DHS Varsity Players Help Children Achieve Soccer Goals
This opportunity to give back to the community was a no brainer for Head Coach Jason Guzzardo.
The Dacula High School varsity women’s soccer team recently had the opportunity to serve as leaders and role models to a very special group
of aspiring young soccer player. Good friends Coach Jason Guzzardo, head coach of the DHS women’s varsity soccer team, and Tim Steimer, volunteer coordinator of the TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) program
at Dacula Soccer Club, found a way to bring their two soccer teams together for the benefit of both teams.
“When Tim Steimer contacted myself and Coach Burrell (head coach of the DHS men’s soccer team) and said that he was looking for some teams to volunteer, I thought it was a great opportunity for the kids to give back to the local community and the local soccer club,” Guzzardo said.
TOPSoccer is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with disabilities. According to TOPSoccer organizers, the program is designed to improve the overall fitness, self-esteem and social skills of each child. Their goal is to enable young athletes with disabilities to become valued and successful members of the Dacula Soccer Club family.
Coach Guzzardo believes strongly in giving back to our community and the opportunity to help the TOPSoccer program was a great way for his team to do just that.
“In today’s society I think that giving back to the community is unfortunately sometimes overlooked,” Guzzardo said. “I think it is important to encourage giving back in schools and in our sports programs. Fortunately, Dacula is a city that is very family oriented, and we really like to support each other. When Tim Steimer asked us if we would like to help out, it was a no brainer.”
Bringing the high school soccer players and the TOPSoccer players together had great benefits for all involved in the program.
“It is obvious to see when observing that it really helps three groups,” Steimer said. “The high school kids really do get a positive experience knowing that they are doing something that is valuable, and knowing that they are doing something for someone else. One of the kids said it was just a good way to give back to the game. The second group it benefits obviously is the TOPSoccer players who just love having the high school kids around because they can do cool tricks with the ball and they are so encouraging to them. You often see them holding hands with the high school kids and giving them hugs. Finally, it is really important to the parents. They all come out and they get to sit over on the side. For many of them this is their child’s first opportunity to do what normal kids do. It is just a great experience for all.”
“The program allowed our young players the opportunity to realize how fortunate they are to be able to perform for their high school,” Guzzardo explained. “It was a great opportunity for our young people to help these children that are disabled to accomplish a goal that they aspire to as well.”
The high school girls also said that they saw huge benefits from the program.
“The response from the team as a whole was that they were excited to be put on a platform as a coach out there helping these young players individually and as a team.” Guzzardo said. “It was really exciting for them and they really did enjoy it. It was a great opportunity for our kids to work with and see kids that are not as fortunate as themselves, and be given the opportunity to help them."
Over all bringing the DHS women’s varsity soccer team and the TOPSoccer program together was a successful community event.
“The girls and the parents that were involved in the program had nothing but great things to say,” Guzzardo said proudly. “We were just ecstatic to be involved and to go out there and help. It was a great learning experience and something that they will definitely remember from this season.”
“It is great to see all of the kids out there working together, laughing and having fun,” Steimer said. “In the end we get all of the kids together and we put our hands in and do a team cheer just like you would following a regular game. It is just one of those experiences that it is positive for everybody.”
Dacula Patch Team of the Week: Dacula High School Varsity Women’s Soccer
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