Special calling for soccer from special young lady
Fifteen-year-old Castle Pines resident Claire Green was selected by the Colorado Rapids to play as a partner athlete for its Special Olympics Unified Soccer Team this summer.
By Kathy Fallert; photo courtesy of Special Olympics Colorado
Tapestry Hills resident and Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) sophomore Claire Green was recently selected as part of the Colorado Rapids Special Olympics Unified (CRSOU) soccer team as a partner athlete. Green will be travelling with the Rapids this summer to Dallas and Los Angeles and will be spending a lot of time playing the sport she loves.
Green has played recreational soccer for ten years and was looking for a summer program when her mom heard about this intriguing and rewarding option. Green will be playing soccer all summer with disabled teenagers from the Denver area as well as non-disabled partner athletes from up and down the Front Range between the ages of 15 and 25.
CRSOU will play against other Special Olympics teams from California, Texas, Oregon, and Washington. This program has expanded during the past two seasons, and in the third year the roster will include 15 Special Olympic athletes, 15 partners, and a staff of seven volunteer coaches.
In order to make the team, Green attended a two hour try out at Dick’s Sporting Good Field in Commerce City where they evaluated her soccer skills as well as her personality. Finding kids with a positive attitude both on and off the field is essential. Twenty-eight were selected from more than 100 competing youths to participate in this group, which is sponsored and funded by the Colorado Rapids.
This experience is very exciting for all the kids involved as they get to play at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, hang out in the same locker room as the Rapids players, see themselves on the jumbotron, get a photo shoot, work with very talented coaches, and most importantly make friends with other athletes. The combination of disabled and non-disabled players truly bridges the social gap that often occurs under other circumstances.
Green commented, “Playing Unified Soccer with the Special Olympics will give me the opportunity to play the sport I love with some very wonderful people. I am looking forward to playing soccer in an environment that is both challenging and rewarding. I feel privileged to be able to play so closely with the Colorado Rapids players and coaches as well as my amazing teammates!”
To find out more about opportunities with Special Olympics Colorado, visit www.specialolympicsco.org.