Kick Or Treat VIP Tournament
One hot sunny day in October a wonderful thing happened in San Diego, CA.
The First Annual VIP Kick or Treat Soccer Classic was held at Kennedy Park in El Cajon.
On 30 October 2011, the day before Halloween, 16 VIP teams from around San Diego County came together to play soccer tournament style games. The teams consisted of younger and older youth groups. Each team played two games. The teams created paper banners to run through at the start of the games. Between games lunch consisting of hotdogs, sodas, potato chips and water, all donated by sponsors, was provided for everyone. The bounce house was a huge hit and there were also carnival games, a magic show, balloon creations and face painting. Fun times were had by all. Many of the players, coaches and referees were dressed in their finest Halloween costumes. Each player received a trophy, medal and a t-shirt. And each team received an orange soccer ball. There were pumpkin colored balls everywhere. Additionally, each referee received a commemorative coin. Please take a look at the pictures.
It was a sight to see the Referees out on the field attempting to keep the game going. You couldn’t tell which player belongs to what team. That is what’s great about VIP teams; Everyone Plays no matter whose team you are on. The local TV station, KUSI, came out and conducted an interview with Rick Russell of the AYSO National board and talked with a few of the kids. A wheel chair player, Tiffani Schlender was interviewed along with her VIP Buddy Lee Halley. Tiffani was overwhelmed with joy just thinking that she was going to be on TV.
So many of the VIP players have challenges everyday of their lives. This program allows children with special mental or physical conditions to play soccer in a safe and friendly youth program. All the children and their families welcome AYSO with open arms. There is much joy in teaching them the game of soccer. Watching them grasp the concept of the game is so rewarding. The biggest joy I had, as most of you VIP coaches, is when you teach them to dribble, pass the ball and score goals and then use these skills in the game. It can’t always be put into words the joy these children and parents experience. The look on each of their faces tells the whole story. It’s priceless.
One young man that stands out is a VIP Buddy for a wheel chair bound player in Spring Valley Region 258. His name is Lee Halley and he is a senior at Helix Charter High School. He has played soccer and also refereed with AYSO. He was a little reluctant at first since it was his first involvement with VIP. However, he has become a great asset to the team. Not only does he help with pushing the wheel chair player around the field, he also assists the coach and enjoys teaching the children the skills they need to play soccer. It’s admirable to see this kind of conviction and loyalty to the team from a young man. His mother Lori could not be prouder, she told me that she has not seen him smile so much.
Many, if not all the parents, coaches, referees and spectators say watching the VIP teams play truly brings back the fun of recreational soccer. This is how soccer was meant to be played. It’s great to see the parents from both teams cheer for each and every child.
We could not have had this special day if it had not been for the vision of Randy McNutt and Mike Shirley and the many volunteers who helped make this day a huge success.
AYSO Areas and Regions that participated:
Areas: 11-R, 11-S and 11-V
Regions: Bonita, Chula Vista, El Cajon, La Mesa, Spring Valley and Tierrasanta
Sponsors that participated:
Sport Pins, Soccer One and Pepsi provided awards, medals, trophies and drinks.
Once again, we want to say thank you to all the volunteers for making this day a wonderful experience for our VIP teams as we look forward to next year, and future games.
Written by Jean Macias
Region 258, VIP Coordinator/Coach