Spread the word of inclusion: Unified Soccer

Andrea Vasquez

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Unified soccer took state on May 4, 2019 at Skyridge High School. Hillcrest High School has two different teams, team Hillcrest and team Huskies. Both teams played three games.

Hillcrest played Jordan and lost 1-5. They then played Toelle and lost 0-2. Lastly, they played Northridge and won with a score of 2-0.

Head captain of the Hillcrest Team, Sofia Herrera, said, “I have played for all four years. Before I played unified, I was already playing soccer. I have been playing since I was 10. I always knew unified was a great club because my sister played but actually being on the field was different, of course. I wanted to win but It wasn’t about me anymore. I wanted to win for the athletes because seeing their smiles is enough for me.”
Huskies played Grantsville first and won 2-1. Then, they played Northridge and won 4-2. Their last game was against Toelle and they lost 1-3.

A player on the Huskies team, Suzet Loya, said, “This is my first year playing unified soccer and I have loved it. I felt great helping my athletes score and seeing them smile. When i heard about unified soccer, I thought it was going to be a great opportunity to do what I like the most, helping people and playing soccer.”

Since Herrera became the LIA president, she has had the opportunity to show her peers what it is like to be a part of the team. She says, “One of the best things about my job is recruiting. Melanie Perez is a partner who did awesome this year. She came in not knowing anything about soccer but she always came with a smile.”

The athletes are the best part of the game and seeing the partners step up and help out is inspiring. Loya said, “Auhia is such a goof and fun to be around. He always has the most positive attitude and he always puts a smile on my face.”

Unified soccer has been at Hillcrest for 6 years now. Head coach, Shannon Hurst said, “My favorite part about unified soccer is the awareness it’s bringing in spreading inclusion in sports, which leads to off the field inclusion as well. I love seeing how it impacts our partner athletes just as much as our athletes with disabilities.”

Overall, both the teams played well this season. Toelle came out on top and placed first place, Huskies placed second, and Hillcrest placed third.

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