Please note that Verified Volunteers is now known as Sterling Volunteers. They are the same entity.
Sterling Volunteers, AYSO "E3", and Volunteer Registration for Membership Year 2019 and on
The Story So Far
Up through the Spring of 2019 (Membership Year 2018), volunteers for inLeague regions were required to register separately through eAYSO. Following the successful integration of inLeague's player registration with the successor to eAYSO ("E3"), inLeague and AYSO National committed to integrating inLeague volunteer registration with the AYSO Volunteer Membership Program ("VMP") that was under development alongside Sterling Volunteers and Blue Sombrero. Beginning August 1, 2019, all access roles granted to inLeague users will be suspended until the user has a valid AYSO Volunteer registration and background check for the current Membership Year.
Summary: What is Volunteer Membership?
"Volunteer Membership" is an umbrella term that describes the effort to complete a Level 2 background check on coaches, referees, and other AYSO volunteers for every membership year. AYSO has partnered with Sterling Volunteers to conduct the background checks; the is cost $25 per person per membership year as of April 2019. This fee may be paid either by the region or the volunteer. The process requires several integration points between the Region Management System (inLeague or Blue Sombrero), AYSO National (E3), and Sterling Volunteers.
Initial integration of a volunteer record between inLeague and AYSO: Looking up a volunteer's existing AYSO ID based on name, lSSN, and date of birth, or generating a new AYSO ID.
"Previous disclosures" - the volunteer indicates whether they have any previous convictions and confirms their legal name
Yozons E-Signature: The volunteer is automatically directed to Yozons to e-sign their volunteer application, and then returned to inLeague
AYSO Volunteer Confirmation and AYSO Sign-On Sync: The e-signed volunteer record is confirmed with AYSO's E3 system and the volunteer's "AYSO Login" is updated to match their inLeague username and password. The volunteer's status is now "pending" and the inLeague portion of their registration is complete.
Regional Approval Queue. Regions may approve or reject pending volunteers. "Approved" volunteers are instantly submitted to Sterling Volunteers as "region pays." "Rejected" volunteers are not notified but will have a link in their family profile to initiate the Sterling Volunteers process themselves as "volunteer pays". Approval (or rejection) may be submitted as annual (the volunteer will appear in the queue again in future Membership Years) or permanent (the volunteer will always be approved or rejected for any future applications). Alternatively, leagues may elect to automatically approve any coach or referee assigned to a team.
Sterling Volunteers Email. When Sterling Volunteers receives the request from inLeague, it immediately sends an email to the volunteer with a link to complete the background check form. The volunteer's name and date of birth are retrieved from inLeague and cannot be changed; the volunteer will input their Social Security Number (which inLeague does not collect) and Sterling Volunteers will initiate the background Check.
AYSO Adjudication. Sterling Volunteers automatically sends the result of the background check to E3. If the background check is not clear, it is flagged for manual review by the AYSO National CVPA.
RMS Notification. Whenever the results of the check are cleared by AYSO (whether automatically or after a manual review), inLeague is notified by E3. If the results are clear, inLeague will flag the volunteer as "current" (the field called "Last eAYSO Year" within inLeague) and the volunteer will be granted access to player data appropriate to any assigned roles they hold within inLeague. If the results are anything other than clear, inLeague will withhold access.
A region must have an AYSO Commercial Card to participate in the Volunteer Membership Program if the region wishes to pay the $25 fee on behalf of any volunteers. Commissioners should contact firstname.lastname@example.org and be advised that the process can take 3-5 weeks.
Making inLeague Aware of your AYSO Commercial Card
It is not necessary to input your regional Commercial Card number into inLeague. However, inLeague does have to be aware that your region has a Commercial Card on file. AYSO has established a simple, automated tool that will inform region management systems whether the region has a card on file. The default status for all regions is "no card on file", so be sure to update it as soon as you have the commercial card. To update your region's credit card status, navigate to Utilities → Control Panel → 3rd Party Connectors and select the link to synchronize Commercial Card Status with AYSO.
