The 2019 VIP spring soccer season at AYSO Region 345 at Okeeheelee Park will run from Saturday, Feb. 9 through Saturday, March 16.
There are youth soccer programs available all across South Florida. Unfortunately, not all children are able to participate on mainstream teams. However, at AYSO Region 345’s VIP program, all children can experience and succeed at the most popular sport in the world.
The AYSO VIP program is an adapted soccer program for children with special needs who cannot successfully participate on mainstream teams.
The club calls the program VIP, which stands for “very important player.” VIP soccer allows children with a wide array of disabilities to be successful at the sport. VIP players can include those with visual impairment, auditory impairment, physical impairment, emotional impairment, intellectual impairment, Autism, Down syndrome or cerebral palsy.
VIP Buddies assist the players on the field and encourage them to do the best they can. It is a rewarding program for both the players and the buddies. The buddies are paired with players and help the players with everything from their warm-ups to their skill-specific tasks and scrimmages. Buddies play a vital role in the success of the program.
Buddies assist players so that the parents can sit in the stands and cheer on their favorite soccer stars, something the players love.
As helpful as the buddies are to the players, they also gain from the experience. Fourteen-year-old Jacob Munley is embarking on his fifth season as a buddy. “It is fun to teach others something I like,” he said, adding that despite being challenging at times, it is also very gratifying to help the players, and it makes him feel proud.
Sessions will be on Saturdays from 9:15 to 10:30 a.m. A registration fee of $40 per player includes a team jersey, shorts, socks and a trophy at the end of the season. Registration can be done by cash or check on Feb. 9 from 8 to 9 a.m. in the administration building at the fields before the soccer session begins.
The program can always use more buddies. It is a great way to have a great time and, if needed, to also achieve volunteer community service hours. It is not required for buddies to attend every week of the season. Buddies should be ages 12 years or older. First-time buddies will need to attend a training session in the administration building on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 8:30 a.m. immediately prior to the first VIP session.
For more information about becoming a VIP player or buddy, contact VIP Administrator Rachel Forberger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (561) 762-9069.