Top Soccer is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with disabilities, organized by youth soccer association volunteers. The program is designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to any boy or girl, who has a mental or physical disability. Our goal is to enable the thousands of young athletes with disabilities to become valued and successful members.
A few tips on "Getting Started" with a Top Soccer Program
- Identify the need in your area.
- For what type of disabilities do you need to plan?
- Are you able to fulfill these needs?
- Check for any restrictions placed on the facility(ies) you plan to use.
- Are they equipped to handle athletes with physical disabilities?
- Check with your soccer insurance carrier (ENYYSA provides for youth with disabilities).
- Contact your local school districts and universities.
- Create a list of people who are able to assist you.
- Plan your advertisements.
- Contact ENYYSA Chairman Pete Bussa, he has a wealth of information about established programs best practices.
How to "Create a Top Soccer Program"
The unique thing about TOP Soccer is that each program is different and is created around the needs of the participants. Additionally, TOP Soccer athletes are placed on teams according to ability, not age.
- Length of program is determined by organizer (6-8 weeks)
- Playing rules.
- Create rules to fit specific needs.
- TOPSoccer programs can have very modest beginnings.
- For those athletes not able to participate due to medical reasons, design a skills program that is rewarding, challenging and fun.
- Variety of choices.
- Small-sided games (3 v 3, 4 v 4, 8 v 8, etc.)
- Full-sided games (11v11)
- Unified teams (ratio of challenged athletes to non-challenged athletes)
- Indoor programs Outdoor program
- Skills only
- Above all... keep it simple... KEEP IT FUN!
Placement and Registration of Athletes
- Registration procedures should be the same as those used for regular league teams.
- Registration form should include a section for medical history.
- Athletes with Down-syndrome should be required to have a current x-ray. If the x-ray is positive for their safety, it should be strongly recommended that they do not take part in team play.
- In some cases medical waivers may be required.
- Placement is made by ability not age.
- Ensure that the experience is meaningful for the participating athletes, and one in which they feel they have made a contribution.
- Contact local universities, schools and soccer clubs for volunteers.
- No special training is required, but it is recommended that all your Coaches take the 4 hour Top Soccer Course, presented by our qualified Instruction Staff. If we are not hosting a Top Soccer Course, contact Chairmen Pete Bussa and he will assist you.