VIP (Very Important Players) Program
VIP Administrator: Emma Schaffner firstname.lastname@example.org
About the 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 those who are: Blind or visually impaired, amputees or conditions that impair mobility, mentally or emotionally challenged, autistic, downs syndrome, cerebral palsy.
These kids are Very Important Players (VIP) in AYSO. We recognize that all children 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-age population. Special schools and classrooms can isolate these children so the VIP Program has been structured to integrate our special kids into the rest of AYSO by using “buddies” from non-VIP teams to help these players 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 five players, may be co-ed, and as with all AYSO teams, VIP teams are balanced with players rated by size and physical ability. Older and younger players form their own divisions, too, when numbers allow.