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On The Ball with FYSA


Welcome to the official blog of the Florida Youth Soccer Association! This blog will focus on all soccer-related topics. Serving as an educational and informative tool, we hope that the articles featured within this blog will provide a healthy avenue for our users to communicate with each other.


Robinson Continues to Make an Impact for TOPS

May 04, 2022


AUBURNDALE, FL (May 4, 2022) - By the end of this summer Dave Robinson, one of the leaders in the Florida youth soccer community, will be moving out of state. His physical presence will be missed, but he has had a lasting impact on individuals throughout Florida as well as nationwide.
TOPSoccer-Dave-Robinson-936x1024 Dave Robinson

Robinson, the current US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer National Chairperson, has been a champion for TOPSoccer for over fifteen (15) years. His journey into The Outreach Program for Soccer (TOPSoccer) first began in 2006 when a parent asked Braden River Soccer Club (BRSC) if they would be able to accommodate a child with autism (Heater).

At the time, BRSC had not encountered a request like this and the player joined one of their programs. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good fit, but Robinson, a board member at the club, couldn’t stand the thought of a player being turned away. He did some research and he found information on TOPSoccer.

TOPSoccer is a recreational sports program for children and adults with intellectual, emotional, or physical disabilities that is offered only through local USYS-affiliated soccer clubs. TOPSoccer programs provide interested athletes with opportunities to play soccer in a uniquely structured environment that is safe, fun, supportive, and inclusive.

One of the most unique and important qualities of the TOPSoccer program is that each local program is different and is structured around the needs of its participants. TOPSoccer is not a one size fits all program therefore it aids in being inclusive to all interested athletes who want to participate.

BRSC’s TOPSoccer program kicked off in January of 2007 with Robinson as the TOPSoccer Director. In their first season, over forty (40) athletes and seventy (70) volunteers registered (Heater). The club’s program continued to grow more and more each season.


TOPSoccer Players & Buddies at 2021 TOPSoccer Event at Premier Sports Campus

“Ever since I started my local TOPSoccer program in 2007, it has held a huge piece of my heart and never let go. I really want to help spread the joy I receive as the manager of a local program, and the best way to do this is to be a leader and do what I can to increase participation from coast to coast,” Robinson expressed in an interview with Soccer Today (Scavuzzo et al.).

Robinson became the Florida TOPSoccer Chairperson to help encourage the implementation and expansion of TOPSoccer programs throughout the state. He later became the US Youth Soccer Southern Region chair and recently assumed the role of National Chair, taking over the leadership from Ray Robinson (Scavuzzo et al.).

TOPS_player_at_2021_Rowdies_event_2   TOPSoccer Player & Buddy at 2021 Florida TOPSoccer Festival with the Tampa Bay Rowdies

The growth of TOPSoccer has given these athletes a place to play where they can look forward to participating in the same sports activity as their siblings and neighbors (Report). It has also promoted a culture of community engagement as Coaches and Buddies are very important volunteers to any TOPSoccer program. 

“We give them [volunteers] a little orientation. We tell them to always be encouraging, to bend down low to talk at eye level, but the buddies have told me they enjoy it so much. That makes me feel so good because I am just the band leader waving the baton. Without the buddies, we couldn’t make the music,” Robinson said in a 2018 interview (Heater).

After hearing Robinson speak about TOPSoccer at LECOM’s Pediatric Club last fall, Brendan Morgans and many others were moved by the talk and volunteered at their local program as TOPSoccer Buddies. Morgans stated, “As a future physician in the field of pediatrics, TOPS supports both my occupational goals and my desire to positively impact the children of the community.” This spring Morgans has taken over the TOPSoccer program at BRSC. “These kids have shown me that there is so much more to medical school than just studying; I have the honor of teaching them soccer and having fun,” expressed Morgans.

In a nomination letter for the 2019 US Youth Soccer’s TOPSoccer Coach of the Year, Monica and Joe Sweeney- parents of Kevin, a TOPSoccer Athlete who had been part of the BRSC program for several years, wrote “What Dave [Robinson] has created in TOPSoccer goes beyond the very obvious and tangible benefits for the children with special needs. He provides their parents with a new community of fun instead of just hospitals, IEP meetings, or therapies. He also has created something even more impactful though. By pairing typically developing teens and young adults with special needs children, he is fostering a new world of acceptance and understanding. Watching high school boys singing “Veggie Tales” songs with their athletes or seeing travel team soccer players taking dives in the net, purposely allowing the ball to enter the goal, your breath is taken away. From the model of love and acceptance given by Coach Dave, these “typical” teens are learning that they can be kind and engaged with differently-abled children and actually love the experience. It’s an amazing gift that I don’t think they will forget.”

Dave_Robinson_Award_News_Image_-_Website 2019 FYSA TOPSoccer Coach of the Year- Robinson

Robinson’s selflessness, positive attitude, and passion create a welcoming environment that players, buddies, and parents all enjoy. Robinson has built the programs in Florida to last and has inspired the next generation of leaders to continue championing TOPSoccer programs.

While we will miss him being here in the Sunshine state, we are positive he will continue to make a difference in the soccer community. The FYSA TOPSoccer committee is still active and continues to foster growth within the state.


To find TOPSoccer Programs in your area, click here.

To get in contact with a local area TOPSoccer Representative and find out more about possible volunteer opportunities, click here.

If you are interested in starting a TOPSoccer program or hosting a TOPSoccer Festival in your area, contact Florida TOPSoccer Chairman Jennifer DiTillio at 

Resources referenced:

Heater, Jay. “Topsoccer Program Provides Great Opportunities in Lakewood Ranch: East County.” Your Observer, Your Observer, 5 Sept. 2018,

Report, Staff. “Athletes with Disabilities Can Compete in TOPSoccer.” Tribune, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 30 Dec. 2008,

Scavuzzo, Diane, et al. “Topsoccer's Dave Robinson Wants More Youth Players to Help Kids • Soccertoday.” SoccerToday, 30 June 2020,