VIP Soccer

What is “VIP” Soccer?

The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) Very Important Player (VIP) program provides a quality soccer experience for children and adults whose physical or mental disabilities prevent them from successful participation on mainstream teams.

VIP teams may include individuals with Down syndrome or mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, emotional disturbances, visual impairments, or other conditions that limit mobility, strength, and/or comprehension.

The VIP program

EVERYONE PLAYS!

All individuals with disabilities are welcome, starting at age four. Although the typical AYSO program ends at age 18, for VIP players playing on VIP teams there are no upper age limits.

The focus is on participation and fun! VIP coaches are flexible and positive, finding a way for all players to participate as fully as they are able.

If you thought your son or daughter could not play soccer, think again! With VIP soccer, dreams become realities.

EVERYONE BENEFITS!

Through participation in VIP soccer, individuals with disabilities experience the thrill of belonging to a team, wearing uniforms, and making new friends. They learn new skills and develop physical fitness while enjoying the game of soccer. VIP benefits all participants, not just the players! Non-disabled players assist VIP players on the field as “buddies”. They learn to understand and appreciate people with special needs. For parents who thought they would never see their children having fun playing a sport, VIP gives them joy and hope.

The VIP program carries the AYSO philosophy of “Everyone Plays” to a new height, giving everyone a chance to play. Through participation in VIP soccer, the goal for every player is to:

  • 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

Coaches and Buddies are needed. Anyone age 12 and up can be a VIP buddy

What is a VIP Buddy:

A buddy is a helper on the field and can walk/run with a player who is mobility-challenged.

  • A buddy can encourage a player and “feed” the ball to him/her
  • A buddy must accompany a player in a wheelchair – can propel the player safely and watch for other player
  • A buddy can help to monitor players for signs of fatigue, stress, overheating or conditions that compromise their safety
  • A buddy can make friends with the players and gain their confidence
  • A buddy can help to make players independent – but stay on to be a supporter and a friend!

        AYSO provides Community Service credits for its volunteers.

VIP Vision Statement: What would we like to see?

The vision of the AYSO VIP Program is to create VIP teams in every AYSO region wherever possible, and to maximize opportunities for VIP player participation where VIP teams are not available.

Fore more information about the VIP program or to become a VIP buddy, email VIP@ayso1398.org.