Earlier this month, parent-volunteers for the Ventura (Calif.) Fighting Yams, a U-10 boys' soccer team, testified in the Ventura County Superior Court against the American Youth Soccer Organization in protest of the team’s disqualification from the 2016 season playoffs for failing to meet the minimum requirement for weekly referee points.
Parent-volunteers filed a complaint asking for an emergency restraining order to stop the disqualification and an injunction against AYSO Region 39 officials. According to Gil Torres, commissioner for Region 39, AYSO disqualified the Fighting Yams on the grounds that the team did not meet the minimum requirement for parent-volunteer referees.
Chris Stehle, a parent-volunteer for the Yams, told the Ventura County Star that he and other volunteers were never notified of the regulations requiring parents to earn a minimum number of weekly referee points in order for the team to advance to the playoffs.
AYSO national director Mike Hoyer says local chapters of AYSO retain the agency to develop rules independently, within the framework provided by the national organization. Some regions have a minimum requirement for parent-volunteers and others don’t, so it would be up to the region to notify parents of the chapter's regulations.
Stehle also told the Star that he attempted to register volunteer referees on the regional website, but all slots for October 29, the day the team was disqualified for a dearth of referees, were shown to be full.
"Plaintiffs and other team parents did provide refereeing to the league and were ready, willing and able to provide such services, but were denied the opportunity to provide such services by AYSO representatives,” read the complaint presented to the Ventura County Superior Court.
Ventura County Judge Vincent O’Neil, who oversaw the hearing, ruled in favor of Stehle, overturning the disqualification of the Fighting Yams and requiring AYSO Region 39 to accommodate the Yams in the playoffs schedule in addition to the original four teams.