TOP Soccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a soccer program for children with special needs; children with physical, mental, or neurological disability. Our goal is to enable athletes with disabilities to participate in youth soccer in a safe and secure environment.
TOP Soccer is a recognized program within the US Youth Soccer Association and SC Youth Soccer Association. CESA’s program has been operating since 2000 and tries to hold 6 or more sessions each season (spring and fall).
We do not charge anything to participate. All we require is that the players have a registration form filled out and Buddies sign in at the check-in table.
What is TOP Soccer?
TOP Soccer is a program designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to any boy or girl with mental, physical or neurological disability. Our goal is to enable athletes with disabilities to participate in youth soccer in a safe and secure environment.
What type disabilities are included?
Any child with a disability including but not limited to: ADD, Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, heart problems, developmental delays, neurological impairments, hearing impaired, Sight Impaired, Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, Cystic Fibrosis, Downs Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Seizure Disorder and Spinal bifida.
We make plans to accommodate children with physical, mental, and neurological disabilities that have included:
· Visual Impairment
· Hearing Impairment
· Muscular Dystrophy
· Traumatic Brain Injury
How are TOP Soccer Sessions Conducted?
There are three key people in a TOP Soccer session:
· Coach – leads activities
· Player – child with special needs
· Buddy – the person who assists the Player with activities as needed
The “Players” come to sessions lead by a coach from CESA where they work on different soccer skills for at least 90 minutes. For the past several years we have been holding our sessions at the Carolina Indoor Soccer facility. This gives us an all weather facility where we can keep all the activity in an enclosed area.
The player with disabilities is paired with a buddy who will assist them in following the directions of the coach who is leading the session. As can be imagined abilities of the players varies widely and drills are modified to match their skills. Activities are paced to accommodate the players and the emphasis is always on positive reinforcement and encouragement. Players are paired with a “buddy” who works with the players assisting them with trying to master the drills reinforcing all efforts with encouragement.
Sessions last 90 minutes and include at least 2 water breaks and a snack & drink at the end for the players and buddies.
TOP Soccer Buddies are invaluable volunteers who participate directly with individual players or in a team with several players to enable participation in the soccer activities. The buddy is not a Player within the TOP Soccer session and does not score goals. They help the Players succeed and keep them safe. Buddies can be a same-aged peer, a teenager or an adult. They do not have to be a soccer player or have any experience playing soccer; they can be someone who works with special needs children or just wants to help and give to others.
Buddies participate in TOP Soccer for various reasons. Sometimes because they are interested in collecting service hours while helping others and some just for the opportunity to help others enjoy soccer. Buddies receive nothing for their effort except our “Thank You” as they leave each session. However, without them this could not be accomplished nearly as well as it is.
The role of the buddy may include but not be limited to:
• Interact with players, coaches, parents
• Provide assistance as needed
• Assist player to get into position to play
• Assist player to focus on the activity
• Use touch/sign language/pictures to direct and guide
• Direct the ball to the player for touches and contact
What does it cost?
There is no cost to the participants, for either Player or Buddy. We only ask that you come and have fun. We do ask families to sign up to bring snacks or drinks for the end of each session. There will be a sign-up sheet at the registration table.
How do I participate?
All that is required to participate as a player or buddy is to show up at one of the sessions. We do require a registration form to be completed before a child can participate as a Player.
TOP Soccer sessions are held at the Carolina Indoor Soccer at:
255 Mills St. Taylors SC
864 907 2910
Why do we need a TOP Soccer Program?
TOPSOCCER was formed to perpetuate the US YOUTH SOCCER mission statement which is, in part, "to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of America’s youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition." There are thousands of children with disabilities who need, and can be provided with, the opportunity to play soccer through the TOP Soccer program.
If you have any questions please contact Richard Delap (864 268 1835) or Pearse Tormey (864 329 1113).
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