By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
February 16, 2021-TOPSoccer stands for The Outreach Program for Soccer, providing an opportunity for children with intellectual, physical and/or social characteristics that may require modified educational practices and services in order to develop to their potential.
The program has grown by leaps and bounds since the Huntington Boys Club (HBC) and Massapequa Soccer Club separately kicked off programs back in 1978. These Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) clubs started the first soccer program ever for Children With Special Needs, not only in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) but in the entire world. Using the slogan of “Come Play With Me,” today there are 26 LIJSL clubs with TOPSoccer Programs as Syosset recently merged into Plainview/Old Bethpage’s TOPSoccer Program.
The 2020 TOPSoccer Spring Season was canceled because of the virus but some clubs played last fall with the hope that more clubs will return this upcoming spring.
“The Fall Season worked out well for the clubs that did play,” commented LIJSL TOPSoccer Program Chairperson Ann Marie Toth. “The kids had a good time which was the most important thing.”
Just like anything else that the LIJSL does, the strength of the LIJSL TOPSoccer Program comes from its many volunteers. In 2019, Jessica Lee of the West Hempstead Chiefs TOPSoccer Program was honored by US Youth Soccer as the National TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year. Last year, East Islip Just For Kicks’ Bella Pepe received East Region TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year honors.
“Our TOPSoccer players are the nicest and most loyal people that you will ever meet,” Toth added. For more info or to register your child in the LIJSL TOPSoccer Program, please call her at 516-694-3567.
With approximately 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 nine 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. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/