TOPSoccer - The Outreach Program For Soccer is a community-based recreational program designed for participants of all ages with intellectual, emotional, and/or physical disabilities. The program uses a volunteer buddy system and strives to provide soccer opportunities for all players in a safe, fun, supportive, and inclusive environment.
Please watch this awesome short video below about TOPS, the benefits of the program for both clubs, athletes, and volunteers. You can also click below to find out more about getting involved, starting a program, or finding a program near you.
A TOPSoccer player is an individual, children or adult, with intellectual, emotional, or physical disabilities that have a passion for the game of soccer. TOPSoccer provides people with diverse abilities an opportunity to play soccer in a structured environment that is safe, fun, supportive, and inclusive.
Click HERE to see how you can start your own TOPSoccer Program.
Each participant is assigned a volunteer, trained ‘Buddy’ who is typically a little older and neurotypical. This Buddy works with their player individually and makes sure they are safe, engaged, supported, and having fun. The player-Buddy relationship is maintained throughout the course of a season, resulting in strong interpersonal bonds and an establishment of trust and confidence that allows each player to achieve their full potential.
TOPSoccer relies heavily on help provided by “buddies.” Many programs use a 1:1 buddy system so players can be met at their ability. You’ll gain coaching experience working with athletes with special needs, and be part of ensuring that all kids get to play our beautiful game.
Anyone. No soccer experience is necessary, just a positive attitude. Buddies help athletes not only grow as soccer players but also help create amazing social opportunities for both players and buddies. This video will provide you get a better understanding of the life-changing volunteer role you can play. Want to take it a step further and become a coach? It’s easy, and there is a US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer Coaching Certification Course available free of cost.
TOPSoccer coaches and administrators have taken formal USYS education and certification training that assists them in successfully delivering the program. In addition to providing coaching strategies and tactics specifically for children with special needs, the training identifies the traits of the most common disabilities and provides guidance on how to modify typical soccer practice activities so everyone can be successful.
TOPSoccer was formed to perpetuate the Cal North mission statement which is, in part, "to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of America's youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition." There are thousands of children with disabilities who need, and can be provided with, the opportunity to play soccer through the TOPSoccer program.
2023 USYS TOPSoccer National Symposium
TOPS is a US Youth Soccer program with resources to help you achieve your goals whether that’s learning more about TOPS, starting a program at your local soccer club, or working with kids with special needs. Wendy and Joanna volunteer their time with Cal North to ensure all players have access to the beautiful game of soccer. So please do reach out! A little more about us.
Wendy Greenberg is an Occupational Therapist who recognized the absence of a soccer program for children with special needs in her home of Walnut Creek and started a TOPS program at Walnut Creek Surf Soccer Club. Wendy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joanna Grossman is a non-profit executive and longtime soccer volunteer who teamed with Wendy to help start the Walnut Creek TOPS program. Joanna can be reached at email@example.com