Daily Point of Light # 3038 Sep 27, 2005

Susanne Conlon is President of the Georgia Youth Soccer Association (70,000 members) as well as US Youth Soccer, National TOPSoccer Chairperson. Susanne has a special place in her heart for all children but particularly for those with disabilities. She introduced TOPSoccer, the US Youth Soccer program for children and young adults that have a physical and/or mental disability to GA in 1985. Today there are 10 such programs around the state of GA that are run by GA Youth Soccer affiliates. Six years ago Susanne initiated TOPSoccer-Rama, a one day soccer skills/games event designed to introduce the game of soccer to an optimum number of children with disabilities. The first event hosted by a local high-school had just over 100 participants. Today GA hosts two such events each year reaching more than 1250 children and engaging more that 350 high-school aged and adult volunteers. She has promoted this event on a national level and now more than 10 states use it as their model for disabled soccer outreach. Susanne continues to be very active in the TOPSoccer program in GA by registering children at her local league, promoting the program around GA and assisting parents in locating programs in their area. As the national chairperson Susanne assists programs and parents across the country in all arenas of TOPSoccer.

Susanne has been a top contributor to youth soccer for more than 17 years at the local, state, regional and national level. Fifteen years ago Susanne researched, imported and modified a Colorado Youth Soccer Sportsmanship program for use in her home league. The program is currently used by leagues in GA and by our State Recreational tournament as well as other states around the country. The program allows game officials to grade parents, coaches and players on their sportsmanlike conduct during each game by awarding “sportsmanship points.” This process alerts league administrators to problems but also rewards “good sportsmanship” as accrued sportsmanship points also allows leagues to recognize those teams that engage in good conduct on the field of play. These and other efforts have seen Susanne recognized at many levels; she has been Cobb Co. Parks and Recreation Volunteer of the Year, GA Soccer Volunteer of the Year and the United Way “Heart in Hand” recipient, she has also been named a GA Soccer Life Member. Susanne recently played a leading role in removing travel barriers between GA and her neighbors, by negotiating travel agreements within the region; our region was the first in the nation to remove travel restrictions from teams moving from state to state for tournament play. She has put GA Soccer in the forefront of soccer in the US with her hard work and innovative programs.

Susanne Conlon works a full time job yet finds the time, with pleasure and a smiling face to volunteer her services and knowledge of the game of soccer to the youth in GA. Susanne is an example of selflessness shown by her devotion to all children in her community. Her boundless energy is an inspiration to all who know her. Whether she is throwing showers for friends from work, collecting and distributing school supplies for children in public housing, preparing dinners for inner-city boy scouts or on the field of play … Susanne is never too busy to lend a helping hand. Susanne Conlon is a hero to Georgia Soccer.