TOPSoccer COACH OF THE YEAR:
JOSLYNN BIGELOW As you may or may not know, I started the TOPSoccer program in 2007 with EastSide United FC. Like any program just starting out it was challenging and scary. Joslynn Bigelow has been with me since I formed the program. She came to me as a confident middle-school student who had experience dealing with special needs kids because a family member has intellectual and behavioral challenges. All through high school and college, Joslynn juggled soccer, school and volunteering for TOPSoccer. In 2016, Joslynn took over the reigns as Coach. She was ready and had the enthusiasm of a toddler. Today, Joslynn is in her last year of college and graduating in the Spring with a degree in secondary education. Also, a few months back, she took a job as a Behavioral Therapist, because of a referral and encouragement from a TOPS parent. Do you think she’s on track to teach Special Education? There is no doubt in my mind that TOPSoccer has molded Joslynn’s life into what it is today. And, she is a huge win for my program. When she first started coaching Joslynn’s learned from me — but now I’m learning from her. Every week Joslynn brings lesson plans for both Honey Bears and Grizzly Bears. Remember, these are entirely different levels of players and completing different thought processes of coaching. We just ended our Fall session and on our last night Joslynn had our lower-functioning players, numbering over 25 (plus buddies) scrimmaging. She had the vision early on and developed her lesson plans for an all inclusive, successful scrimmage. I was so proud of our players. But honestly it was because of how Joslynn slowly and methodically introduced different “games” into each week’s lesson plans that made a successful end-of-season experience. Our Grizzly Bears attendance has exploded to 20+ players. Joslynn can keep them all engaged, on point and loving their time on the pitch. She has these players so confident about their soccer skills and themselves. Her work experience really has changed the way she handles herself on the pitch too. She’s always been a confident young lady, but now she has invaluable training to go with her persona. As the Director of the program, I had to nominate her again for Coach of the Year. She puts so much time and energy into the program and she is a shining example of how TOPSoccer can and does impact others.