All AYSO volunteers must have a valid Social Security number.
Region Configuration Options
Regions exercise control over part of the process:
- Regions may elect to underwrite the cost of the background check for all volunteers, no volunteers, or (the default) volunteers they approve in a queue. Regions using the volunteer queue may additionally elect to automatically approve any coach or referee assigned to a team for any season within the membership year. If this option is enabled, the coach or referee must still go through the volunteer registration process, but their volunteer application will be submitted to Sterling Volunteers right away rather than waiting in a queue.
- Regions may indicate whether background checks are required for their "flex" (or custom) volunteer roles. Volunteers who sign up for these roles will not be submitted to AYSO as official volunteers and will not be required to undergo a background check. However, if any of these volunteers are assigned as coaches or administrators of any kind, they will be required to go through the Volunteer Membership Program.
Sterling Volunteers (#6)
Whether the region approves a volunteer for a "region pays" package or the volunteer self-selects to pay for their own background check, Sterling Volunteers will send an email to the address associated with the volunteer's inLeague login with an invitation to register on Sterling Volunteers.
When the volunteer follows the link in the email, they will be prompted to create an account with Sterling Volunteers and continue through the Sterling Volunteers process:
- Create a login and password for future Sterling Volunteers logins (the email used does not have to match the inLeague email provided)
- Review the personal information provided from inLeague. The volunteer cannot change their name or date of birth. This information is sent by inLeague when it initiates the request to Sterling Volunteers and is "locked down" to insure that the person completing the background check is the same person who registered as a volunteer in the first place.
- The volunteer is required to enter their Social Security Number. Sterling Volunteers requires an SSN for the background check that AYSO has arranged.
- The volunteer is given the option to pay for their background check. Even with "region pays" packages, every volunteer will be able to contribute up to the full cost of their background check.
- (Optional) The volunteer may order a "Fast Pass" that will make their background check "portable" and accessible to other institutions that may require a similar background check.
- If applicable, the volunteer pays whatever balance is due. If no balance is due, the order is submitted, the volunteer receives a confirmation email, and the background check is underway.
The background check typically requires 1 -2 days, depending on the State and the Volunteers' past addresses. When it is complete, Sterling Volunteers sends an automated notification to AYSO.
AYSO Adjudication (#7)
AYSO receives the results of each volunteer's background check from Sterling Volunteers as soon as it is complete. Depending on the results, the volunteer record is either released as clear ("green") or held for manual review by the National CVPA. For clear ("green") records, AYSO automatically notifies inLeague and the volunteer's record will be marked as "current" for the Membership Year.
AYSO National Adjudication Result Codes
Other than "green" for a clear background check, AYSO has several color codes that are mapped to specific restrictions in the AYSO National system:
- Green – Eligible
- Red - Ineligible
- Yellow – No Coaching
- Orange – No Funds
- Brown – No Funds / No Coaching
- Purple (New) Blocked by region
inLeague Access Updated (#8)
inLeague does not accept any result other than Green. inLeague's implementation of the Volunteer Membership Program will bar any volunteer from any system access role even if the "context" of the failure may not apply. For example, while a code of "Orange" (No Funds) is not meant by AYSO to restrict a volunteer from coaching a team, inLeague will block access to any user authorization role.
This policy is subject to change in the future as the program evolves.
Volunteers are notified by Sterling Volunteers when their background check is complete, and in most cases, inLeague should receive the results in short order. In the event that the volunteer requires manual adjudication from the National CVPA, the notification from Sterling Volunteers will say only that AYSO needs to review the record. It will not reveal specifics. Both the volunteer and the league's regional commissioner will be notified by the National CVPA in the event that a volunteer does not clear the background check, and the inLeague System Log will show that the user was flagged by E3 for failing the background check.
