Is your special athlete ready for some soccer?

Piedmont TOPSoccer athletes celebrate at the group's annual awards banquet.

On Saturday, September 7, the Fauquier County Soccer Club’s TOPSoccer Program (The Outreach Program for Soccer) will kick off its fall season from 10am-noon at the Vint Hill Gym.

The official United States Youth Soccer program for enriching the lives of children with learning and/or physical disabilities through the game of soccer, TOPSoccer provides an opportunity for children with special needs to learn about and have fun playing the sport, while improving their self-esteem, physical fitness and socialization skills.

In addition, and thanks to the generous support of the Fauquier County Soccer Club and the Virginia Soccer Association, TOPSoccer is free to participants.

Coached for more than 17 years by John Schlenker, the program now has almost 96 athletes of different abilities who travel from Fauquier, Prince William, Loudoun, Culpeper, Orange and Fairfax counties to play on Saturday mornings, and 139 student volunteers, making the program one of US Youth Soccer’s largest and most successful TOPSoccer Programs in the country. In fact, two of its student volunteers, Abbey Wills (Virginia Tech) and Patrick Casey (UVA) were recognized in 2017 and 2016, respectively, as National TOPSoccer Volunteers of the Year for their extraordinary efforts to assist athletes.

TOPS isn’t just about playing soccer. It’s about helping athletes with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and countless other cognitive and physical issues improve communication skills, learn the benefits of physical fitness, develop important social skills, and, most of all, have fun in a very inclusive environment.

For more information about TOPSoccer and its fall season kick off on September 7, visit or email John Schlenker at

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Piedmont Lifestyles Publications welcome contributions from any and all members of the community. Email news and photos to or call us at (540) 349-2951.

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