How CSP’s TOP Soccer Program Manages to Build Relationships through Brief Seasons
Chappapeela Sports Park introduced their TOP Soccer Program on Sunday, August 26 and concluded it on Sunday, October 14. Parents, players and volunteers can look forward to another season of athletic and personal goals when the season begins again in April 2019.
Photo Credit: Larshell Green/ CSP Content Editor
When Keegan Warnock scored a goal and the crowd erupted, his response triggered Deputy Director of Chappapeela Sports Park Amber Grose to reflect on the importance of her role in player’s lives.
“He was so proud and pumped that he stood with his hands in the air yelling, “YEA!” for a good minute. I cannot explain the atmosphere as the crowd kept cheering and clapping for him. I had to hold back my tears. What a moment!”
For Grose, accomplishments like Warnock’s reveal the impact that the program has the ability to make on children who are in need of expertise in soccer through calculated, hands on coaching.
Keegan Warnock’s mom, Stephanie Elfer, appreciates Grose’s patience and the warm environment that all participants of the program can engage in.
“It gives the kids an opportunity to see other kids and not be judged or looked at differently because they are the same,” said Elfer. “They hang with children like them and there is no judgement.”
TOPSoccer officially began at Chappapeela Sports Park on Sunday, August 26 and concluded Sunday, October 14. The main goals of the program are introducing children with disabilities to athletic opportunities by providing facilities and mentors.
Each child is assigned a buddy for each session along with coaches that assist in drills and provide encouragement. Participants are given the opportunity to independently discover and explore their social and physical skills in a welcoming peer group.
Although TOP Soccer programs are intended for children in close proximity with disabilities, Tyler Phelps’s mother, Jill, previously traveled to Mandeville from Hammond to ensure that her son had an athletic outlet:
“I think it’s important to have TOP Soccer Programs in every community, so they can participate in games, be on a team, be active and have something to work look forward to.”
Because Jill Phelps has seen both Mandeville and Hammond’s TOP Soccer Programs in action, she appreciates CSP’s decision to have sessions indoors to avoid weather cancellations. In the future, Grose hopes to incorporate both indoor and outdoor sessions throughout the season.
CSP believes that a large hurdle is getting the families to trust the experience of TOP Soccer for their children, building strong ties in the community with volunteers and families will promote progression.
Grose said, “I hope to keep this program growing, while gaining the trust of our community in order to expand our impact on children with special needs through sporting experiences. Each of these children are phenomenal and impact myself and their buddies every single season. Some examples of success are small to others but add so much in these young athlete’s lives.”
CSP will be running a Spring league that is set to begin in April. Registrations for this free and awesome program will begin in December and will be accessible for players and volunteers.