SABR TOPSoccer Volunteers Honored

Volunteers are unpaid not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!” – Author Unknown

The SABR Board of Directors set 3 goals for our TOPSoccer program when the club established the program:

  • Give challenged children in our community The Opportunity to Play Soccer.
  • Let the parents enjoy their children’s participation without any volunteer or financial obligations.
  • Provide a meaningful community service experience for middle school and high school students.

SABR TOPSoccer has consistently exceeded those expectations since its earliest years.

The bonds that have made this one of the most successful programs for challenged athletes in the U.S. are the love and devotion between our volunteers and the athletes and their families.

Over the years, hundreds of adults have guided our program, coached our teams, and mentored our thousands of teenage Buddies for seasons that impact everyone’s lives more than ever imagined at the outset.

Coaches and administrators stay involved for years. Buddies come back for many seasons once they start. Career paths in child development have been found and college choices have changed because of TOPSoccer.

Kerry Ryan – one of our earliest athletes – set the tone and left a legacy we share with our Buddies every season through the Kerry Ryan Award.

All of this is reward enough to our selfless volunteers. But their never-ending acts of kindness have been admired and honored around Florida and the United States by the U.S. Youth Soccer Association.

Here are the stories of a few of our most honored volunteers. To learn more about how you could volunteer, contact us at topsoccer@sabrsoccer.net.

Zoe Unger

Zoe Unger was presented the U.S. Youth Soccer Volunteer of the Year Award for 2013 season at the national U.S. Youth Soccer Workshop in Indianapolis on January 18, 2013.

As a senior at Spanish River High School, Zoe was named the Polk County Marketing Volunteer of the Year at the Florida Youth Soccer Association's 2012 Annual General Meeting in Orlando.

Since she was 13 years old doing her mitzvah for her Bat Mitzvah, Zoe raised over $8,000 for the SABR TOPSoccer program by organizing 5 vs. 5 competitions each fall before the beginning of the season. Her enthusiasm for the program did not stop with the mitzvah. Zoe became a buddy in 2009. Her dedication, enthusiasm, and leadership led to her becoming a Buddy Captain in 2012.

Cindy Thuma and Brock Turner

Brock Turner received the Florida Youth Soccer and US Youth Soccer Association Buddy of the Year awards in 2014. Brock dedicated his award to Kerry Ryan, an original TOPSoccer player who inspired his commitment to the program. Brock started as a buddy assistant eight years ago to help his neighbor, Kerry. He served as a buddy, buddy captain and equipment manager by the time he graduated high school. Brock also inspired his father Greg to coach and his sister Lauren to volunteer as a buddy in the SABR TOPSoccer program.

(Also pictured: (l) Vic Nocera, TOPSoccer Director and (r) Greg Turner, Brock's father and TOPSoccer coach.)

Cassie and Suzi

In 2011, Florida Youth Soccer chose Cassandra Thorla (l) and Suzi Vogelgesang (r) as FYSA TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year 2011 and named FYSA TOPSoccer Adult Volunteer of the Year.

Cassie started volunteering as a Buddy for TOPSoccer in her 8th grade year. Cassie's dedication to the program and her love for the children led her to become a Buddy Captain in 2010 & 2011 seasons. Cassie earned over 150 community service hours over her 5 years volunteering for TOPSoccer.

Suzi joined SABR in 2000 as a coach, but found her passion in assisting with TOPSoccer when her children Stephanie and Trent were buddies beginning in the 2006 season. Suzi became the TOPSoccer Administrator and has served TOPSoccer on a local and statewide level to help other clubs launch their own program.