Kelly Conheeney and Danielle Schulmann conduct a presentation with members of the Red Bulls Street Team at the NY Youth Soccer/TOPSoccer event (Photo by Omar Yupanqui).
Sky Blue FC midfielder Kelly Conheeney and forward Danielle Schulmann joined New Jersey Youth Soccer this past weekend in support of its TOPSoccer program.
The program is a community-based training and team placement initiative for young athletes with special needs. The event also included representatives from the New York Red Bulls Street Team.
“Working with the kids at TOPSoccer was so rewarding!” Conheeney said. “When you give children the opportunity to play, you realize how much joy they get out of it. Even if they do not always know how to express it, you can see it in their smiles and feel it through their willingness to learn.”
TOPSoccer provides a curriculum to train coaches and volunteers to provide fun and engaging soccer activities for young athletes with mental or physical challenges. The program, designed by U.S. Youth Soccer, emphasizes player-specific development, training and meaningful participation rather than competition and results.
“On behalf of NJ Youth Soccer, we want to thank everyone who made our latest TOPSoccer event such a great success,” NJ Youth Soccer Executive Director Evan Dabby said. “TOPSoccer is particularly rewarding to anyone who becomes involved with the program, and you can clearly see the positive effect that it is having on all of these young athletes. We are very proud to have TOPSoccer as an integral part of our programming here at NJ Youth Soccer.”
Hosted at Liberty Middle School in West Orange, N.J., the TOPSoccer Jamboree on Saturday was conducted in partnership with West Orange Soccer. The free event featured soccer training in addition to games and entertainment for all of the players, buddies, coaches and families in attendance. Special attractions at the Jamboree included a showcase by members of the New York Red Bulls Street Team, along with Conheeney and Schulmann participating in the training sessions.
“We had such an amazing time working with NJ Youth Soccer’s TOPSoccer program,” Schulmann said. “The happiness that all of the kids received from taking part in the Jamboree was really special. It is very gratifying to see what kind of impact you can have when you volunteer a little bit of your time for such a great cause.”
Sky Blue president and general manager Tony Novo also voiced his pleasure in supporting the program.
“Personally and professionally, I have been a strong advocate of TOPSoccer for many years, and it is great to see how much the program has grown under the direction of Evan Dabby and NJ Youth Soccer,” he said. “At Sky Blue FC, we will continue to proudly support TOPSoccer and lend our assistance in any way that we can to benefit the program.”