Updated Background Check Results Later in the Year and Appealing Results
It is possible for a volunteer to clear their background check but then receive a revised result later in the year. It is also possible for a volunteer to appeal to the National CVPA to clear up ambiguity in their background check such that a previously failed check may become "green." In either case, E3 will automatically notify inLeague of the new result and it will overwrite the previous result: a volunteer marked as "current" for MY2019 will lose that status if the result goes from Green to another color, while a volunteer who had not been marked as current will be brought up-to-date if inLeague receives an all-clear result from E3.
- If a volunteer signs up in one inLeague region, proceeds as far as receiving the invitation from Sterling Volunteers, but never completes it and moves to another region, they will not be able to sign up as a volunteer in the second region if the second region uses the approval queue. inLeague will detect that the volunteer has an existing background check in progress, but the volunteer's second region will not be able to access it (as it was generated for a different region's approval). Workaround: Volunteers should either complete the entire VMP process in their first region, or else they may appeal to the first region's registrar to reset their volunteer record from the User Editor, as this will delete any pending (or completed) background checks associated with the volunteer.
- This is not an issue if either of the two regions concerned are not inLeague regions (as inLeague will not be aware of the pending background invitation from the other region and will simply generate a new one).
- This is not an issue if the second region does not pay for any background checks; region B is capable of submitting a "volunteer pays" request that originated with region A to Sterling Volunteers. It is only "volunteer pays" requests and approvals conditional upon the VMP queue that cannot happen "across" regions (as this would allow one region to approve another region's volunteer, and the first region would pay the fee).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If a user's access roles are suspended because they do not have a valid volunteer registration, do they need to be re-assigned after the volunteer has completed registration?
A: No. Users may be assigned as coaches, division directors, or administrators regardless of their AYSO volunteer membership status. When the user logs in, they will not receive the benefit of any access they have if their membership is not current.
Q: What is a 'current volunteer membership'?
A: For most system-wide access roles like Division Director, Competition Manager, or Player/Volunteer Administrator, users must have a valid volunteer registration for the current date's membership year: for example, up through July 31st of 2020, a volunteer must have a valid registration for MY2019 (or later). As of August 1, 2020, volunteers must have a valid registration for MY2020 or later.
For seasonal roles like Coach or Team Administrator, the user must have a valid volunteer registration for the membership year of that team assignment (or later). For example, a coach for a Fall 2019 team must have a valid volunteer registration for MY2019 or later.
Q: If a volunteer signs up for the Fall of 2019 and then again for the Spring 2020 season, do they need a new background check for 2020?
A: No. Background checks are good for the duration of the "Membership Year" that runs from August 1st to July 31st of the following year. Volunteers only need participate in the Volunteer Membership Program once for each Membership Year.
Q: If I assign a volunteer as a coach or a division director within inLeague, but they do not have a completed, clear background check on file, how can they access their teams?
A: They cannot. That is the point of the system.
Q: Is it possible for a league commissioner or registrar to make an exception to the above and provide provisional access to a volunteer?
A: Not at this time. The purpose of the Volunteer Membership Program is to enforce appropriate controls on who has access to player and family data. inLeague is committed to the success of this program and working with AYSO and Sterling Volunteers to see that data is sent promptly, consistently, and accurately. If you are not seeing records updated for your region and you know that volunteers have completed the necessary background checks, please contact inLeague Support.
Q: What if a volunteer does not choose any volunteer roles (and therefore is not sent through the volunteer membership program) but is later assigned to coach a team, or recruited as a referee?
A: The volunteer will have a link in their family profile to initiate AYSO volunteer membership registration as soon as they "become" eligible, whether from self-selecting an eligible role or being assigned to a team. Even if the volunteer is assigned as a coach prior to completing the volunteer membership process, they will not have access to any roster or referee functions; their role will be "suspended" until their record is current and clear in AYSO.
Q: If a volunteer signs up for a Membership Year in one region and then moves to another region, do they need to have a second background check?
A: No. During the "AYSO ID" synchronization phase, E3 will communicate to inLeague that the volunteer is already clear for that membership year and that a new check is not required.
Q: What if the volunteer is coming from a Blue Sombrero region? What if the volunteer was in inLeague but moves to a Blue Sombrero Region? Do they have to register with AYSO again?
