and U-14, with separate divisions for boys and girls teams.  The U-10 divisions consists of single year U-9 teams, single year U-10 teams, and teams that are a combination of U-9 & U-10 age players. Likewise, the U-12 division has single year U-11 and U-12 teams.  U-14 teams generally have a mix of player ages in the two year age range.  For U-9/10, players must have turned 8 years old by July 31st of the current year to participate in this program. The rules regarding playing up a division that apply for the core program teams also apply for EXTRA.

How many players on a team?  How many on the field in a game?

Roster size and number of players on the field will be the same as the AYSO core program.  These are:

EXTRA Division

Team Age Brackets
Format of Play
(# on field)

Roster Limit


U-9 and U-10

7 v 7



U-11 and U-12

9 v 9



U-13 and U-14

11 v 11


What is meant by EXTRA Side-by-Side or EXTRA Concurrent?

EXTRA Side-by-Side is a one of the two modes of operation for AYSO EXTRA program.  Side-by-Side means that the teams formed in the participating regions are scheduled to play games at the same time on the calendar as the standard primary (core) program within the same season.  Both EXTRA games and core games occur "side-by-side" such that games are scheduled on the same weekends, or at least overlap for part of the calendar.  Normally, the player is dedicated to either an EXTRA team or a core team.  This is the default mode used by teams in the Albuquerque & East Mountain regions. EXTRA Concurrent is the other mode of operation for the EXTRA program.  Players selected for EXTRA teams also play on another team in their region’s core program.  As such a player is concurrently on two teams.  In general, the Los Lunas and Belen regions operate their programs in this way.

How many teams from a region can participate?

A region may provide one or more teams per division.  That number depends on the player population with the region, the number of players trying out, the players' abilities, and the availability of qualified coaches.  Regions will attempt to form at least one, and perhaps multiple teams per division.   The larger regions, such as Region 104, form teams within each single year age bracket: U-9, U-10, U-11, etc.  A region only forms multiple teams in a division if it does not dilute the talent pool of the teams in region’s EXTRA program, or have a detrimental effect on the number of teams that can be formed in the region’s regular season core program.

How long are EXTRA games?  

EXTRA games follow standard durations prescribed by AYSO National and FIFA.  These are:

  • U-10 Division    50 minutes (2 x 25)
  • U-12 Division    60 minutes (2 x 30)
  • U-14 Division    70 minutes (2 x 35)

Games are played such that substitutions are allowed mid-way through the half.  This divides the match into roughly 4 quarters so that the Everyone Plays philosophy can be adhered to in a more definitive and measurable way.   The local EXTRA program follows the nationally prescribed 3/4 rule, whereby no player (other than the goalkeeper) is allowed to play the entire match until every other player on the team plays three quarters.

What is the cost?

The cost of registration is the same, or on par, with the region's core program (a.k.a. standard primary), which is normally less than $100/player.  This amount depends on the local region’s fee, whether the uniform is included, and any early-bird discount.   For most regions (other than Region 671), the fee covers the standard AYSO uniform: a jersey, two socks and shorts.   Region 671, the East Mountains, charges a smaller fee, but requires the team raise fund and purchase an AYSO uniform of their choosing.

Some regions do have an additional cost for participating in the EXTRA program over their core program, but that cost is no more than $20 per player.  The additional cost covers training supplies and equipment for the team and coaches.  If a team opts to pursue tournament play in the off-season, that team will be responsible for raising the required tournament entry fee.  Cost for entering a team in a tournament ranges from $200 to $600.

How is EXTRA different from Challenge FC?

While both programs are AYSO and both require the player to go through a tryout process to be eligible for the team, EXTRA is considered part of the region's core program and Challenge FC is considered a true club (as indicated by the "FC" moniker).  For EXTRA, being part of the region's core program means that games are played under AYSO rules, officiated by AYSO certified referees, teams play exclusively against other AYSO EXTRA (or core) teams, and the training for EXTRA coaches and referees follows (or exceeds) the standard training expectation of the respective national AYSO coach/referee program.

Rule differences for EXTRA include substitutions occurring mid-way through the half (not open subs), and coaches, players and spectators positioned at games to be on opposite sides of the fields by default. Challenge FC teams play in a USSF gaming circuit.  This means a Challenge team plays against other club teams (traditional and AYSO) and they play under the rules of league in which they're affiliated.  Locally, and by tradition, Challenge teams are part of the Duke City Soccer League.   The majority of DCSL games occur at the New Mexico Soccer Tournament Complex near Bernalillo at approximately the same time on the calendar as EXTRA. Compared to EXTRA, the cost and time involved with a Challenge team is higher.  Those teams need to raise additional funds to register in Duke City, and additional funds to enter into tournament.  And there is a higher expectation of players and their families of CFC teams to partake in club tournaments.  For instance, a CFC team is required to play in the AYSO Meltdown Friendly tournament and the AYSO Duke City Shootout, both classified as Challenge tournaments.  For EXTRA teams, tournament participation is purely optional.

Another difference is the age of players and the available program divisions.  EXTRA starts at U-9 player ages and goes up until U-14.  The Challenge program is designed for U-11 and older ages (up to U-19 in some instances).  In isolated instance a U-10 Challenge team can be formed by the region, but this is the exception not the rule.

Are volunteers needed?

Oh yes! This AYSO EXTRA program is part of the core program.  As such, each team will be responsible to provide at least the same volunteers. Volunteers keep our program alive and healthy! The volunteers most needed are assistant coaches (assuming the team has an identified and qualified head coach) and referees. All coach and referee volunteers are required to take certification training, and be currently registered for the AYSO membership year.

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