Frequently Asked Questions

Spirit League athletes have been diagnosed with a developmental disability such as:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder;
  • Learning Disabilities;
  • Down Syndrome; and/or
  • Other mild physical and developmental disabilities.

Once registration for a particular sport has closed, team assignments are conducted by Spirit League staff. The goal of the team selection process is to insure fair and safe play through the creation of teams that are balanced. Staff considers many factors in assigning teams including, but not limited to, experience, athletic ability and emotional development as noted on the Parent Evaluation completed during the registration process. During the registration process, parents may request that their athlete be placed with a specific coach or teammate(s). While Spirit League does consider all requests, given the other factors of team selection, there is no guarantee that the request will be honored.

No. Our mission is to create a community where athletes with developmental disabilities thrive. We cannot ensure fair play and maintain a safe environment if we permit children without a related disability to participate.


The Hands-On Basketball can be purchased at Gopher Sports or Amazon.

Phone: (800) 533-0446

Item Number 61-137  (We use size 5.)

Teaches proper right-handed and left-handed shooting positions.

Color coded: red for right-handers, blue for left-handers.

See excerpt below from the Spirit League Refund Policy:


A refund, either partial or in full, as specified below, may be granted by Spirit League if one or more of the following conditions is met:

  • A full refund will be granted if a request is received in writing from the registrant within the open registration period for the sport in question.
  • A partial refund, up to 50 (fifty) percent of registration fees, will be granted if a request is received, in writing, after the close of open registration but prior to three weeks before opening day.
  • No refund, either partial or in full, will be granted beginning three weeks before opening day of the season, without exception.”

On game day, Division 3 (6-9 years) meets for 1 hour while Division 2 (9-13 years) and Division 1 (13-22 years) meet for 1.5 hours. Please plan on arriving with plenty of time for parking, and getting to the field. We strongly encourage every athlete to be ready to play on time. The athletes will spend the first few minutes getting settled, stretching, and discussing the plans for the day. The next 30 to 40 minutes will be devoted to practice and skill development. The remainder of the time will be devoted to playing a game with other athletes within the same age division.

Emails from the League and coaches will keep you posted about upcoming events and other important League information. Season calendars will be emailed to each family approximately two weeks prior to the start of the season.

Spirit League sport seasons are typically 10 weeks long.

Registration fees cover the costs of facility rentals for the full season, a personalized jersey, individual and team photos, trophy/medal, coach’s gift, trained staff,  and season-end celebration.

Once registration closes, Spirit League staff will form teams, divisions, and play times. (Spirit League does not have tryouts or pre-season evaluations.) The goal is to create the most balanced teams possible. There are many factors that are used in this process including but not limited to the following:

  • Age/gender of athlete;
  • Number of athletes registered per division;
  • Specific requests of parents for team assignments or to play with a particular friend;
  • Amount of parents volunteering to coach; and
  • Athlete’s abilities as rated by parents and coaches from previous seasons.

Parents will be notified one to two weeks prior to the start of the season with their athlete’s team assignment, time of play, and calendar for the season.

Assigning play times is directly related to the amount of athletes per division and facilities available. Division 3 (ages 6-9 years) will typically play first. Division 2, (ages 9-13 years) and Division 1, (ages 13-22 years) may have varying game times, depending on registrations. Please note that play times for teams in Divisions 2 and 1 may vary each week due to rotating team schedules.

Please plan on arriving about 15 to 20 minutes early to pick up your athlete’s uniform then meet his/her coach and teammates. The Spirit League staff will be onsite to welcome all families.

You may have your athlete change into his/her complete uniform, or if you prefer, they can just wear the jersey on opening day. After getting your athlete’s uniform, you will be directed to your athlete’s team. Parent and Team Mentors will be there to help.  The coaches will welcome all of the athletes and describe the schedule for the day.

The following items are provided with the uniform:

  • Soccer:  Spirit League will provide a personalized jersey. Parents to provide: Black athletic shorts, tall, black athletic socks, tennis shoes or non-metal cleats and shin guards (required).                                                                         
  • Basketball: Spirit League will provide a personalized jersey. Parents to provide: Black athletic shorts, socks and tennis shoes.
  • Baseball:  Spirit League will provide a baseball hat and personalized jersey. Parents to provide: White baseball pants, black belt, black baseball socks, tennis shoes or non-metal cleats, and baseball glove (required).
  • Water, water, and more water;
  • Sunscreen for athletes and families;
  • Chairs and or a blanket to sit on;
  • Snacks if you feel your athlete needs it (due to the various amount of athlete dietary challenges, we do not provide snacks at the games); and a
  • Great attitude and willingness to cheer on all of our athletes!

At the beginning of the season, parents may find it necessary to be on the field/court with their athlete. We understand that the start of any new season may be uncomfortable and stressful, but the ultimate goal is for the athlete to interact with his/her coach and Team Mentors.

Some athletes require more hands on assistance and direction. Our athletes have a wide range of needs, and it can be difficult for a coach to address them individually.  Ideally, we would like to see no parents on the field after the 4th week of play – unless requested by the coach. There may be times that a coach will call a parent onto the field/court if assistance is needed. Please be prepared to offer your help. Our coaches and Team Mentors are volunteers and are at games for the benefit of the entire team.

If your athlete’s ABA therapist or other professional is attending the games and you would like them to assist your athlete, please discuss this option with your coach and League staff. Anyone on the field must have a completed volunteer waiver form on file and must complete the Spirit League Online Training. The Volunteer Application may be found on our website and must be completed and approved prior to assisting.

