WHO WE ARE
THE SPORTS LEAGUE WHERE EVERYONE WINS
Spirit League is a safe place for children and young adults with special needs to play team sports in a positive, self-esteem building environment.
The League is for athletes who are physically active (ambulatory) but have difficulty keeping up with their peers. We emphasize the learning of basic sports and social skills for boys and girls, ages 6-30 years, with autism or other developmental disabilities in Orange County, California.
For our athletes, our goals are to foster self-esteem, enhance social skills and build friendships. For our families, our goals are to strengthen relationships, provide support and develop community.
BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM, MAKING FRIENDS
Our athletes are typically unable to fully participate in their local neighborhood youth sports program due to one or more of the following challenges:
- Autism Spectrum Disorders;
- Learning Disabilities;
- Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy; and/or
- Other mild physical & emotional disabilities.
Programs are co-ed and offer participants an opportunity to build self-esteem, create friendships, experience teamwork and have lots of fun. Parent participation is encouraged so plan for an enjoyable experience for the entire family where long lasting friendships are formed and everyone has fun and grows.
Youth Program: For athletes ages 6-22 years, our Youth Program plays three sports per year including basketball (January – March), baseball (April – June) and soccer (September – November). Online registration for each season generally occurs two months prior to the start of games. See the Sports tab on our website for more information on each sport. Typical seasons (non-COVID) are ten weeks long and athletes enjoy personalized jerseys, picture day and a season-end celebration with trophies.
Games are organized according to the age of the athlete as described below. For baseball and soccer, the three age divisions typically play on Saturdays but at different times throughout the day. For our 2021 basketball season, we moved from an indoor gym setting to outdoor courts. All three age divisions, plus our adult athletes, played on Saturdays. For a non-COVID basketball season, Divisions 3 and 2 typically play on Saturdays while Division 1 plays on Sundays and at a different location. Athletes
- Division 3: Ages 6 to 9 years
- Division 2: Ages 9 to 13 years
- Division 1: Ages 13 to 22 years
Adult Program: For athletes ages 18-30 years, our new Adult Program includes two sports per year including basketball (Spring) and volleyball (Summer). While the fundamentals of the sport are taught, our Adult Program focuses on practicing social skills typical of a young adult playing a “pick-up” style game without names on jerseys, trophies and picture day. Athletes have fun playing with their peers.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President Emeritus, Advisor
Vice President, PRO-AM, Inc.
Sales Director, Strategic Solutions, Cyberaa
Member, Board of Directors
Founded in 2004, Spirit League was created by parents of a child with learning and motor skill challenges who had trouble keeping up with his peers on the playground and in the neighborhood. They wanted to provide their child an opportunity to have a “team” experience and participate at his level of ability, in an organized sports league.
In 2004, Leslie and Mike Echolds felt that Orange County lacked a forum for “betweener” special needs kids to play sports, make friends, socialize and grow into adulthood. Little did they know what a need there was… or how deeply Spirit League would impact the lives of our long-term “committed” players and families.
Their son, Jordan, started with Spirit League when he was 10 years old. He has grown as an athlete, as a person, and most importantly, has made many new friends. He is a strong athlete in the Spirit League Adult Program. Today, while Leslie and Mike have lessened their involvement with Spirit League, they continue to support its wonderful work.
PRO-AM Waste Management
Schnieders Real Estate Services
Tierra Alston Burage
Thomas and Florence Enders
Mike and Debbie Graystone
Blanca Munguia Becerril
Carmen Silva Lopez
Sean Nguyen & Mysinh (Jessica) Luu Tran
Qunh Mai Vu
El Morro PTA
FEATURED COMMUNITY PARTNER
Captain’s Auction Warehouse cares about athletes with autism. As one of the League’s largest corporate supporters, they raise awareness and donations for the League at each of their auctions in Anaheim, CA.