Eagle FC Features TOPS Program

Eagle FC Features TOPS Program
Posted on 09/28/2023
Eagle FC Features TOPS ProgramTOPS (The Outreach Program for Soccer), a local special needs volunteer program, is in season and open for registration. Players and volunteers meet Sundays at Creekview North to play soccer with other CV families who have children with special needs.

“Families like TOPS for many reasons. Their child learns to listen to directions, learn new skills, meet friends, bond with a buddy, and get exercise," Director Toni Tokarz said. "Players often build their self confidence. Parents also meet other parents who have children with special needs and are able to network." 

With Tokarz, Scott Cantor directs the session too, along with Mrs.Janelle Johnson, a special education teacher at CV. The program offers multiple benefits to not just players, but their families as well.

“This is a nationwide program under US soccer,” Cantor said.

The age range of the players in TOPS ranges from 5 to 21 years old. No matter the age, TOPS gives players the opportunity to learn soccer skills and get their energy out at the end of the week. The program also encourages independence and promotes socialization.

Practices are every Sunday from 3-4 at Creekview. The season began in late August and will end October 30. It will then pick back up again in the Spring from April through May. However, families are welcome to register their kid at any time. To register, visit Eagle-fc.com.
TOPS occupies 4 fields. Players are assigned to any of the four based on their skill level and size.

“We do drills and games focused on dribbling, passing, shooting, and change of direction. Players also participate in scrimmage play in the last 30 minutes of each session," Tokarz said.

Each practice brings something new to players and volunteers to learn.

The volunteers in this program are high scool students. Each player has one buddy who guides, encourages, and build bonds with the players throughout each session.

Buddies come early to set up fields and greet players as they come to the fields. They start warming up with a soccer ball, help to model skills and guide players through directions of skills/games and cheer and encourage during scrimmage. They also talk with players parents during water breaks. To become a buddy, register online at Eagle-fc.com.

To finish every season, the players are celebrated at an awards ceremony where they receive trophies and a speech from their buddy in front of all of the players, families, directors, and other volunteers.

“This program has been extremely rewarding for me. I have worked with the program since 2019. I love watching, not only the players grow and excel, but also enjoy seeing the high school buddies interact and form connections with their players”, Tokarz said.
 
All families and volunteers are welcome to join TOPS. For further information, visit Eagle-fc.com, or contact Toni Tokarz at [email protected] for questions.



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