Swansboro Soccer Association is proud to present our TOPSoccer Pilot program!
TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for 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 player 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 of the North Carolina Soccer family.
TOPSoccer is designed to reach and meet the needs of players ages 5 to 21 with physical and/or mental disabilities. The program caters to player development rather than competition. TOPSoccer takes these children off the sidelines and allows them to participate in the game of soccer.
Why do we need a TOPSoccer 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 TOPSoccer program.
TOPSoccer athletes will develop a sense of belonging and will learn the value of being part of a team; improve their self-esteem, fitness and social skills; and most importantly, have FUN!
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 makes sure they are safe, engaged, supported, and having fun. The player-Buddy relationship is maintained throughout the course of a 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 and provides guidance on how to modify typical soccer practice activities so everyone can be successful.
Groupings: Players are grouped by ability, not just age, such that they can develop at their own pace and participate amongst others with similar abilities.