Top Soccer will begin its second season this week

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:22

    SPARTA — The Sparta Soccer Club’s newest venture, The Outreach Program for Soccer, or TOP Soccer, will kick off its second season this week. The program provides an opportunity for children with disabilities, ages 5 to 16 to learn to play soccer and have fun being part of a team. Each child is paired with a “Buddy”, or helper to be with them on the field, while parents watch from the sidelines. Last year the program was highly successful, involving 25 players and 30 high school students who volunteered as “Buddies.” The players and “Buddies” also hosted a tournament in which two other towns’ Top Soccer teams came to Sparta to compete. Top Soccer will begin this Saturday, Sept. 24 at the White Lake Fields from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and will continue on Oct. 1, 8, 15, and 22 at the same time. There is no cost to the players, but the program does seek donations from sponsors. Top Soccer was spearheaded last year by Councilman Gil Gibbs, who said he was thrilled with the way the community participated in and supported the program. He said the Elks Club sponsored a hot dog party for the kids and the Kiwanis Club sponsored a barbecue. The season ended with a Top Soccer Halloween party for all the players, “Buddies”, families, and sponsors. Gibs said, “The thing that I was most impressed by was the high school kids who gave up their Saturday afternoon to spend it at White Lake to be with these kids. I would get emails from them apologizing because they could not make it because of a School function and wanted to make sure someone took care of their buddy (player). They all were very dedicated.” To sign up as a player or a Buddy, log on to the Sparta Soccer Club’s Web site at and click on Top Soccer to download registration forms. For more information, contact Gil Gibbs at or at 973-670-7217, or Shauna Stanley at