Long Island Junior Soccer League Special Children hold 2015 Games and Barbeque event
(ENYYSA / Randy Vogt) – American Pharoah was not the only sports star on the first weekend in June as hundreds of Special Children from the TOPSoccer Program of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) held their 2015 Games and Barbeque on Sunday, June 7 at the Peter Collins Soccer Park in Plainview. And unlike what was the 37-year drought for horse racing’s Triple Crown, the TOPSoccer Games and Barbeque is an annual event in June coordinated by LIJSL volunteers.
The big day was originally scheduled for Saturday, June 6 but it rained that morning so the rain date the next day was utilized. Refs from the Long Island Soccer Referee Association (LISRA) once again donated their services to TOPSoccer.
“Considering that we had to cancel yesterday because of the rain, I was surprised how many people rearranged their schedules to show up today. And the weather really cooperated today,” commented LIJSL TOPSoccer Chairperson Ann Marie Toth.
Special Children playing soccer in an organized league actually started in the LIJSL and its parent organization, the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), back in 1978 when the Huntington Boys Club (HBC) and Massapequa Soccer Club separately started programs in an era when Special Children playing sports was not as accepted as it is today. Using the slogan of “Come Play With Me,” 28 LIJSL clubs now have TOPSoccer Programs from Suffolk to Queens.
TOPSoccer stands for The Outreach Program for Soccer, a very special program run by the LIJSL that provides a safe and fun environment for children with challenges, from severe auditory or visual impairment, and orthopedic handicaps, to behavior deviations and children with Down Syndrome. The goal is to provide soccer skill development and free play for kids who are unable to compete in a mainstream soccer program.