Dan Hastings, board member and coach for United Soccer of Auburn, is in the process of starting a new regional soccer program for young athletes with disabilities.
"I have been a coach and board member for eight years," Hastings said, "We are currently in the early stages of developing a new soccer initiative within our community."
TOPSoccer – The Outreach Program for Soccer is a community-based training and placement program designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to any boy or girl with a mental or physical disability. This could include Down Syndrome, ADHD, any form of autism, Asperger’s and cerebral palsy.
Each program is developed and structured to the specific needs of the participants and modifications are made to the game and training environment to allow full participation and enjoyment to each athlete.
Each coach or "buddy" would be assigned a player for the eight week program, scheduled to start in mid-April.
Hastings anticipates the program will held on Sundays for one hour in Auburn. Program times and fields have not yet been determined.
"We are committed to providing the necessary resources to make TOPSoccer successful in every way," he said.
There are currently 28 successful TOPSoccer programs running throughout other parts of Massachusetts, with only two in this immediate area, Holden and Millbury.
The program is open to any eligible player, from any surrounding community, from first grade up through high school.
"We are looking to join them in developing this program within our area. However, at this stage of developing this program, we need your help. We are looking for your input and information on the number of athletes in our community that could utilize this program, as well as the various disabilities that we would be working with in order to create a successful program," Hastings said.
After the initial information has been gathered, an open house meeting for all parents of athletes who are interested in participating in the program will be held to answer questions and inform the next stages of implementation.
Interested in becoming a volunteer or participant? Contact Dan Hastings at 508- 721-9834, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.mayouthsoccer.org/topsoccer.aspx