By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
August 8, 2017-Children with special needs playing soccer started in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) in 1978. This was a decade after the Special Olympics was founded yet it was an era when children with special needs playing sports was not as widely accepted as it is today.
Today, many Eastern New York clubs have TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer), a community-based training program for these kids, organized by volunteers.
One of the largest TOPSoccer programs in Eastern New York is run by the LaGrange Soccer Club, a proud member of the East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL). The program has been around for the past two decades and has seen impressive growth during the last three years under the direction of Andrew Moroney. His son Callan is 10 years old, he was born with Down’s Syndrome and is part of this growing program which gives children with special needs the same opportunity to play soccer as other kids.
Andrew grew up playing in the EHYSL for the East Fishkill Soccer Club, then played for Assumption College in Massachusetts and now coaches 30 kids, from ages 5 to 18, in TOPSoccer every Saturday morning from 10:00 to 11:15 am at Stringham Park during the spring and fall. Helping teach the kids are two different LaGrange travel teams every Saturday who volunteer their time.
“I enjoy being out there with the kids on Saturday mornings,” Coach Moroney said. “Our kids look forward to pairing up with the travel teams who support us each week. It's very nice to see the smiles and laughs shared between our kids and their helpers.”
Should you live in the LaGrange area and would like to register your child for TOPSoccer this fall, please contact Andrew at 845-489-8684 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Should you not live in southern Dutchess County but want to register your child for TOPSoccer in one of the other EHYSL TOPSoccer programs, please contact the league office at 845-621-0112.
With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and 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 11 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 Children With Special Needs. 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 onto http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.