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 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.
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.
Coaches and Buddies are needed. Anyone age 12 and up can be a VIP buddy.What is a VIP Buddy?
Davis AYSO provides Community Service credits for its volunteers.
While all special needs children possible should be placed on existing regional teams, VIP teams are created for the children whose challenges would prevent them from experiencing success in the regular program. These VIP players are integrated into the region through the assistance and encouragement of "buddies." Their needs are monitored closely by buddies, coaches, and parents who are present at every game and by the VIP Director who oversees the program, thereby ensuring safety and fun for all.
Contact JP Marie at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions regarding the VIP program.