KNOXVILLE (WATE) – From wins to losses, weekday practices to weekend games, team sports are often one of the most defining moments for children. A new soccer program is allowing children with disabilities to enjoy the rite of passage.
The Knoxville American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) has launched a VIP (Very important player) program that includes players who are blind or visually impaired, have limited mobility, autism, Down Syndrome or cerebral palsy. They’re holding a registration event on Friday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Northwest Middle School or they sign up online at ayso124.com
The organization said they believe every child should have the opportunity to play soccer, regardless of physical or mental disabilities that may limit them from playing on a mainstream team. They said their hope is that the athletes will gain confidence, learn teamwork, the rules of the game and enjoy physical exercise.
Players are paired up with “buddies” to help them on the field. Teams are organized by ability, size and/or gender. Fields and the game times are flexible to accommodate the players and games include jerseys, banners and standard soccer gear.
For more information contact the AYSO Region 124 VIP Soccer Program at (865) 281-0015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.