Central Point, Ore., — A soccer team from Central Point is still celebrating after winning the state championship this week in Portland.
The team has some players with special needs.
“Unified” is a program that joins developmentally challenged students with regular ed students on a sports team.
Crater Lake High School started the program this year. The girls varsity soccer players chose to participate.
“Was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever gotten. It kinda impacted me a lot because just because they have disabilities doesn’t mean they’re any different than us,” said Hunter Ironside.
“I didn’t really think about it like they had disabilities. It was just soccer. Another day playing soccer out on the field,” said Skyelir Reed
And it was just as much a life changing experience for the students as it was for the coaches.
“Unified soccer to me has really sparked a new coaching passion because it was the first time all players really loved the game and wanted to be there and we were all working for one goal,” said coach Rianna Lee
Those with disabilities will tell you, being a part of the team, makes all of the difference in the world.
“I liked being on the team to get to know people better and meet new people.” said Lindsay Stembeck.
“Made a lot of friends and used them as a team work. That absolutely made me happy.” said Kingsley Sandoval
The team says winning was just the cherry on top. The school plans to add on to the program this fall with basketball.
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