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Thousands of youth soccer players hit SoCal for AYSO National Games




Ten-year-old Maci Spencer of Weston, Florida wears a soccer ball temporary tattoo.
Ten-year-old Maci Spencer of Weston, Florida wears a soccer ball temporary tattoo.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ten-year-old Maci Spencer of Weston, Florida wears a soccer ball temporary tattoo.
Ten-year-old Maci Spencer of Weston, Florida blows into a vuvuzela during the American Youth Soccer Organization's week-long 2014 national games on Wednesday, July 2 at Toyota Sports Complex in Torrance.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ten-year-old Maci Spencer of Weston, Florida wears a soccer ball temporary tattoo.
Players from teams around the country are split up and placed on different teams during a "soccerfest" on Wednesday, July 2 during the 2014 AYSO national games in Riverside and Torrance.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ten-year-old Maci Spencer of Weston, Florida wears a soccer ball temporary tattoo.
Tom Vaughan, a volunteer staffer for AYSO from Palm Beach, Florida, gathers girls teams for a "soccerfest," in which regional teams are split up and mixed together with other teams.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ten-year-old Maci Spencer of Weston, Florida wears a soccer ball temporary tattoo.
At national tournaments like this, soccer players from across the country trade soccer pins with each other.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ten-year-old Maci Spencer of Weston, Florida wears a soccer ball temporary tattoo.
The national games began in 1988. An AYSO regional director in West Hills, Calif. first came up with the idea of doing the national tournament.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ten-year-old Maci Spencer of Weston, Florida wears a soccer ball temporary tattoo.
Ten-year-old Hannah Sanders of Burbank takes a break on the sidelines during a morning game at the 2014 AYSO national games at Toyota Sports Complex in Torrance.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ten-year-old Maci Spencer of Weston, Florida wears a soccer ball temporary tattoo.
The AYSO national games have taken place thoughout Southern California, Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee and many other places in the U.S.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ten-year-old Maci Spencer of Weston, Florida wears a soccer ball temporary tattoo.
The 2014 AYSO national games started on Sunday, June 29 and continue through Monday, July 7.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC


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This week about 7,000 young soccer players from around the country are gathered in Southern California for the AYSO National Games.

The American Youth Soccer Organization was started 50 years ago here in Torrance, Calif. Since then, soccer has become the second-most popular sport among kids in this country. Over the last two decades alone, the number of youth soccer players has doubled to about 4 million.

The AYSO National Games started June 29 and run through July 7 in games in Riverside and Carson, Calif. Boys and girls from age 8 to 18 will compete in a tournament structured to mirror the FIFA World Cup.

Take Two producer Meghan McCarty attended the opening ceremony of the AYSO games to talk to this young generation of soccer-lovers.