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American Youth Soccer Organization Providing world class youth soccer programs that enrich children's lives.

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Apr, 2018

VIP Soccer Program

The American Youth Soccer Organization was founded in 1964 with a handful of guiding principles to
include Everyone Plays. As the years went on, the organization created a VIP (Very Important Player)
program to involve players with developmental disabilities. The program uses “buddies” to help
uniformed players to learn about and enjoy the total soccer experience.

AYSO’s VIP program in Region 368, which includes families from throughout the El Paso area, registers
players age 4 and older with mental and/or physical disabilities. Families pay a nominal fee that provides
players with full uniforms (jersey, shorts and socks), supplemental insurance and up to 16 weeks of
soccer split during fall and spring seasons that mirror an academic year.

AYSO’s VIP program has registered players with autism, cerebral palsy, hearing impairments, and Down
syndrome. Players meet Saturday mornings to warmup, do drills and participate in a scrimmage under
the guidance of a certified VIP coach. They play on a U6 field at Sue Young Park in Northeast El Paso next
to mainstream teams.

The VIPers, the team’s name, is assisted by a host of “buddies” that have included professionals from
area early childhood intervention programs, university students who specialize in kinesiology,
occupational and physical therapies, and members from an El Paso Lions Club service organization. The
role of the buddy is to assist and encourage the player; not to play for them.

The program allows the players to get some fresh air, participate in a physical activity, and develop a
knowledge of soccer. It also provides a brief respite for their caregivers. It allows families and friends an
opportunity to relax and cheer for their favorite players just like their mainstream counterparts.

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AYSO 368

PO Box 641536 
El Paso, Texas 79904

Email Us: [email protected]
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