It was with much pride and ceremony that Tehachapi's American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), Region 479, opened its 30th season Saturday at the Benz Visco Sports Park. AYSO first started its California affiliation in 1964 in Torrance. Its goal then, as it still is today, was to introduce youth to the international game of Soccer and to follow a creed that “every child plays."

Today, AYSO is expanded internationally, and in America alone, there are over 50,000 teams in nearly 900 different communities. It boasts over 6 million alumni members.

In addition to the parade of team flags, team photos and season kick off events during the opening ceremony, Harvey Hall and representatives from Hall Ambulance presented the organization with an AED device that will be accessible and kept on site at the playing field throughout the season. Hall donated a second AED device to be placed on the nearby football field.

Special recognition was given to the Benz family who, many years ago, established the sports fields for use by Tehachapi youth. Among the many donors is Lehigh Southwest Cement Company which have made a consistent pledge to keep the fields supplied with irrigation water.

This season will see 52 teams participating with nearly 550 children between the ages of 3 and 19, fully backed with a cadre of coaches, referees, board members and team moms.

For more information, email AYSO479@gmail.com.