Our volunteer coaches and Team Mentors are at games for the benefit of the entire team and cannot enforce an individual athlete’s behavior plan or token economy. If your athlete needs individual assistance to participate, the parent/guardian and or athlete’s privately paid behavior therapist should be on the field/court to assist. Please share any concerns or special needs regarding your athlete with the coach. We want them to have the best experience possible.

No. Spirit League is a “No Drop-Off League” for all age Divisions. It is mandatory that a parent or responsible party be present at all times, during both skill practice and games. If an athlete arrives at the field/court without a parent or responsible party, the athlete will not be permitted to participate until the former arrives. A parent/guardian must provide supervision for the duration of the Spirit League activities, both on and off the court/field.

Once an athlete leaves the field/court, the parent or responsible party is responsible for their supervision. This includes restroom/drink breaks or any time an athlete leaves the field/court.

No. Like other youth sports leagues, Spirit League is run by volunteers including our Board of Directors, Coaches and Team Mentors. As such, parent assistance is encouraged and necessary each week to set up/take down the fields/courts, and assist athletes and volunteer coaches. If assisting with athletes on the field or court as a Coach, Assistant Coach or Team Mentor, a formal application process is required. See respective sections on the website for additional information.

Every family is encouraged to volunteer during the season. Thank you so much for supporting the League and your athlete in this way.

Spirit League loves our Team Mentors! Team Mentors (student volunteers and community volunteers) are present at the field/court to assist the coaching staff. They strive to stay with a particular team for the entirety of a season. Team Mentors may not assist an athlete who may be experiencing difficulties or accompany any athlete to the restroom/water break.

Team Mentors are at games for the benefit of the entire team. Occasionally, Team Mentors may be available to assist individual athletes around the field/court but cannot implement individual behavior plans or token economy systems. This individual assistance is not guaranteed to be provided from week to week. If your athlete needs 1:1 assistance to participate, a parent/guardian or privately paid behavior therapist should accompany the athlete on the field/court for the duration of activities.

Please notify your coach directly if your athlete will miss a week of play or be late. You will be receiving your coaches contact information at the start of the season.

If your athlete will miss the end of season celebration when pictures and trophies are distributed, please make arrangements with another family to pick up your athlete’s items. Photos and trophies which remain after the last day of play will only be saved until opening day of the following sport season before being discarded. Families will not be notified in advance.

Games may be canceled due to weather conditions (rain or heat index).

  • Rain: The City of Mission Viejo and League both can decide if baseball or soccer fields will be open or closed due to rain or other conditions. It is important to note that while it may be raining at an athlete’s location, it may not be raining at the sports fields. The City operates a “rain out” line which is updated on game day by 2:00 pm. However, Spirit League will monitor the field conditions and City line and provide an update on the Spirit League Message Line at 714-417-9553, ext. 703 by 8 a.m. on game days.  Spirit League strives to text families prior to game time if a field closure is possible.
  • Heat: Games will be canceled in case of extreme heat according to the League’s Heat Index and Hydration Policy (Heat Index of 105 degrees or higher). If the heat index is forecast to exceed this limit, an update will be posted on the Spirit League Message Line at 714-417-9553, ext. 703, by 8:30 a.m. on game day. If the Heat Index reaches 105 degrees during game play, staff will suspend activities.
  • Please be on time.  Timeliness is critical to your athlete’s team and the schedule of the game day. Limited game time is available each week. Please allow for traffic, parking, walking to the facility, and setting up. The time listed on the Season Calendar is the play start time. Athletes should arrive on time, in complete uniform.
  • Talk to us!  We recognize that situations may occur and you or your athlete may have a concern. Your athlete’s coach is the first person you should speak with. League staff is available each game day if additional assistance is needed.
  • Get Involved:  Spirit League is a non-profit organization run run by volunteers and a small staff. We would love for you to join us either on the field/court or behind the seasons as a Committee or Board Member. There are many ways you can get involved to help the League including coaching, fundraising, picture day, and the end of season party.
  • Be Flexible: Rules, game times, team assignments, and other issues may be adjusted to fit with the needs of our athletes. We aim to provide the best experience for our athletes, in a safe environment.
  • Facilities: Spirit League rents facilities for each sport season from schools, churches, colleges, and parks and recreation departments. There may be times that we are asked to not use the facility on late notice due to an unforeseen event. We make every effort to avoid these situations, but sometimes it may become unavoidable. If possible, we will reschedule the playtime at the end of the season.
  • Sponsorships and Fundraising: Spirit League is a non-profit organization and relies on outside fundraising to cover the costs to operate the League. We are seeking individuals and organizations that would be interested in sponsoring the League. Please email, Melanie, the League Executive Director, at  or call the Spirit Message Line if you or someone you know may be interested in supporting the League.
  • Facilities: We are proud of our partnership with our sports facilities. However, we are continually striving to improve. If you have any suggestions for new basketball, baseball or soccer facilities, please contact Melanie at
  • Equipment: Spirit League is in need of new sports equipment related to all three sports (basketball, baseball and soccer) including balls, bats, helmets, coach bags, athletic field paint, whistles, cones, goal nets, etc. We are also in need of additional shade canopies for our athletes.

Considering the COVID environment, items left on the courts and playing fields will be left onsite for the parent to recall. We no longer maintain a lost and found.


As a Coach, athletes and parents look to you to make the Spirit League experience the best it can be. Not only does the Spirit League coaching experience impact the lives of our amazing athletes, it impacts the lives of our coaches as well.