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Unified Soccer season comes to a close

Unified Soccer has final game of season on Saturday

By Jared Debban

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Unified has their last game of the season Saturday at Wilsonville High School. They’d appreciate a cheering section.

 

This season Unified Soccer has once again brought students together with another successful soccer season. The team filled with athletes eager to play and students willing to partner up with these athletes.

 

Unified Sports is an arm of Special Olympics. They were set up through the U.S Office of Special Education Programs. They use the programs as a way to build inclusion and tolerance in schools.

 

Tigard has continued to push for inclusivity and a team atmosphere that helps the athletes grow and stay active. The Unified program allows student athletes to work with a team and a partner while competing with other athletes and learning skills such as teamwork while enjoying the sun and playing soccer.

 

The partners’ roles in the program are to help these students while they are playing and to help teach them the skills they need to play. Everyone is on the same team, so they all want to help each other to perform to the best of their ability.

 

The program has done a lot for the partners involved and has helped them to grow in many different ways. Senior Morgan Truair has been involved with the program for a few years and her experience with the program has been amazing. The program has continued to grow and become much more than just soccer. “To me unified is more than soccer; it’s about breaking barriers and pushing boundaries,” Truair said. “It’s about showing the athletes that they are so much more than what the world says they can be.”

 

The program includes all students at Tigard High School. The team includes all athletes and focuses on a team atmosphere. Unified sports are different in that they incorporate both athletes with and without disabilities on the sports field. “Unified Sports provides opportunities for inclusive activities after the school days ends. The athletes and partners compete in a variety of sporting events with nearby schools,” coach Danielle Johnson said.

 

Students that have been a part of Unified continue to play and come back to join the team each season. The experience for them is one that makes them want to return. Tigard also works on including everyone and making Unified a fun sport anyone can be involved in.

 

“We put such an emphasis on including everyone,”  Coach Brad Franklin said. “I really think we also have the most fun out of all of the schools. We definitely eat the most snacks on the sidelines too.”

Unified is all about inclusivity and brings an atmosphere that is welcoming for students, athletes, parents, teachers, and coaches alike. Many athletes love the program and continue to play season after season. “I am happy to be in a good environment; it is fun and people are happy,” athlete Audra Renshaw said.

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