TOPSoccer tops for those involved

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:07

Program bring disabled athletes and caring volunteers together in buddy system of play SPARTA — The Sparta Field House was filled with laughter and love on Saturday, Nov. 5, during the Sparta Soccer Club TOPSoccer program. TOPSoccer is a US Youth Soccer Outreach Program. This is a volunteer, community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with disabilities. The program is designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to any boy or girl, ages 4-19, who has a mental or physical disability. The goal is to enable the thousands of young athletes with disabilities to become valued and successful members of the US YOUTH SOCCER family. Each participant is paired with a volunteer High School age 'Buddy' who has been specially trained to participate. The parents of the participants are thrilled with this program: According to Jennifer Buyer, "I am very grateful for this program. My daughter absolutely loves wearing her TOPSoccer Team shirt to school. She looks forward to this program every week. She is very proud to be part of this program." Maleen Baurhenn's son also loves this program. "The socialization aspect is fantastic. The volunteer Buddy's are so accepting. He love his Buddies and has lots of fun." Cathleen Lunsford's son looks forward to seeing the same volunteer Buddies every week. "The Buddies make certain that all of the kids are fully engaged in the game." The Cucciniello Family said, "This is the first year that our son has participated. The kids are very happy and get all of their energy out. This program makes the kids feel like they belong." Kevin and Phuong Monahan said of their son, "He loves coming here. He does not get a chance to get out and play anywhere else. He really feels part of a team and his loves his uniform." Kim Strada said "My son loves all of the volunteer Buddies. He gets to run around and come out of his shell here. He feels safe here." Karen Carrigan said, "This is such a special program for special children. We totally appreciate what Gil and Shauna and the all of the High School Buddies do for us. These people have such great hearts! These Buddies are so unique - they show a lot of character.'" Kelly Keebler said of her son, "This is a wonderful opportunity to be able to get out and have social interaction with kids in an environment that is supportive. He just wants to do normal things that typical kids get to do." Catherine Griffith said, "My children are so grateful that this program is available to us. They are so excited to come every week. The Buddies and the coaches are so nice and they never let him down. He is very happy to be involved. Would you like to participate? Contact Gil Gibbs ( or Shauna Stanley ( Sparta Soccer Club: TOPSoccer: