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Very Important Players (VIP)
Program for Players with Special Needs

Focus on ability: including children with special needs in AYSO soccer
VIP Brochure
VIP en Español

VIP Soccer began in 1991 for Very Important Players: Children with physical or mental challenges, or a combination of both. AYSO's philosophy of "Everyone Plays" was thus extended to be inclusive of all children who had the desire to play soccer.

VIP VISION STATEMENT: What would we like to see?
The vision of the AYSO VIP Program is to create VIP teams in every AYSO region wherever possible, and to maximize opportunities for VIP player participation where VIP teams are not available.

VIP MISSION STATEMENT: What are we all about?
The mission of the AYSO VIP Program is to provide a quality soccer experience for children whose physical or mental challenges make it difficult for them to successfully participate on regular AYSO teams.

VIP players sign up at the same registrations, play on the same fields, wear the same uniforms, and enjoy all the other benefits afforded every AYSO player. While all special needs children if possible should be placed on existing regional teams, VIP teams are created for the children whose challenges would prevent them from experiencing success in the regular program. Kids with special needs are estimated to make up approximately 10% of the school-age population. Special schools and classrooms can isolate these children so the VIP Program has been structured to integrate our special kids into the region through the assistance and encouragement of "buddies" from non-VIP teams, to help these players both on and off the field. Teams can have as few as five players, may be co-ed, and as with all AYSO teams, VIP teams are balanced with players rated by size and physical ability. Older and younger players form their own divisions, too, when numbers allow. Their needs are monitored closely by coaches, referees, parents (present at every practice and game) and the VIP Director who oversees the program, thereby ensuring safety and fun for all.

Our goals for every participating player are:
- have fun playing soccer
- understand the fundamentals of the game
- learn teamwork and fair play
- increase positive self-esteem
- become more physically fit
- meet and be comfortable with new people

Ensuring the success of players and volunteers in VIP is a priority, so each VIP program operates within the existing structure of an AYSO Region to ensure that volunteers and players have the full support of the Region and its resources.

If you would like to get involved as a parent, coach, buddy or learn more about this program read "Focus on ability: Including Children with Special Needs in AYSO Soccer" by Barry Lavay, Ph.D.

If you would like to enroll your child in the VIP program, check with one of the following regions:
1. 3/A/266 Marine Park, Brooklyn, NY: Cathy Braunstein, tel. 718-415-3791
2. 3/A/473 Brooklyn, NY: Larry Swertloff, tel. 917-847-8719
3. 3/A/611 Manhattan West, NY: Oscar Mack
4. 3/A/1089 Leonia, NJ: Lisa Cirillo, tel. 201-585-8165
5. 3/B/79 Monroe, CT: Scott Weiss, 203-459-2450
6. 3/B/715 East Providence, RI: Cathy Conley, tel. 401-433-5149
7. 3/E/664 Utica, NY: Bruce Broat, tel. 315-724-3757
8. 3/E/782 Westmoreland, NY: James Enos, tel. 315-853-8451
9. 3/T/139 Chappaqua, NY (ages 5+) Josh Lurie, tel. 917-287-1028
10. 3/T/201 Ossining, NY: program on hold? Richard Kavy, tel. 914-762-5286
11. 3/T/204 Armonk, NY: Douglas Cramer, tel. 914-273-9075
12. 3/T/220 Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow, NY (co-ed, age 4 and up): John Maltby, tel. 914-631-0105
13. 3/T/324 Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY co-ed, at least 5 and completed 1 year of school): Gwen & Steve Jagde, tel. 914-674-4480
14. 3/T/221 Mt. Pleasant, NY: Sean Healy, tel. 914-769-0353
15. 3/T/455 Croton, NY (co-ed, age 4-19): Francesca Battaglia.
16. 3/T/790 Harrington Park, NJ: Laurie Mutchler, tel. 201-768-8332
17. 3/T/1073 Monroe Woodbury, NY (co-ed, all ages): Tom Lapollo, tel. 845-782-1575 ext. 4