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Washington Youth Soccer, Special Olympics Washington Team Up to Promote TOPSoccer
Washington Youth Soccer recently forged a new partner — Special Olympics of Washington (SOWA). Both community partners of Seattle Sounders FC, the two organizations are teaming up this year to increase the playing opportunities for players with cognitive and/or physical disabilities.
Washington Youth Soccer’s TOPSoccer — The Outreach Program for Soccer — pairs each player with a specially-trained, on-field “buddy” whose goal is to help their player achieve success in every activity. There have been 23 TOPSoccer programs created throughout Washington state, which currently provide over 400 players with this unique soccer experience which adapts each game and activity to the individual level of each player.
Parents of players in TOPSoccer have long praised the impact of the program on their children’s social and physical abilities — their only request has been for even more opportunities to play.
Taking this feedback, Washington Youth Soccer and Special Olympics Washington developed this partnership to provide TOPSoccer players an opportunity to compete in a TOPSoccer Competition at the SOWA Northwest Regional Competition on May 6, 2012. This partnership allows both organizations to continue supporting soccer opportunities for their players while developing stronger community awareness for integrated programs.
Following the player/buddy system and the SOWA Unified Sports Mission, teams will consist of three players and two buddies from across the state, who will work together to support player development and increase understanding of people with different abilities.
The creation of a TOPSoccer competition will allow players who are still developing their skill level and desire a small amount of competition, a chance to compete on a team against their TOPSoccer peers. For TOPSoccer players, the added level of competition ensures that those players who want to develop their talents on the field and within a team have a chance to expand their skills within the developmentally-based TOPSoccer program.
“This program will be a wonderful opportunity for our TOPSoccer players to feel the thrill of competition at an exciting, tournament-style event,” says Washington Youth Soccer CEO Terry Fisher. “Our hope is that this partnership will grow to provide TOPSoccer participants with added competitions throughout the state, while developing a strong relationship between our two organizations.”
Between the athletes currently participating in SOWA activities statewide, including soccer and other sports, and the players participating in TOPSoccer, this partnership has the potential to grow and expand for many years to come.
For more information on TOPSoccer, and the new partnership with SOWA, please visit the TOPSoccer page on WashingtonYouthSoccer.org.
Washington Youth Soccer • 500 S. 336th St. Suite 100 • Federal Way, WA 98003
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