TOPSoccer- A National Outreach Program for Soccer and Children with Disabilities
In the Spring of 2021, Daphne Rangers Academy partnered with US Youth Soccer to become one of just five youth soccer organizations under the Alabama Soccer Association to bring a soccer program specifically to young athletes with mental and physical challenges. Children ranging from ages 5-17, with a range of diagnoses, are given the opportunity to learn the sport, play the game, and interact with peers, youth volunteers, trained coaches, and other adult personnel in a safe, encouraging atmosphere. Our goal is to enable these young individuals to become valued and successful members of the US Youth Soccer family.
Our program operates for one hour, one evening a week, for a duration of 8 weeks. Our participant numbers have been between 12-15, and ranging in age from 6-15 years. Therefore, we run our chapter as a class, as opposed to a league. All of the children play soccer related activities together and close with a “competitive” soccer game as one group. A head coach leads the sessions with the assistance of a licensed, public school special education teacher, and the help of a few young “buddy” players from our youth club program. The children are given balls to use if they do not have their own and we provide a shirt for each child with the TOPSoccer logo.