Sports

TOPSoccer For Children with Disabilities Kicks Off Spring Season

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WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Spring season of TOPSoccer has kicked into high gear with enthusiastic players, coaches and parents gettng together for fun, action-filled Saturday afternoons at Liberty Middle School.

The Mountaintop League's US Youth Soccer Program created for athletes with mental & physical disabilities is run by Coach Lou Mignone, a West Orange resident, former WOPD detective and a Mountaintop League Soccer coach.

He had first heard about the TOPSoccer program through the New Jersey Youth Soccer community, and after an instructor’s course in Philadelphia, he brought the program to West Orange in 2014.  

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“I knew from that moment that I needed to do all that I could to grow TOPSoccer in our part of the youth soccer world.” said Mignone.

 “The Outreach Program for Soccer” (US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer ) is a community-based training & team placement program for young athletes with disabilities, and is organized by youth soccer association volunteers.

The program launched in the Spring of 2014 and this is the fifth season for the program with Fall and Spring seasons taking place each year

TOPSoccer is held indoors, so rain or shine each week players get to be a part of the action. Each player gets a "buddy" who gets to run along with the players, encouraging them and helping them learn the skills needed to play well. Meanwhile, families are on the sidelines cheering and encouraging…some say it is the highlight of their week to watch their child play.

The Spring 2016 session of TOPSoccer began in April, which is also Autism Awareness Month. This nationwide effort to promote awareness, inclusion, and self-determination for all is described at the National Autism Society website as moving “one step closer to a society where those with ASDs are truly valued for their unique talents and gifts.”( http://www.autism-society.org/get-involved/national-autism-awareness-month/)

The TOPSoccer program is open to boys/girls ages 5-18 and each player is provided a uniform and one-on-one instruction and support from his or her TOPSoccer Buddy.  The program runs for approximately 8 weeks with events taking place each Saturday afternoon at 4pm at Liberty Middle School. 

For more information including sponsorship opportunities or to get involved, please contact Coach Lou Mignone, newyorkcosmos@verizon.net

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