NY State West Youth Soccer Launches New TOPSoccer Program

NY State West TOPSoccer

The New York State West Youth Soccer Association (NYSWYSA) and Lancaster-Depew Soccer Club have teamed-up to launch a TOPSoccer Program in the Buffalo Area, with weekly sessions officially getting underway earlier this month.

TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a recreational sports program for children with intellectual, emotional and physical disabilities. Developed by US Youth Soccer, TOPSoccer provides an opportunity for those with diverse abilities to play the game in a structured environment that is safe, fun, supportive and inclusive.

“I grew up playing for the Lancaster Depew Soccer Club, and when I first brought TOPSoccer back to Buffalo, I knew Lancaster would be a great source of players and volunteers,” said Vanessa Uhteg, NYSWYSA TOPSoccer Instructor. “The launch of this program has shown me just that. The volunteers were engaged and ready to encourage our players while making them laugh and smile. At TOPSoccer, volunteers, coaches, players and parents all seem to have a similar experience: we smile and laugh the whole hour-long practice! We are excited to expand TOPSoccer to all the wonderful soccer communities in Buffalo and create wider sports and social opportunities for players with disabilities.”

Lancaster-Depew SC TOPSoccer officially kicked off its spring season on the morning of Saturday, April 13th, and the program is running for seven consecutive weeks. The opening session began with a group warmup that even included a specialty Spiderman stretch that was created by one of the players. Next up was a series of games such as Sharks and Minnows, Soccer Freeze Tag and Red Light, Green Light.

“When Lancaster-Depew Soccer Club was approached by NYSW Youth Soccer to bring back TOPSoccer in the area, it was an immediate yes. We knew we wanted to be as involved as we could be,” said Brian Anderson, Lancaster-Depew SC Board Member. “We were able to set-up seven sessions for the spring utilizing our turf field at Westwood Park in Lancaster, New York. After session one, to see all the smiles on the kids’ faces was such a great feeling, knowing that we could bring this opportunity to our area!”

This past weekend, training at Lancaster-Depew SC TOPSoccer progressed onto passing and shooting drills to help players develop their skills. At the conclusion of each session, Coach Vanessa and Coach Brian also connect with parents and volunteers to discuss ways to make the program even more valuable for its participants.

Any clubs or organizations that are interested in starting a TOPSoccer Program are encouraged to contact our state association office by emailing topsoccer@nyswysa.org or by calling 607-962-9923 (extension 3). NYSWYSA provides support to member clubs and works in collaboration with them to help establish, sustain and grow their TOPSoccer Programs.

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