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Unified Sports Middle School Soccer League wraps up successful season

Middle school students play soccer

Papillion La Vista Community Schools participated in a newly developed middle school Unified Sports Soccer League who competed against other school districts from the Omaha metro area this September and October.

PLCS had two teams of students in the league from both Papillion Middle School and Liberty Middle School. The teams competed against teams from Logan, Mission, Platteview, Bellevue, and more. 

"We've been wanting to do this for a couple of years," Unified Sports Soccer Sponsor Lisa Masters said.

students play soccer

She explained Bellevue contacted them over the summer and invited PLCS to join in on the new league.

Special Olympics Unified Sports is an inclusive program which combines individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and individuals without intellectual disabilties (partners) on sports teams for training and competition. Special Olympics funded the league by paying for coaches through Midwest Community Soccer and providing custom jerseys.

"I put out an all call for students who would be willing to be a part of the program and I had a ridiculous amount of kids respond," Masters said.

Papillion Middle School students Ashley Mejia and Myles Thomas have been partnered up for the season.

"I definitely recommend it. It's really fun to get to know other kids that aren't in classes with you and get to know their personality," Mejia explained.

"My friends are here," Thomas said.

"Do you want to go back and score?" Mejia asked Thomas. "Yes!" was his reply. 

Terence Kiernan of Liberty Middle and Jada Davila of Papillion Middle both volunteered to participate in the league.

"I really like that everyone is nice, good sportsmanship, you know - all of the good stuff!" Kiernan said. 

Davila has been playing soccer since she was three-years-old. 

"But it is just cool to come out here help disabled kids feel good about themselves," Davila said.

Throughout the season Kiernan has learned that some of the athletes don't want to play so the partners need to encourage them and help them out.

Masters has no doubt the league will continue throughout the years. 

The season started on September 12 and ended on October 17.