TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a community based training and team placement for young athletes with special needs. The program designed and administered by US Youth Soccer and its volunteer TOPSoccer committee provides meaningful learning, development and physical participation opportunities to these young athletes through the game of soccer.
Emphasis of this program is on development, training and meaningful participation rather than on competition. TOPSoccer was formed to perpetuate the US Youth Soccer mission statement which is “to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development through the sport of soccer through all levels of age and competition.”
The goal is to enable young athletes with disabilities to develop their physical fitness, technical skills, courage and self esteem through the joy and excitement of playing soccer. Registration for the Fall season is in June, while the Spring season registration is in January.
Columbus Metropolitan TOPSoccer
Columbus Metropolitan TOPSoccer is a joint program sponsored by Northern Columbus Athletic Association and Hilliard Ohio Soccer Association (HOSA). We operate as a 501C3 tax-exempt organization under the United States Federal Tax statutes. The program started in the fall of 1999 with 15 boys & girls playing at Northern Columbus Athletic Association. Hilliard Ohio Soccer Association joined the following year. In 2001 we had 50 boys and girls registered to play, with this number we decided to offer an additional playing site (Hilliard) to help ease the travel for the parents/kids in the Columbus metropolitan area. As of the spring of 2006 we had 104 boys & girls registered playing soccer at the Northern Columbus and Hilliard locations.
The program consists of both a spring and fall season that correspond with the recreational soccer season. All games are non-competitive and emphasis is placed on individual successes, for each child this is a different thing. For some children it may be as simple as actually moving the ball to the thrill of playing in a very active soccer game. All efforts are encouraged and cheered as we emphasize the athlete’s abilities, not their disabilities.
Every child in the program is provided with a shirt and socks. This is offered at a family friendly fee of $10.00, scholarships are also available to anyone in need. Occasionally we partner up with the Columbus Crew SC or other organizations and have extra activities to participate in.
We use youth volunteers (buddies) to help with our athletes. These are youth from the communities in which we play in, we have skilled players from the high school teams, players from our select teams, boys & girls from schools fulfilling their community service hours and kids that have heard of the program and want to help out. Other adults in the communities also help with the program; these are coaches, local therapists, parents, board members, etc.