The Lexington Youth Soccer Association has been home or the TOPSoccer Program since 2009. During that time, seven volunteers from the program have been named the Kentucky Youth Soccer TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year. From those seven, four have gone on to be named the US Youth Soccer Association Region II Buddy of the Year. Chris George, a senior Education major at the University of Kentucky is the most recent volunteer to be recognized with both awards. The other LYSA TOPSoccer volunteers receiving both awars were Annie Dunbar, Alyssa King, and Claire Bieber.
The USYSA Region II covers the Midwestern United States and has 14 State Association members. There are 55 State Associations that make up the largest youth soccer organization in the country, US Youth Soccer. The Association is divided into four regions. One TOPSoccer volunteer is selected from each region and one of the volunteer is selected as the recipient of the national award. The 2018 Awards Gala will be held in Philadelphia in January. In a break from tradition only the national zward winner will attend the Gala. Abbey Wills from Amissville, Virginia (Region I-East) was selected as the national award recipient.
This award recognizes a volunteer for their outstanding contributions to TOPSoccer. The recipient of the award must have demonstrated patience, understanding, dependability, flexibility, and the ability to adjust to ever-changing on-field situations. The person is also an invaluable volunteer who facilitates the program by filling many roles, including being a coach, cheerleader, mentor, and role model as well as assisting wherever needed. Other important qualities of the buddy are engaging players one-on-one, modeling desired behavior and being cognizant of player safety. Buddies assist, guide, direct and teach the game of soccer and its skills while creating a fun learning situation.