A new soccer program is coming to Idaho Falls. TOPSoccer provides kids and adults with disabilities the opportunity to have fun and build friendships through soccer. Bonneville Youth Soccer League IFFC is hosting the program for the first time this spring.
Coach Mary Murray says there are many similarities between TOPSoccer and a typical soccer program. However, they make accommodations for players’ needs. For example, a player who has hearing loss can play with a ball that emits ringing, or pool noodles can create bumpers for shooting a goal.
“I think a lot of times we get nervous to work with people with disabilities because we are not familiar with it but really they’re just like the rest of us,” Murray said. “They want to have fun, they want to be loved, they want to show their love, they want to be involved.”
Another unique aspect of TOPSoccer is the buddy system. Alex Minton, executive director of Bonneville Youth Soccer League IFFC, shared the importance of buddies for players.
“The buddy system- it’s a one-on-one friend for the whole seven weeks of the program,” Minton said. “They get to teach the kids the fundamentals of the game. Most importantly, obviously, have fun. But also, be that person that they can rely on and trust.”
Although the spring session is full for players, Minton and Murray plan to continue in the fall and expand the program. Those who are interested in being buddies for the players can visit https://www.byslsoccer.org/Default.aspx?tabid=1105898