Unified Soccer


Kyle Coffee

Unified sports is at it again this quarter as they are gearing up for a fun soccer season that hopes to be an amazing experience for everyone on the team.

Unified sports is a team at Hamilton that provides those with mental disabilities the chance to play on a sports team or their very own. Joining them are several other students and coaches that want to help them succeed and learn as much as they can about teamwork and staying active. Each quarter, they begin playing a different sport. For instance, they played flag football during the fall and will begin track and field once soccer season ends. After all of the practice after school, they go head to head against other Unified teams from other schools to see who reigns supreme.

The way they play soccer is a little bit different compared to other soccer leagues. Instead of 11 men on the field for each team, they have six players on each side during the game, four athletes and two partners. Playing this way ensures that no one has to play the entire game while also staying safe.

Soccer player and volunteer, Gracie Stansberry (12), discussed the differences she noticed saying, “This way makes sure that everyone is safe and have fun at the same time. The Unified team can’t have eleven players on the field at once so it’s better to have four on with some partners to help them out. Everyone seems to enjoy it the same.”  One thing is for sure, all players have the same amount of fun, if not more.

The volunteers that join to be partners for their new teammates take time out of their day to practice and compete with all the disabled athletes wanting to try the sport. They help the coaches teach these kids all about sportsmanship and teamwork while also learning a little about it themselves.

Unified soccer player, Marissa Caldwell (12), talks about her reason for joining saying, “I really wanted to stay active and this seemed like the most fun doing that. All of the kids are so sweet and really try their best on the field. This really feels like a team that has fun and support each other on and off the field. I wanted to help them do just that.” Marissa, along with others on the team, all have different reasons for being on the team, but there willingness to support others trying something new trumps all.

As their season rolls on, we wish all the athletes on the Unified soccer team the best in the rest of their games and can’t wait to see them represent our school with the traditional husky pride.