Winter Festival By: John Janasik, Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association TOPSoccer
This year our Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association TOPSoccer Program is off to a great start! We held The ninth annual TOPSoccer Winter Festival on February 23, 2008 at the Waukesha Memorial Catholic Memorial High School. With the help of many volunteers and TOPSoccer coaches we had a wonderful TOPSoccer Winter Festival for the TOPSoccer players. All the TOPSoccer players from our nine TOPSoccer Programs in Wisconsin were invited to an afternoon of playing soccer games and soccer activities.
This year the Marquette University Girls Soccer Team again provided support as buddies to our players. They made time in their busy schedules to the delight of the children. TOPSoccer is The Outreach Program for children with disabilities offered by the Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association. We began offering TOPSoccer in Wisconsin in 1991 and it has now grown to nine programs and over two hundred TOPSoccer players . Players make friends, build self-esteem, and have an opportunity to wear a soccer uniform, get exercise and score a goal. We have nine TOPSoccer programs in Wisconsin offering TOPSoccer so children do not have to travel far to join a TOPSoccer team. TOPSoccer is played all year long with indoor and outdoor soccer programs. Our players learn the basics of soccer and then go on to play with their friends and also join Special Olympics to play soccer. One of the highlights of the year is our TOPSoccer Winter Festival.
We also offer in the Fall a opportunity for the TOPSoccer players to attend a Marquette University Girls Soccer Game and play on the field at half time. TOPSoccer players have a lot of fun meeting players from the other TOPSoccer programs throughout Wisconsin and playing soccer with them. We have TOPSoccer program coaches as well as coaches and players from college and high school soccer programs to show the children new soccer games that bring a lot of fun to this event. Our TOPSoccer Winter Festival brings people in from all areas of soccer in Wisconsin such as boys and girls in our Olympic Development Program, adult soccer players and referees, Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association staff and administrators. For the past eight years, Ms. Nancy Dexter, a music therapist, has led a music session during our TOPSoccer Winter Festival. This activity continues to be very popular not only with the TOPSoccer children, but is equally popular with the volunteers, parents and friends who attend the event. Each year Ms. Dexter always comes up with something new to bring a lot of joy to the children with her singing participation songs such as the YMCA, Hokey Pokey and our TOPSoccer song. After our sing along session, we announced our Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association TOPSoccer volunteer award named in memory of Coach Craig Hicks. This year's TOPSoccer Volunteer of the Year award is Mr. Gary Kramer from the Sussex TOPSoccer Program. The awards presentation was followed by more soccer games for all the children and ended with refreshments for the players, their families and the volunteers. The TOPSoccer Winter Festival is a wonderful event that brings out the best in all of us for the volunteers and players.
Our goal in TOPSoccer is to provide a fun and a safe event for every TOPSoccer player. We would like each child to have the experience of being on a TOPSoccer team and to score a goal. TOPSoccer is offered all year long in Wisconsin with winter and summer practices and games.
If you are unable to attend our TOPSoccer Winter Festival or help at a local site, we ask that you support TOPSoccer when you shop at Pick 'n Save. Please register for their "WE CARE" program and identify TOPSoccer # 835075 as one of the recipients of your contribution.
We have ten TOPSoccer programs in Wisconsin with over three hundred children with disabilities playing soccer. If you would like more information about TOPSoccer please contact Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association TOPSoccer Program Director John Janasik at Janasik@execpc.com or 414-545-0069.
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