Eastern hosts 5-A-Side soccer tournament for local children with disabilities
When it comes to community service, the Eastern Washington University women's soccer team has truly gone above and beyond.
This Saturday (May 19th) at the EWU Sports and Recreation Varsity Soccer Field, the Eagles will host a free 5-A-Side soccer tournament for children aged 4-19 who suffer from physical and/or developmental disabilities. This event, held in association with Washington Youth Soccer and Spokane TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer), is the first-ever tournament to take place in the Spokane area.
"A few months ago, I was on a conference call with other TOPSoccer coordinators, and there was some discussion about this jamboree held every year in Seattle," said EWU goalkeeping coach Tamara Hageage, who has been a volunteer coach with TOPSoccer since 2006. "I realized none of the kids from the Spokane area had ever had a chance to experience this tournament because of the costs associated with getting over to the west side.
"We thought this would be a great opportunity for our team to host a similar event for the Spokane TOPSoccer kids, so that they too would have a chance to participate in a great athletic event."
This weekend's jamboree will feature more than 20 local kids playing together in two 30-minute contests. Each team will consist of at least three kids and two "buddies," who will be on the field to help in player development, participant understanding and overall flow of the game. These buddies will be current members of the Eastern women's soccer team.
"Our players are given such privileges as athletes here at Eastern Washington, that it is important for us to give back to our community," said Hageage. "And what better a role model for these young children than college athletes who are striving to be the best both athletically and academically."
The EWU women's soccer team has volunteered with Spokane's TOPSoccer program every year since its onset in 2006.
TOPSoccer is a community-based program designed to meet the needs of children with disabilities. The unique program enables players to participate at levels consistent with their skills, not necessarily by age. The six-week camp provides an opportunity for these kids to be part of the soccer community, where they grow emotionally and physically, and where their families, coaches and buddies can connect in the joy of playing soccer. There are 23 programs located throughout the state of Washington.
"This is such an important program to be involved with, because children are important - all children," said Hageage. "It's vital for them to have the same kinds of benefits and interactions as other children do in the athletic arena. We are just thankful to have the opportunity to help in this effort."
The Eastern women's soccer team would like to thank Spokane TOPSoccer Coordinator Monaca Duff and Eastern Washington University for their support with this event.
Click HERE for more information and tournament registration.