Beautiful game makes for beautiful moments with Unified Soccer team
The Unified Soccer season kicked off its 2019 schedule, and the Quincy Jacks Unified Soccer team rose to the occasion in more than one way.
First, there were the two games of the round-robin at Ephrata’s Kiwanis field. The Jacks thumped Othello 8-1 and then beat Moses Lake 8-6.
Then, there were the jerseys, brand-new duds with “Quincy Unified Soccer” on the front, making the team look sharp both on and off the field.
“Those, Mr. Boyd bought for us,” the team’s head coach Therese (TREE-suh) Sawyer said, crediting Quincy superintendent of public schools John Boyd for the purchase.
Then, there were the numbers. Twelve students suited up for Quincy Unified Soccer, five athletes and seven partners.
The partners are able-bodied students, and the athletes are intellectually-challenged students, teaming up to play the world’s most popular game and to, above all, have a blast.
“It was awesome, because last year, we got to our last game and we had two partners and one got injured halfway through the first game and it was horrible. So having seven is going to be marvelous,” Sawyer said.
Between dance steps, smiles and a million high-fives, the team’s camaraderie shone through, and left Ephrata not just undefeated to start the season but convinced that something special is afoot.
Players like Alex Gutierrez, Kylie Breeden, Clara Valencia and Diego Torres all scored goals, with Gutierrez leaving Ephrata with six goals to his name, and Torres and Valencia with three each.
“We couldn’t have won these games without Laurisa, our wonderful goalkeeper,” Sawyer wrote in an email, referring to Laurisa Motzkus, gatekeeper for the Jacks.
Then, on April 15, the team participated in Team Up to Clean Up, an event where spring sports student-athletes take to the streets of Quincy to clean them up.
The Unified Soccer team, tasked with cleaning the streets closest to the school, collected the most trash along with the golf team, and received pizzas as a reward.
“It’s wonderful news, but it’s sad that there’s that much trash around the high school,” Sawyer said with a laugh.
It’s unknown how many slices that first-place finish qualified Stacia Sarty to get, since she plays for both the Unified Soccer team and the golf team.
Next up for the team is another round-robin at Othello on April 20.
Since that’s the day of Quincy High School’s prom, the Quincy team will play the first two games of the day, “so we can leave as soon as we are finished,” Sawyer said. The Unified Soccer team from QHS will attend prom as a group this year.
“We did it three years ago, and it’s a lot of fun when the team goes to prom together,” she said.
The team will host a home game during the season, but the date is still unclear. A tentative date for the game at Jaycee Stadium is April 24 at 6 p.m.
“It’s not confirmed,” Sawyer wrote in a text message, “but it’s a good date for us.”
By Sebastian Moraga, email@example.com