TOPSoccer is changing lives one ‘Purple Panda’ at a time

Updated: Jun. 23, 2023 at 3:55 PM AKDT
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TOPSoccer in Anchorage is for, according to coach and coordinator Joe Schmid, “Any athlete between the ages of 4 and 21 with a physical or cognitive disability — this could include autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, spina bifida or whatever it is … we find a way to make it inclusive and have them participate in soccer.” The adaptive TOPSoccer program brings disabled children to a place where they can be themselves and have fun without judgement. And they get to name themselves! Each year, they vote on an animal and a color… this year they chose the name Purple Pandas! They meet on Thursdays at 6 p.m. at the Dome at Fox Hollow on Brayton Drive. The participants love it, and the volunteers are compassionate, kind amazing human beings that bring this incredible program to life. There are anywhere from 30 to 50 players, with a one-to-one ratio of volunteers to assist each player. Megan Coleman leads the program along with Schmid, and says it is a labor of love and very rewarding. Here is a link to the TOPSoccer website: Interested in supporting TOPSoccer? Please contact" Attn: Megan Coleman, Founder.