The COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives in so many ways, including that youth soccer’s spring season has been cancelled.

To lift the spirits of its players who are missing soccer, the TOPSoccer Program of the West Hempstead Chiefs Soccer Club organized a drive-by of its players’ homes last Saturday.

Scores of volunteers met in the parking lot at St. Thomas the Apostle Church at 3 p.m. and then proceeded to drive-by the 16 players’ homes in West Hempstead, Franklin Square and Malverne.

All the players received a water bottle donated by the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association that was filled with candy and a message from their coaches that they are missed. They also received a soccer ball that they can use to practice in their backyard.

“It was great to see so many smiles on our players and volunteers! It was a fun time for all,” West Hempstead Chiefs TOPSoccer director Lauren Lee said. “Thank you to Eastern New York Youth Soccer for the water bottles!”

Lee was the 2018 West Hempstead Herald person of the year and her teenage daughter Jessica was recognized as the 2019 TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year. Jessica was honored as the Eastern New York TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year at its Holiday Party in December. She also was named the Regional TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year and celebrated as the National TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year at the United Soccer Coaches convention in Baltimore in January.

Jessica was to receive the Marg McGory Award at the Long Island Junior Soccer League convention annual awards dinner on March 13 and travel with her mother to Kansas City in late March to attend the US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer Symposium but both events were cancelled because of the pandemic.

TOPSoccer stands for The Outreach Program for Soccer and it provides a safe and fun environment plus an opportunity for the child who deviates from the average kid in mental, physical or social characteristics and requires modified educational practices and services to develop to his or her potential.