By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
September 10, 2013-The Long Island Junior Soccer League’s (LIJSL) Special Children kicked off their Fall Season at the Peter Collins Soccer Park in Plainview this past Saturday, September 7.
The Soccer Park is named after the former LIJSL President and U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer. A huge supporter of the physically challenged, it was under Collins’ presidency that the LIJSL became the first formal soccer league to start a Special Children’s Program, in 1979, and it remains the largest TOPSoccer Special Children’s Program in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA).
Many of the LIJSL Special Children will be playing in the Special Olympics on Saturday, September 28 from 10 am to 2 pm at Cantiague Park in Hicksville. The New Hyde Park Wildcats Soccer Club will be hosting the New Hyde Park Special Children’s Tournament on Saturday, October 5 from 9 am to noon at the Denton Avenue School. And some 500 people are expected to attend the LIJSL Special Children’s Awards Lunch at the Huntington Hilton on Sunday, November 10 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Using the slogan of "Come Play With Me," the LIJSL TOPSoccer Special Children’s Program is for those kids with mental and/or physical challenging conditions and accommodates those children who are not able to participate in a regular or mainstream soccer activity. It provides an opportunity for that child who deviates from the average or normal child in mental, physical or social characteristics to such an extent that he or she requires modified educational practices and services in order to develop to his or her maximum capacity.
As such, any child with a severe auditory or visual impairment, orthopedic handicap, behavior deviations or mental retardation would benefit from a special sports program because he or she requires a special learning environment that is directed towards identifying and remediating their physical as well as cognitive deficits. This could include cerebral dysfunctions, impulse disorders, mental retardation, Down's Syndrome, physical or learning challenges, epilepsy, etc.
Kids from Queens to eastern Long Island play in the LIJSL TOPSoccer Special Children’s Program. For more information about registering your child in this very special program, please contact chairperson Ann Marie Toth at 516-694-3567.
With 123,843 youth soccer players––68,587 boys and 55,256 girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 12 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Special Children. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.