PRESENTED BY T O P S O C C E R S P O T L I G H T:
Upper Dublin Soccer Club
TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with special needs. Each issue of Touchline, we’ll feature conversations with TOPSoccer Buddies and players who epitomize the spirit of the program. This issue, Jake Woodruff and Andrew McDermott, both 18, tell us about their experience with the TOPSoccer Program of Upper Dublin Soccer Club. Also, Brian Smithman, at 22, is our featured player.
hat inspired you to become a Buddy? Jake Woodruff: A few of my friends were doing it before I started and said how great of a program it was so I decided I’d be a buddy to help make other kids smile while playing the sport myself and the players love. What is one highlight you’ve had as a buddy? JW: A positive moment I’ve had was working through most of the season with a player who is pretty nonverbal and watching him get more comfortable and improve his communication skills through the weeks was a rewarding feeling.
What is a challenge you may face as a Buddy and how would you overcome it? Andrew McDermott: Some of the biggest challenges we face as Buddies are working through situations where the player is having a tough day. Sometimes players are just tired or preoccupied and the challenge we face is to keep things fun and upbeat and try to keep them as focused on the task at hand as possible. The most important thing to remember is always be patient and understanding. Even when a player is a little uncooperative, it’s never a big issue because we’re almost always able to work things out and get back to playing soccer.
Upper Dublin Soccer Club has been running a TOPSoccer Program since 1999.
What advice would you give to other Buddies? AM: The best advice I could give to other Buddies is to keep on volunteering and really enjoy your time with the program. Never go through the motions, make sure you really give it your full attention and work hard towards making today special for the player(s) you’re working with. Try to make it to every session you can because the more often you attend, the better rapport you’ll develop with the players. This helps make sessions more enjoyable and effective for everyone involved. Always remember to be patient and positive. Smile and encourage the players from start to finish because just as their smiles are contagious, yours can be too.
P L AY E R P R O F I L E BRIAN SMITHMAN Experience in Soccer: Brian, 22, has been playing with Upper Dublin since the program’s inception in 1999. He is the last of the club’s original players still involved on a regular basis. What is your favorite thing about soccer? Scoring goals and hanging out with the buddies. What is your favorite game/activity at HIGH 5 Soccer? Playing defense. Some of the young players Brian Smithman has inspired with his dedication to Upper Dublin Soccer Club TOPSoccer
Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer
How did you find out about UDSC TOPSoccer? From another Upper Dublin family who heard that a couple of coaches wanted to get a soccer team together for children who might not be comfortable playing on a regular intramural team.
Published on Jan 19, 2017
Touchline is the quarterly magazine of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. It is Pennsylvania's leading youth soccer publication, going to mo...