Soccer championship unifies kids with and without disabilities

Hadas Kuznits
May 30, 2018 - 5:02 pm
Area high schools participated in the sixth annual Unified Soccer Championship at George Washington High School, where students with and without intellectual disabilities play on the same team.

Hadas Kuznits | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Amazing things happen when you put people with and without intellectual disabilities together on the same team, says Chase Trimer.

"It's really all about promoting inclusion," said Trimer, director of Special Olympics Philadelphia. "Our students with intellectual disabilities are promoted, [they] build confidence, self-esteem, and our students who are partners — those without intellectual disabilities — are learning to be supportive peers."

Area high schools participated in the sixth annual Unified Soccer Championship at George Washington High School, where students with and without intellectual disabilities play on the same team.

Trimer said playing together over the course of a season has changed some players' attitudes.

"We've seen some partners who have used language like the 'R word' in the past that now through this Unified Sports experience, have recognized the danger and how language like that can really hurt others," he said.

Unified Soccer player Marquis Brown said he loves the sport, especially with this group.

"I made some new friends because, you know, trying to get to know the good people and stuff," he said, adding that the experience has been "super incredible."

Player Jalen Williams said he's made a diverse group of friends through the league.

"I'm on a team full of people that are trying their best," he said. "They're not perfect, but they're still out here having fun."