Cary program helps kids on the autism spectrum learn soccer

Cary is becoming a soccer hub home to the professionals NC Courage and NC FC and it has one of the best youth programs in the county.

Katie Sayre saw a need for another kind of soccer program and brought her vision to life in 2016 creating Oak City Soccer, a program designed for kids on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing challenges.

Kids learn soccer skills, socialization, coordination and sportsmanship.

"Soccer is like one of my favorite sports," said Olson. "I did learn how to dribble...dribble, pass the ball. I am a very good teammate to my team when I scrimmage."

Olson learned his skills from the volunteers who work with Oak City Soccer.

"They come out here on their own free time and they work hard with the kids to get the children acclimated to a group sports setting," said Keith, a parent of a player in the program. "Hopefully that will help them do other types of sports down the road."

"I think it's important for kids to be able to be supported in what they do want to do," Sayre said. "Many of the kids in our program have a passion and a love for soccer. They were just getting frustrated with a typical program."

Sayre played soccer for 12 years growing up and wants every kid to have that same opportunity no matter the obstacles.

"It's been such a vital part of this area and youth for me," she said. "Giving them that opportunity just kind of levels the playing field and helps them learn to be successful in so many areas of their life and not just soccer."

"We can take the time to break down the skill in a really small level for them," Sayre said. "Their hearts just burst with joy and it's really fun to watch the volunteers connect with them as well as the players and to be able to make friends."

"My favorite part about soccer is the coaches because they are very,very nice and they teach me new things." Olson said.

For anyone afraid to try it - Olson has a message:

"Starting something new such as soccer, you got to be brave about it," he said. "Just go for it."

For more information about the program, you can visit the site here.
Copyright © 2019 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.