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 skills and relationships for higher functioning but developmentally challenged boys and girls, ages 6-22 years, in Orange County, California.
We play 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.
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.
We offer three sports seasons per year including basketball, baseball and soccer. 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 basketball, Divisions 3 and 2 play on Saturdays while Division 1 plays on Sundays and at a different location.
- Division 3: Ages 6 to 9 years
- Division 2: Ages 9 to 13 years
- Division 1: Ages 13 to 22 years
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President Emeritus, Advisor
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.
Back 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. Today, while Leslie and Mike have lessened their involvement with Spirit League, they continue to support its wonderful work.
Autism Speaks Norma and Malcolm Baker Recreation Program
Michael Jarpe & Family
David Barlow & Family
ASAR Legacy, LLC, Family Office Foundation
Rich Roeske & Family
Lloyd Rucker & Family
Dave Justus & Family
Andrew Curran & Family
Muhammad Naushad & Family
Caroline Choan & Family
James & Jackie Alves
Bill & Kelly Bermingham
Anna & Rob Carlen
David & Stacey Etnire
Shane & Karen Flanigan
Dalia Viera & David Geisninger
Bill & Dana Halle
Bob & Irene Honer
Jack & Rena Huber
Kim Nguyen & Linh Le
Brian Hill Manlapaz
Mimi & Papa McDonnell
Jeffrey & Kelly Parsell
Ron & Cathy Patterson
Duncan and Mandi Pritchard
Paul & Jeanette Sampson
John & Elise Schafer
Sean Nguyen & Mysinh (Jessica) Luu Tran
Patricia Van Haren
Sheri Vander Dussen
Lisa & Jeff Weber
Uncle D and Aunt Lisa Barrios
The Speltz Family (JoHannah)
Tabitha Rainey (Aunt Tabitha)
CVS Team (Maureen Pietryga on PP)
Bryan Deghetto (Cigars Bryan on site)
Aunt Don (Donisha Quiller)
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.