About Us

WHO WE ARE

THE SPORTS LEAGUE WHERE EVERYONE WINS

Spirit League is a safe place where your athlete can be him or herself.

Spirit League is 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 physical fitness for higher functioning but developmentally challenged boys and girls, ages 6-22 years, in southern Orange County, California.

We have goals for both our athletes and parents. 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 team sports due to one or more of the following challenges:

  • Learning disabilities;
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders; 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.

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

MEET THE STAFF

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Melissa Cory
President, Board of Directors
Occupational Therapist
Andrew Vander Dussen
Vice President, Board of Directors
MRI Field Engineer, GE Healthcare
Cathy Sullivan
Secretary, Board of Directors
Special Education Teacher
John Stout
Board of Directors
Adapted Physical Education Teacher
Santa Ana Unified School District
Sam Lau
Board of Directors

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

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.

PARTNERS in 2016 and 2017

Pacific Life Foundation 

Pacific Life – Life Insurance Division

 

McBeth Foundation

Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation

Mitsubishi Electric DREAM Committee

 

Autism Speaks

 

 Ueberroth Family Foundation

National Talk

About Curing Autism

Conference

House of Blinds, Laguna Hills

 

 Adams & Associates, APLC
Mike and Leslie Echolds

Ken Segroves

Vicki Hartman

Kim-Lie Dang

James Horvitz

Denise Beck

Keith Kichline

Jeffrey Weyant

Ross Nakayama

Toshiro Ozawa

Jami Torgeson

Suyon Morgan-Stennett

Dana Dinica

Kelli Brock

Claudia Thurston

Chi Nyugen

Mark Delp

Aurora Knight

Lisa Curran

Dana Halle

Mary Amsden

Mosconi Family

Sarah ThompsonJennifer Puebla

Hongiun Liu

Martha Pedroza

Jacqueline Polanco

Michael Kinney

Peter Honer

Pat Alexander

Katie Barrios

Rammy Bahalul

Helen Wang

Won Byon

Cathy Waldman

Carol Koenigsberg

Deborah Molina

Susan Suh

Tracy Nguyen

Sarah Lawsky

David Gaarsoe

Theresa Sperle

Vamsi Paidi

Megan Clark

Matthew Brown

Ginny Berg

Metin Demircioglu

Lynda Taylor

Sam McDermott

Sean Kim

James Favero

Cedric Choan

Cristin Riedel

Marie Toney

Angela Wu

Melissa Zipnick

Kristie Skorina

Mikyung Park

Robert Shumski

Paul Lin

Karen Stockl

Kathleen Hughes

Steven Katzma

BECOME A COACH

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.

JOIN US NOW

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