COURTESY OF AYSO VIP SOCCER
Responding to a need for more recreational programs for members of the special needs community, Oak Park, Region 697, of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) has an adapted soccer program for players with disabilities called the VIP (Very Important Player) Program.
Players four years and older who have a disability that would make it difficult for them to play successfully on a mainstream team will have an opportunity to play soccer at their own level. There is no upper age limit. Teams will be formed based on size, ability levels and age.
The VIP teams are not limited to ambulatory players. Players using wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive devices are welcome to register. AYSO has always operated with the philosophy "Everyone Plays®," meaning every player must play at least half of every game. The VIP program expands that philosophy to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to play soccer.
Players will have buddies who will support them on the field and help them access the game. Local teens and adults are invited to volunteer. There will be roles to fill both on and off the field and training will be provided. Volunteers can get more information at http://www.opayso.org
Practices and games will be held back-to-back, each session will include learning soccer skills followed by a soccer game.
Registration for the Spring session is open and instructions are at www.opayso.org.
Cost for the program is $125 ($110 returning players) including uniforms and playerships may be available for families in need. Players from neighboring towns that do not have a VIP program are welcome to join. An information meeting for parents will be held on Saturday February 1st from 2-3:30 in the Small Meeting Room on the 2nd floor of the main Oak Park library. The session will include an overview of the program and information on what to expect.
For more information, contact VIP program coordinator Sinead Aylward at firstname.lastname@example.org.