What is TOPSoccer?
US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a recreational sports program for children and adults with intellectual, emotional, or physical disabilities offered only through local US Youth Soccer-affiliated soccer clubs. TOPSoccer provides people with diverse abilities an opportunity to play soccer in a structured environment that is safe, fun, supportive, and inclusive.
Benefits for Participants
- SOCIAL SKILLS – Players interact with their volunteer Buddy and other athletes in a fun, group setting and learn proper social behaviors.
- TEAMWORK – Players learn to trust someone else and rely on them through soccer activities and games.
- PERSEVERANCE – Players might encounter difficulties with activities, but they will be encouraged to keep trying and overcome challenges.
- CONFIDENCE – Players will achieve success on the field that carries over to their lives off the field in so many ways!
Differentiators of TOPSoccer
- BUDDIES – Each participant is assigned a volunteer, trained ‘Buddy’ who is typically a little older and neurotypical. This Buddy works with their player individually and ensures they are safe, engaged, supported, and having fun. The player-Buddy relationship is maintained throughout the season, resulting in strong interpersonal bonds and an establishment of trust and confidence that allows each player to achieve their full potential.
- COACHES – TOPSoccer coaches and administrators have taken formal USYS education and certification training that assists them in successfully delivering the program. In addition to providing coaching strategies and tactics specifically for children with special needs, the training identifies the traits of the most common disabilities. It guides how to modify typical soccer practice activities so everyone can be successful.
- GROUPINGS – Players are grouped by ability, not just age, so they can develop at their own pace and participate amongst others with similar abilities.
Eastern NY TOPSoccer Chairperson – Lauren Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org