A: Blue Sombrero and inLeague are all using the same mechanisms to exchange data with E3. Any volunteer from any region that has been registered in AYSO for a Membership Year will have that information made available to any Region Management System authorized by AYSO.
Q: What about volunteers that do not have Social Security numbers?
A: It is AYSO National policy that all volunteers must have Social Security numbers, and no volunteer without a Social Security number can participate in the volunteer membership program. inLeague only employs the last four digits of the SSN to match the volunteer with AYSO's records, but Sterling Volunteers uses the entire SSN.
Q: What if our region wants to automatically pay for everyone (or no-one) rather than deciding on a case-by-case basis?
A: Contact inLeague Support. Some options may be available to your region with the approval of your regional commissioner.
Q: How does a league specify which custom volunteer roles require background checks and which do not?
A: Only a webmaster-level user may access the Volunteer Roles tab of the Control Panel. Only the "flex" (custom) roles may be edited; it is not possible to turn off background checks for coaches or referees.
Q: It's early March, and a volunteer signs up to be a coach for the upcoming Spring season and also for the following Fall. These are two separate Membership Years. Does the volunteer require two background checks?
A: The way the program is constituted, a volunteer must have a background check for each Membership Year; but in early-to-mid Spring, where it is possible that a region might have two Membership Years open at once, of course it doesn't make sense that a volunteer should have two background checks simultaneously for $50. It is also not currently possible for Sterling Volunteers to start a background check for a new Membership Year while it has a previous check underway. This is a structural issue between how AYSO works and how Sterling works that was not addressed for the 2020 Membership Year. Consequently, until further notice, any volunteer in this situation will require two background checks to volunteer during a Spring season and the following Fall.
Q: What if a volunteer inputs incorrect information and the wrong name, date of birth, or address is sent to AYSO and Sterling Volunteers?
A: Volunteers should not complete Sterling Volunteers registration if their name, address, or date of birth is incorrect. Volunteers can re-submit their records to Sterling Volunteers from inLeague after their address. If their name, date of birth, or SSN is incorrect, the league registrar can change the name on a record or reset it to clear the DOB or SSN; a reset for DOB or SSN will invalidate the volunteer's AYSO ID and any background checks on file for the old AYSO ID, so they may temporarily lose access to team functions within inLeague until a new background check is processed (unless the new AYSO ID based on the correct DOB and SSN already has a background check on file). To reset a volunteer record, look up a user in the user editor on the Volunteers page and select Reset Volunteer Record next to the AYSO ID field.
Q: How do I contact the AYSO National CVPA to inquire after or dispute the results of my background check?
A: Send an email to the National CVPA staff at email@example.com.
Q: If a volunteer has a "Fast Pass" from a previous (non-AYSO) background check, can they use it for AYSO?
A: Not at this time. An AYSO background check can generate a Fast Pass but it cannot be the beneficiary of one.
Q: If I change my inLeague login or password after going through this process, does my AYSOU / AYSO Single-Sign-On login also get updated?
A: Not automatically. You may re-synchronize your credentials with AYSOU through the 'AYSOU Login' button on your family profile.
Q: I perform administrative functions under a "generic" account, like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. It says that my access has been suspended, even though I completed volunteer registration under my "regular" account. Can my background check "carry over"?
A: The short answer is "Yes, but...." In order for any inLeague account to make use of any system-level access like Division Director or any administrative authorization level, it has to be linked to an AYSO Volunteer record that has a clear background check for the current Membership Year. It is OK for multiple inLeague accounts to link to the same AYSO account – this is even to be expected when a volunteer works in more than one region. The only "catch" is that AYSO links the inLeague account to the AYSO account based on the user's name, date of birth, and social security number. So if you went through volunteer registration with your personal inLeague account, you will have to input the same DOB and SSN on your "generic" administrative account, and a registrar will have to "reset" that account whenever it changes hands so that the next person can input their SSN and DOB.