On a beautiful fall day, Kennedy Park in El Cajon was the host site for East County’s first ever soccer tournament style competition for special needs players. The Kick or Treat Classic, held October 30, featured teams from around San Diego County from AYSO’s VIP soccer program. This program allows children with special mental or physical conditions to participate in a safe and friendly youth soccer program.
All teams played two games and every player received a trophy at an awards ceremony. There was also a bounce house, Halloween carnival games, and lunch for parents and children. As if this wasn’t enough fun, many players and referees came wearing Halloween costumes, and the soccer balls were bright orange, like pumpkins.
Gary Hartnett is La Mesa AYSO’s VIP program director. He said that La Mesa AYSO sent two teams to the competition, one team of younger children and one of older youth. Overall there were 16 VIP teams participating.
His wife, a volunteer at the event, said “This truly is a wonderful program and the families of these children feel like they have a home here.” Rhona Moore, a La Mesa AYSO board member, coach, and referee, stated that “Watching these games you will see the true heart of recreational soccer.” The kids were certainly having a great time and often cheered for both sides when a goal was scored.
PR Coordinator La Mesa AYSO