About Us

WHO WE ARE

A COMMUNITY WHERE ATHLETES WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES THRIVE!

Our mission is to create a community where athletes with developmental disabilities thrive.

The League is for athletes with developmental disabilities who are physically active (ambulatory) but have difficulty keeping up with their peers. We emphasize the learning of sports fundamentals and social skills for boys and girls, ages 6-30 years, with autism or other developmental disabilities in Orange County, California.

At Spirit League, it is more than the score. 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.

OUR PROGRAM

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, baseball and soccer. 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 are ten weeks long and athletes enjoy personalized jerseys, picture day and a season-end celebration with trophies/medals.

Games are organized according to the age of the athlete as described below. The three age divisions typically play on Saturdays but at different times throughout the day.

  • Division 3: Ages 6 to 9 years with 60-minute sessions
  • Division 2: Ages 9 to 13 years with 90-minute sessions
  • Division 1: Ages 13 to 22 years with 90-minute sessions

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 and make new friendships lasting beyond the court.

MEET THE STAFF

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Mike Jarpe
President, Board of Directors

Dalia Viera
Member, Board of Directors
Retired

Melissa Cory, OTL
President Emeritus, Advisor
Occupational Therapist

Donald Lane
Member, Board of Directors
Retired
Dan Lawler
Member, Board of Directors

Vice President, PRO-AM, Inc.


Sam Lau
Secretary, Board of Directors

Sales Director, Strategic Solutions, Cyberaa


Kevin Smith
Treasurer, Board of Directors
Engineer

Kyla Kichline

Member, Board of Directors

Independent Facilitator, Capistrano Unified School District

HISTORY

THE BEGINNING

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.

THE FOUNDERS

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.

2020-21 Supporters

Jarpe Family Charitable Trust

Roeske Family Foundation

Clonrock Foundation

Orange County District 5

 

William Grant & Sons

Claire Camaya, PhD.

City of Mission Viejo Community Services Grant Fund

Donor through Blackbaud Giving

City of Mission Viejo Chamber of Commerce through Oso Fit 5K

Jessie Dunne

Darrin Messina

Blanca Shidla

Lanier Rossignol

PRO-AM Waste Management
Schnieders Real Estate Services
Tierra Alston Burage
Dominique Alvarado-Bennett
Mary Amsden
Catherine Amy
Chris Andrews
Adriana Anorve
Patty Barlow
Ginaea Bauer
Jamila Bauer
John Belenardo
Joseph Belmont
Kim Belmont
Chris Boyle
Lee Boyle
Sheila Buck
Terry Bufkin
Rosemary Burcher
Sarah Carmona
Melissa Cecil
Tiffany Cervenak
Delia Charvel
Aeri Chun
Juliet Coscia
Khanh Dang
Suen DiMaria
Nancy Donnelly
Taneatha Duncan
Michelle Eaton
Dave Emerson
Thomas and Florence Enders
Candace Erickson
Kim Farrell
Tom Fernandez
Jason Filler
David Garsoe
Mike Garza
Kristina Gebuza
Jackie Goode
Heather Gormick
Mike and Debbie Graystone
Dana Halle
Tara Harman
Donna Horner
Andy Hsu
Kimberly Joe
Brenna Johnson
Scott Jones
Keith Kichline
Gregory Lay
Jose Leano
Sandy Leger
Paul Lin
Rich Lockman
Michelle Macedo
Ann Marquis
Sam McDermott
Tom
Philip
Samaneh nMoshtaghi
Laura Muller
Blanca Munguia Becerril
Muhammad Naushad
Sharon Neill
Toshiro Ozawa
Vamsi Paidi
Jocelyn Parayao
Tristyn Richie
Robin Rizzuto
Steve Roberts
Joy Rogers
Taili Roth
Razina Rouf
Pam Scott
Carmen Silva Lopez
Syndie Sim
Jennifer Singer
Kevin Smith
Melanie Smith
Martha Soto
Kothandaraman Srinivas
Michael Striegl
Aaron Sullivan
Robert Thompson
Claudia Thurston
Marylinn Torres
Mia Tragus
Sean Nguyen & Mysinh (Jessica) Luu Tran
Qunh Mai Vu
Lisa Weber
Raul Weneslao
Jeff Weyant
Mara Wilkerson
John Woll
Jacqueline Zabala
William
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.