Hey kids, time to get ready to play some soccer. "Mom, where is my uniform shirt?" "What did I do with those shin guards?" "Did I leave my ball in the car or is it in the backyard?" "I hate the warm-ups and practice, why can't we just play games?" Sound familiar, just another day of sports for the kids? Well, think again, I bet you don't remember this conversation when you got ready for soccer "Where is my walker?" "Is my wheelchair in the car?" "Mom, do you have your "buddy" shirt ready?" "Are my medications in the cooler?"
This is TOPSoccer, a special soccer league for special kids. The league plays on real soccer fields, with real soccer goals, and real referees, coaches and rules. But, there are accommodations for the players in wheelchairs; players with assistive devices, players who have some trouble moving around the field and understanding all the game's strategies and players who just need the game slowed down so they can enjoy the experience.
Parents can also enjoy watching the game from their foldout spectator chairs just like a typical youth soccer match. Loud cheering is expected but keep those nasty comments about the officials to yourselves (most of the time!).
TOPS Soccer signup is proceeding through June 30.
Picture day, the end-of-the-season banquet and trophies are included in the $25 registration fee to make the memories last for a long time.
Of course after each game, all the players get the traditional drink and snack win or lose.
TOPSoccer has been thriving in the Trumbull County area for eight years. The players and their families come from Trumbull, Ashtabula and Mahoning counties, as well as Pennsylvania.
The games are played on Sunday afternoons beginning in August at the old Cortland Elementary School fields. The field layout is perfect for all the players.
The older U19 players are on the larger field so they can spread out and kick; the younger players are on a scaled down field with smaller goals to limit the space and keep them all in the game. Players with balance issues and assistive devices play in the grass on a half field near the parking lot and players in wheelchairs are on the blacktop with a large ball and goals.
Every division has dedicated coaching and sanctioned uniformed game referees.
The league in its ninth year is looking for more players. The sign ups will be extended through June to allow for players that did not see the announcements and missed posted dates. No experience is needed, just a desire to get out, play hard and enjoy the game. Players are expected to listen to the coaches, participate in practice and warm-ups before the game, play a team game, play their hardest and have fun!
For more information or to sign-up a new player, please contact Melissa McDerm0tt at 330-984-6620 as soon as possible.