As the TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) coordinator for the , Wendy Mumme is helping children with disabilities learn a very important lesson they can use both on and off the soccer field.
“We have taught them through the game of soccer that it is not about what you can't do, but about what you can do,” Mumme said.
TOPSoccer is a program for young athletes with mental or physical disabilities. The program focuses on player participation and development. 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.
"It gives every child a chance to play soccer and to get out and exercise," Mumme explained.
According to Mumme, the program is important in that it not only gives children with disabilities a chance to play soccer, but it also gives them the opportunity to run, have fun, make new friends, and just be kids.
"One of the parents told me that before they joined TOPSoccer, all her child wanted to do was play video games. Now he asks everyday if it is soccer a day,” Mumme said.
The TOP Soccer program is run completely by volunteers. Mumme credits Judi Wells, Maile Steimer and Tim Steimer with helping her make the program a rewarding experience for the athletes.
But for Mumme, the most rewarding part of volunteering for TOPSoccer is the players themselves.
“I love getting to hear laughter and see success at each soccer game,” Mumme said.
Mumme, a chemistry teacher for the Gwinnett County High school homebound program, said though she does not teach students with disabilities, her school does, and she has a special place in her heart for helping these children. She had also coached soccer in the past and knows the game well. When Mumme had the opportunity to experience TOPSoccer in another community, she saw the chance to combine her passions and was called to action.
“It's the best way to put them all together,” Mumme said. “A friend of mine asked my daughter to come out to volunteer at another TOPSoccer program and we loved it. Now, my husband and two daughters and I volunteer for the program at Dacula Soccer Club.”
The Dacula TOPSoccer program is part of the US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer program. Mumme played an important role in bringing this program to Dacula. She is also responsible for fundraising and keeping this great program in motion for our community.
“It can often be exhausting work, but is it very rewarding," she said.
Registration for Dacula Soccer Club TOPSoccer will start at the beginning of the 2012 year. For more information, please visit the Dacula Soccer Club website.
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