GRANITE BAY (CBS13) – Kids with special needs got a chance to show off their soccer skills in a league of their own.

“When the typical sport was too much for him, I was lucky enough to find this league,” said Susan Samuel.

She has a 14-year-old son with autism participating in Top Soccer in Granite Bay.

“You know if your child has a meltdown nobody looks twice out here,” Samuel said. “It’s just like whatever, they keep playing.”

For many parents, finding this program has been life changing.

“He was always going to his brother’s soccer games and having to sit on the sidelines. He was like ‘I want to play.’ Now he has his own league and his own friends,” said Samuel.

From as early as 4 years old to teenagers, kids with special needs now have something to call their own.

“What we’re trying to do is help kids that are frustrated with the traditional soccer environment,” said Dave Hunt, Top Soccer.

And it’s working, from autism to Down syndrome, and even kids in walkers. They all get a chance to work with a buddy, someone from one of the local schools volunteering to be a part of this.

“It’s really nice to give them motivation to keep them going, so maybe they can play a sport one day,” said one volunteer.

The program can actually accommodate 50 to 60 more kids, and organizers are hoping it will grow.

“We’re hoping to get teams and eventually get together with Elk Grove, Placerville and do tournaments with them,” said Samuel.

No matter what the disability every game ends in success.

“Every kid can kick a soccer ball. Every kid can have an experience of putting a ball into a net; and even if they couldn’t, we would find a way to make that work too,” said Hunt.

The kids learn more than just about soccer. It teaches them social skills, being part of a team, and it also helps parents network.

Top Soccer is part of the Placer County Youth Soccer League.


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