Soccer player’s off-field work celebrated
by Tyler Spinnenweber
tspinnenweber@cherokeetribune.com
January 25, 2014 01:35 AM | 1301 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Harpal Sagoo
Harpal Sagoo
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River Ridge senior Harpal Sagoo was recognized for not only his skills on the soccer field, but for what he does in the community.

Sagoo was recently named the Georgia Soccer’s TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year.

TOPSoccer — The Outreach Program for Soccer — is a community-based training program designed to reach and meet the needs of children ages 4-19 with physical and/or mental disabilities.

According to the TOPSoccer website, the program “caters to player development rather than competition” and moves special-needs children off the sidelines and onto the field. The goal is to promote being part of a team, improving self-esteem and fitness and having fun.

Sagoo was surprised by winning the award.

“My coach just nominated me for the award and I had no idea,” he said. “I am humbled that I was considered for such a prestigious honor, though, and I am really excited that I won it. It means a lot.”

Sagoo said he enjoys helping out, and he showed his dedication as the only teenager on the fields with TOPSoccer each Sunday. Sagoo said he takes pride in seeing the progress the children with their skills made each week, and the smiles on their faces was the best part of all.

River Ridge guidance counselor Jeff Bennett praised Sagoo’s work.

“Harpal has really stepped up the past two years with the program,” Bennett said. “Harpal coordinates games, smiles, gives high-fives, and the kids love him. Harpal works 10 weeks in the fall and spring, and he will come help set up and warm-up while helping clean and putting away equipment as well.”

River Ridge principal Dan Herring said Sagoo is a great role model.

“Harpal is an excellent student and is a strong academic leader by being involved in the community like TOPSoccer,” Herring said. “Many of our students help in the area, but Harpal is very faithful in being a partner with the organization. He is an outstanding young man with a very bright future ahead of him.”

River Ridge boys soccer coach Terry Strassner said Sagoo was a very worthy recipient of the award.

“Harpal has been a varsity goalie since his sophomore year,” Strassner said. “I have also had him as a student, where he has consistently had the highest averages in the classes. Harpal is a leader in the classroom and on the field, and I, as well as everyone else, has been fortunate to have him a part of their life.”

Sagoo will be recognized at a Georgia Soccer luncheon Feb. 1. He plans to attend Georgia Tech after graduation, with hopes of becoming an engineer.
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