TOPSOCCER BUDDY OF THE YEAR
DARRIEN TAN Wellesley Youth Soccer
As a sophomore at Wellesley High School, Darrien Tan recognized there was no local soccer program for kids with disabilities. He had volunteered at the King Philip TOPSoccer in Norfolk, MA and seen how much of an impact the program had on its participants and their families. So, for his 10th grade service project, Darrien decided to create a TOPSoccer Program in his hometown. He met with the Board of Directors of Wellesley United Soccer Club and with the Wellesley High Director of Athletics. He applied to the Wellesley Special Needs Parent Advisory Counsel for funding and volunteer training. He recruited other Wellesley High students to serve as TOPSoccer buddies and, in the spring of 2013 he started the program with approximately 15 children. This past fall the program grew to more than 25 participants. Darrien plays for Wellesley High School and FC Bolts Celtic and is a USSF certified Referee.
TOPSoccer – The Outreach Program for Soccer – is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with disabilities. It is organized by state youth soccer association volunteers. The TOPSoccer program is designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to any boy or girl with a mental or physical disability.
TOPSoccer was formed to support the United States Youth Soccer Association mission statement as it is applied to disabled young athletes. In part, that mission statement dictates that we all work “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.”
Here in Massachusetts, we are committed to providing the necessary resources to make TOPS successful in every way. Each program is different and its development is structured to the specific participants. Modifications are made to the game and training environment to allow full participation and enjoyment to each child that participates.
Massachusetts Youth Soccer encourages all of its organizations to utilize its resources and those of U.S. Youth Soccer to help structure a TOPS program in their area, and it encourages parents of disabled children to contact Ray Robinson, Director of Outreach Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To access the U.S. Youth Soccer TOPSoccer page....CLICK HERE.