Home What is TOPSoccer?

What is TOPSoccer?


volunteers page


The History of TOPSoccer

US Youth Soccer, the nation’s largest youth sports organization, started TOPSoccer in 1991 to provide young players with disabilities an environment filled with meaningful learning, developmental and physical participation opportunities through the game of soccer. Even with a strong history of providing disabled children the opportunity to participate in sporting events, the Special Olympic Organization felt that US Soccer could promote TOPSoccer in a more adequate fashion

What is TOPSoccer?

TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a community-based soccer program designed to meet the needs of athletes with physical, developmental, and/or intellectual disabilities. Player participation and development are key elements of the program. TOPSoccer is designed to improve the overall fitness, self-esteem and social skills of your athlete. In short, TOPSoccer takes individuals from the sidelines to participating in the game. The LYSA TOPSoccer program has been in existence for four years.

The LYSA TOPSoccer director is Jessie Birdwhistell, a Ph.D. candidate in School Psychology in UK’s College of Education. All of our coaches are volunteers. The league began in August, 2009 and is supported by the Kentucky Youth Soccer Association, Lexington Youth Soccer Association, US Youth Soccer Association, Children's Charity Fund of the Bluegrass, Bluegrass Charity Ball Inc., The Jerome S. and Grace H. Murray Foundation as well as numerous other businesses and individuals in our community. We would not exist without our sponsors and many community friends. Our league has both a fall and spring season and practices on Sundays and our team name is Blue Thunder.

Why play LYSA TOPSoccer?

There are many athletes in our area with disabilities who need, and should be provided with, the opportunity to play soccer through LYSA TOPSoccer. And most of all, soccer is fun! and great exercise!  USYSA has produced an informative brochure on TOPSoccer.  To view or print the brochure go to: Parent Guide

What is unique about LYSA TOPSoccer?

Whenver possible and appropriate, given the resources, characteristics and limitations of given circumstances, TOPSoccer will do its best to provide a buddy to each athlete who needs one. We cannot guarantee buddy placement.  We do allow family members, caregivers and aides to serve as buddies.  It is the goal of TOPSoccer to provide the opportunity for participation for each athlete while ensuring the safety of all athletes, volunteers, parents and spectators. 

We also hold other activities during the season for our teams including bowling parties, outings to UK and Transylvania University soccer games, pizza parties at Gatti Town and our end of the season events. This past spring, several college teams participated including UK Mens and Womens; Transylvania Mens and Womens and the Georgetown Womens Team.   

What is a Buddy?

A Buddy is an invaluable volunteer. A Buddy is not a player and does not score goals. Buddies can be a caregiver, aide, family member, same-aged peer, a teenager or an adult. They can be a soccer player, someone who works with special needs children or someone who has no soccer experience. You can register on-line or through the mail.  Want to learn more about being a Buddy?  Contact Janice Birdwhistell at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . To register on-line: On-Line Volunteer Form

Who is eligible to play in the LYSA TOPSoccer league?

Individuals with disabilities aged 4+. Disabilities might include:
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Down syndrome
Learning Disability 
Developmental Delay
Muscular Dystrophy 
Cerebral Palsy
Vision or hearing impaired 
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Attention Deficit Disorder/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

How much does it cost?

Registration is $25.00. The fee covers all KYSA and LYSA registration fees and insurance. We will provide a player shirt and one pair of socks.  Scholarships are available.  For additional information contact the LYSA Registrar Lois Stephens or the TOPS League Director Jessie Birdwhistell.

What equipment is needed?

Players must provide their own shin guards and cleats. If you cannot afford them, please let us know. For most practices players should wear shorts, t-shirts or their practice jersey and soccer socks. 

In the Spring player tshirts are provided. Players do not need cleats for the Spring indoor sessions. In the Fall, all sessions are outdoors.  Goalie shirts and gloves will be provided.

If you need assistance with equipment, please let us know. 

WickWhen does LYSA TOPSoccer practice?   Practice is held once a week on Sundays for one hour. 


Where will LYSA TOPSoccer practice? During thespring we use indoor fields and will practice and play at Kentucky Indooe Soccer and Sport in Lexington,  In the fall we use Field #3 (nearest the concession stand) at Masterson Station Park. Click on Park name for directions. 

Fall field locations can change. Changes are posted in the Schedule section of the Web page and on the LYSA TOPSoccer Facebook page. 

In the fall we have alternate sites when Masterson is not available. In the Spring we hold indoor sessions at Kentucky Indoor Sports and Soccer at 404 Sporting Court.


How are LYSA TOPSoccer teams chosen? Teams are divided by ABILITY and not by age.


Where can I get additional information? To be a Volunteer Coach or with questions about sponsorship or donations, contact Jessie Birdwhistell at 859-608-4160.  To be a Buddy contact Janice Birdwhistell at 859 229-7670 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it