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.
All individuals with disabilities are welcome, starting at age five. 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.
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.
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