Jonathan Camin (white shirt, back row) and son Jorn (third boy from left, standing) with the Snohomish TOPSoccer Team.
TOPSoccer Coaching Summit Comes to Starfire Sports June 9
For Marysville resident Jonathan Camin, coaching TOPSoccer isn't just a responsibility — it's a privilege.
Camin, 41, is raising a child with autism, and says that the benefits of TOPSoccer — The Outreach Program for Soccer, a national US Youth Soccer program for kids with physical and developmental disabilities — go far beyond the playing field.
“There's a special moment when a TOPSoccer player executes in a game what might be a very simple skill — say a good, clean, crisp pass — and they get a big smile and their eyes light up,” he says. “That's exciting.”
A Washington Youth Soccer product in his own right, Camin has been giving back to the youth soccer community for the last four years as a volunteer in Washington's TOPSoccer program. In June, he will join fellow TOPSoccer coaches, buddies, Club and Association administrators from around the state for a day-long TOPSoccer Summit at Starfire Sports in Tukwila.
Camin says that attending his first summit, in 2011, gave him valuable insights into the unique methodologies required to coach special-needs players.
“They don't necessarily process information the same way other players do, so you have to teach them a little differently,” he says. “You have to break skills down into smaller steps, and then build the skill back together one step at a time. When I attended my first Coaching Summit, I was able to meet so many other coaches who had been doing this for a long time, and were able to teach me what works and what doesn't. It helped me a lot.”
Camin says that the relationships built at the Summit with other coaches and administrators have been long-lasting, giving himself and other coaches a support system to share ideas with, or go to for advice. In addition, Camin says that the Summit is an excellent opportunity for Club and Association administrators interested in starting a TOPSoccer program to become more familiar with TOPSoccer, and learn from experienced coaches and administrators how to best get their own program off the ground.
“You have the chance to meet people like Marty Torres, who have been doing this for a lot longer than any of us, and to see firsthand how special needs kids interact,” he says. “Educating special needs children is still a developing science, so it's valuable to share ideas and experiences with others.”
For more information about the TOPSoccer Coaching Summit on June 9, or the TOPSoccer program in general, visit http://www.washingtonyouthsoccer.org/programs/topsoccer/.