By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
While the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association’s (ENYYSA) best soccer teams compete in the State Open Cup finals on the first Saturday in June at Stringham Park in LaGrange, the TOPSoccer Special Children’s Program of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) will have their annual games and picnic in Plainview. The fun will be on Saturday, June 2, from 9 am to noon at the Peter Collins Soccer Park. The rain date is Sunday, June 3 at the same time.
The TOPSoccer Special Children’s Program is for those children, teenagers and young adults with mental and/or physical handicap conditions. This program was initiated to accommodate those who are not able to participate in a regular or mainstream soccer activity. It provides an opportunity for that person who deviates from the average or normal child in mental, physical or social characteristics to such an extent that he or she requires modified educational practices and services in order to develop to his/her maximum capability. As such, any child with a severe auditory or visual impairment, orthopedic handicap, behavior deviations or mental retardation would benefit from a special sports program because he or she requires a special learning environment that is directed towards identifying and remediating their physical as well as cognitive deficits. This could include cerebral dysfunctions, impulse disorders, mental retardation, Down's Syndrome, physical handicaps, learning disabilities, epilepsy, etc.
The LIJSL became the first formal soccer league to start a Special Children’s program when the Huntington Boys Club and Massapequa Soccer Club formed teams in 1978. At a time when Special Children playing sports was an innovative idea and not nearly as accepted or understood as it is today.
34 years later, those two clubs still have special teams. Using the slogan of “Come Play With Me,” the LIJSL Special Children’s Program continues to grow. For information about registering your child, please contact LIJSL Special Children’s Program Chairperson Ann Marie Toth at 516-694-3567.