This post was written and sponsored by NCFC Youth. Raleigh Moms Blog only partners with sponsors who bring the most value to our readers.
Did your household experience World Cup soccer fever like mine did the past few weeks? If so, your kids might be wanting to play soccer all the time now (see a previous post about NCFC Youth’s Recreation program – there’s still time to register for the fall season!). But, if you are the parent of a special needs child, you may be wondering how to engage your son or daughter in the sport they have fallen in love with.
Don’t worry, your children eager to learn the game of soccer can also participate in introductory programs with NCFC Youth through a recreational soccer program designed just for them. This program, called TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer), is built so that your children receive the same benefits as their peers participating in sports programs.
TOPSoccer is a US Youth Soccer community-based soccer program designed to meet the needs of athletes (up to age 18) with physical, developmental, and/or intellectual disabilities. NCFC Youth operates a TOPSoccer program to provide our local youth athletes with special needs the opportunity to reap all the benefits of playing soccer. With soccer at the world’s center stage recently, I want to make sure all of you parents out there with special needs children know there is an affordable ($35/season) option for your child to participate in soccer.
Register your child for TOPSoccer here today!
The Season Starts August 26.
Here’s some highlights of the TOPSoccer Program to help you determine if this is the right fit for your child and family:
TOPSoccer runs for 8 weeks each fall and spring season, just like any regular recreation program. Your athlete can participate in just one or both seasons – it’s up to you. Practices are held on Sunday evenings on a beautiful turf field at WRAL Soccer Park in Raleigh. Players go through ability-appropriate soccer exercises and games, and they often finish the session with intra-squad scrimmages. It’s a great way to keep your kid physically active and socially engaged! Check out the full season dates here.
Worried about how your child might handle a new environment or new activity? TOPSoccer is built to ease any worries. One of the best features of the program is the soccer buddies. Soccer Buddies are youth athlete volunteers from NCFC Youth who commit to help TOPSoccer athletes on a weekly basis. Soccer Buddies help teach soccer skills, but they also pair up with many athletes for the season building bonds and friendships. If your athlete needs a little extra encouragement, support, or attention, the buddies are there and eager to help.
Your child might often be watching his/her siblings or peers participate in sports from the sidelines. Now they can be part of their own team (did we mention all athletes receive a TOPSoccer shirt with registration?!). The specialized curriculum, soccer buddies, and trained coaches allow TOPSoccer to service youth with many different needs on the TOPSoccer “team”. TOPSoccer athletes have down syndrome, autism, ADHD, or other disabilities. If you have specific questions about your child, you can contact NCFC Youth directly or learn more on the website.
Youth can learn a lot from healthy competition in sports – personal drive, coping with loss, winning with respect, teamwork, sportsmanship, and so much more. There’s benefits in competition, and the parents can see this reflected in their kids in all sports, including TOPSoccer. As one TOPSoccer dad said in this awesome video below,
Watching my son participate in TOPSoccer and the joy that he has in being part of a team, having success, being competitive with like-minded athletes is very rewarding.
Community and Support:
In any sport, bonds are formed on the playing surface and on the sideline among athletes and parents. Similarly, TOPSoccer brings kids and families together who understand each other’s circumstances. One TOPSoccer Mom said the program is
a great way to see that you are not out there alone, because so many times we feel that we are as a parent of a special needs child… Being here, you see that there is a family, there is a community around this… everyone’s rooting for each other’s kids out here.
(Check out this mom’s full feedback on the program by watching the video above.). The bonds between buddies and athletes and among teammates has helped many TOPSoccer athletes improve their confidence and build self-esteem, which has brought many athletes out of their “shell”.
These are just a few highlights of this amazing program available here in the Triangle. I encourage any of you parents out there looking for a program for your special needs child to check out NCFC Youth’s TOPSoccer.
North Carolina FC Youth, a 501c3 non-profit youth soccer organization, is the product of a collaboration between Capital Area Soccer League, Triangle Futbol Club Alliance, and North Carolina Football Club. NCFC Youth’s mission is to provide positive, high-quality soccer opportunities at all levels of play for youth and their families and to serve as a valuable community partner. The youth club’s inaugural season was Fall 2017, when nearly 14,000 youth players (ages 3-18) take the fields. To learn more about NCFC Youth, visit www.NCFCyouth.com