I want to play soccer like my brother and cousin. One simple statement from Cory was the birth of the AZ Sunshine League.
Cory came to me one day wanting to play soccer too. He didn't understand why he couldn't play. As a family, we spent a lot of time on soccer fields. I told him he was right. There was no reason he couldn't play. Soccer is a very easy sport to play.
We talked as a family, I talked with the other members of the board of our soccer club, and within a few weeks we started the new program. We were the first special needs soccer program in the State of Arizona. We had no one to help us. So we decided what we wanted the league to be: Open to all, free, fun and a place to promote health and well-being and socialization for children with special needs. Mistakes were made. Such as regular uniforms that most did not want to wear because they did not want to touch the material and all wanted the same number! So we turned to t-shirts for everyone.
Wonderful sponsors have been found to allow us to continue free memberships for all members. Without the St. Paul Council of the Knights of Columbus and the Thunderbirds Foundation, we would not have been able to continue our program for 20 years. We would not have been able to replace all our equipment three years ago when it was stolen from us during the holiday break. These sponsors have been the lifeline of our program. They are the reason we are able to pay field rental each session, buy t-shirts and trophies, have kite day and holiday parties.
In 2017 Bailey O'Carroll of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism from ASU filmed one of our participants for one of her classes. She also interviewed a few other people for her project. It is a great interview of Cory and a great advertisement for the Sunshine League. Please watch and pass it on to your friends and family.
Drop us a line to cheer us on! Got an idea for an event? Well, send that to us too. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
We look forward to seeing you at our next game!
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ASL returned to the field on July 11, 2021, after what seemed like an eternity. Everyone who has returned so far has been happy to see each other and is having fun. We have already scheduled our second ASL v Ltd Skills game since our return. Both teams are looking forward to continuing our battles! Come play or just to watch and cheer. If you haven’t returned yet, please come back and give us another try. We meet every Sunday at 3:00 P.M. at the Arizona Sports Complex (3555 W Pinnacle Peak).