GOALS (Giving Opportunities to All who Love Soccer) first launched in February of 2015. A nonprofit unified soccer program for kids with and without special needs, GOALS partners youth athletes who have intellectual disabilities with neurotypical peer buddies. The two play together, as part of a larger team, in small-sided, non-competitive soccer scrimmages. GOALS hosts events twice each month, providing opportunities to foster meaningful relationships that extend beyond the soccer field. Since its inception, GOALS has reached hundreds of participants across Arizona, with plans to expand nationally in the coming years.
What makes GOALS special is that it's not a community service program for kids with intellectual disabilities. Rather, GOALS is a program that serves the entire community, understanding that our community includes people of all abilities.
GOALS has impacted hundreds of kids of all abilities. But our success isn't defined by the numbers. We measure impact by the lives touched, the friendships formed, and the barriers broken.
Through sports, anyone can communicate that each of us is valued, each of us is a part of the team, and each of us is a friend worth having.
GOALS breaks down the barriers that separate kids with special needs from their neurotypical peers, creating intentional connections that transcend intellectual ability.