Unified in spirit and connected on the field

LSHS’s Unified Soccer Team makes its debut


Julia Kiehn

Game ready: Grace, Riley and Alexandra walk to their van to travel to their soccer game. The Unified Soccer Team has been training for these games and working together as a team. “I like listening to music and singing,” said Riley Smith.

The Unified Soccer Team was created this year to give every student a chance to play the sport they love. It is a fusion between students who are developmentally disabled and able-bodied students. This team provides students with the opportunity to be out on the field and have fun. They operate in partnership with the Special Olympics and they have been providing startup fundraising for the past 1-2 years, sustaining the equipment and competitors to get this program up and running.

Ciain loads up in the van. (Julia Kiehn)

Participating in team sports brings satisfaction to the team members.

“I like to get to know all the teammates and make connections with them,” senior Kaylie Austin said.

Kaylie, Riley, Grace and Monserrat prepare to travel to Edmonds-Woodway on game day. (Julia Keihn)

Players are able to hang out on the field and they come together in ways they may not otherwise.

Playing on the Unified Soccer Team provides some of the players with the opportunity to play on the big field. In order to be prepared for game day, these athletes practice everyday to ensure they have great experience on the field and feel good about their efforts.

“I kicked the ball and scored a goal,” junior Riley Smith said.

Grace, Kaylie, Riley and Monserrat are ready to go. (Julia Kiehn)

It gives kids a chance to go out there and play. Like any game situation, sometimes everyone plays well together and gets the win, and others offer more challenges if people have an off day.

“We’re coordinated in some ways and some ways not,” senior Harley Bentz said.

Alexandra, Kiley, Cain and Makaela pause for a photo opp before heading out. (Julia Kiehn)

With a team full of diverse backgrounds and soccer skills, there are times on the field where the team is working together with great coordination. And, like any team, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.

The team is playing real soccer with some slight changes to rules to include everybody. The Unified Vikings play against other schools within Wesco, and they get to take bus rides to places and truly be a student athlete.

The team is open to anyone who would like to join and be a part of this supportive team. You can contact Mr. Solbakken for more information about signing up. This is an amazing team that is taking place, and everyone should come and show their support for the LSHS Unified Soccer Team. This is a great place for everyone to grow outside of their bubble and expand their horizons by meeting a variety of people from diverse backgrounds.