They have been playing soccer for over 20 years, but you have probably never heard of them. Their names aren’t Beckham or Hamm or Donovan. They are kids with special needs who just want to play soccer.
This program is called V.I.P and it was founded by AYSO, American Youth Soccer Organization. It has been around for 20 years, but was started in my city this year.
I’m a buddy. Buddies come to games and practices and partner up with the kids and help them play. The team I’m with is called the Red Vipers. One of my good friends comes out with her brother, who has a speech impairment. They kids have grown on me even if I have no siblings on the team.
One little girl has autism and she’s an amazing little player. Another is blind; she can’t see anything yet she is still out there playing soccer.
This experience has been absolutely amazing. Not just for me but for the kids as well. I have gotten so much out of this experience. I love to help and this is the best way. It lets me do two of my favorite things: playing soccer, helping, and teaching.