The AYSO very important players (VIP) program provides a quality soccer experience for children and adults whose physical or mental disabilities make it difficult to successfully participate on mainstream teams. VIP teams may include:
- Blind or visually impaired
- Amputees or with conditions that impair mobility
- Mentally or emotionally challenged
- Down syndrome
- Cerebral palsy
These players are very important players in AYSO. We recognize that all people need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. The VIP Program offers that acceptance and carries our philosophy of everyone plays® to new heights - giving everyone a chance to play.
Kids with special needs are estimated to make up approximately 10% of the school-aged population and approximately 20% of the United States population is identified as having some type of disability. Special schools and programs can be isolating, so the VIP Program has been structured to integrate our players into the rest of AYSO by providing a soccer season, and in some cases, using "buddies" - able bodied helpers - to assist players who need assistance, both on and off the field. Our goals for every participating player are:
- Have fun playing soccer
- Understand the fundamentals of the game
- Learn teamwork and fair play
- Increase positive self-esteem
- Become more physically fit
- Meet and be comfortable with new people
VIP helps more than just the players. Buddies and other volunteers increase their appreciation and understanding of individuals with special needs. They find their lives greatly enriched by their involvement with their new VIP friends. For parents thinking they would never see their children playing a sport or making new friends, VIP gives them joy and hope. They are able to relax and enjoy watching their children having fun like other kids, perhaps for the first time.
Teams can have as few as three players and may be co-ed. VIP teams can be put together with players who register based on mobility or ability. Older and younger players can also be separated onto different teams when numbers allow.
All players will be placed in a position of getting some exercise, learn a skill, be a team player, gain some self-confidence and self-esteem.
Fun, Fair, Safe for all is a basic AYSO tenet. Will strive to see these attributes held for all who decide to participate.
Since AYSO is a volunteer based program, will be seeking coaches, referees, and help on the field just like regular teams. Classes are available for those who wish to learn more. We will be seeking individuals and clubs for buddies. Click on my name to send me an e-mail to let me know how you can help.