TOPSoccer is a community-based training and team placement program 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.
The 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 at all levels of age and competition. Our goal is to enable the thousands of young athletes with disabilities to develop their physical fitness, technical skills, courage and self-esteem, through the joy and excitement of playing soccer."
Seven Keys to a Successful Program
A TOPSoccer player is defined as any youth player between the ages of 4 and 19 who has physical or mental disability which limits their ability to perform at the level of play they have chosen to participate. A successful TOPSoccer program consists of the following elements:
- Placement of players by ability, not age
- Emphasis on ability not disability
- Player involvement
- Meaningful experience for players, not mere tokenism
- Achievement of individual goals
- Dependability and stability of coaches
- FUN! FUN! FUN! FUN!
STYSA provides information and guidance to Member Associations in development of their TOPSoccer programs.
Recap of the 2016 7th Annual San Antonio TOPSoccer Festival
All the elements came together last year in San Antonio for a great morning of soccer at the 7th Annual TOPSoccer Festival. There were over 50 athletes and twice as many volunteers who converged at the STAR Soccer Complex under an impeccable central Texas clear blue sky to enjoy ball handling exercises, training sessions and a load and rowdy game! Coach Brad Matheny did a stellar job of conveying ideas, encouraging participation and raising the level of excitement!
Special thanks to all the teams who volunteered, the individuals who volunteered, and to the STAR Soccer Complex for their continued support of this event.