United by a Love of the Game

By Benjamin Lennon

July 3, 2018

Monday night at Husky Soccer Stadium felt a lot like a trip through the Seattle soccer hall of fame as Kasey Keller, Roger Levesque, and Jess Fishlock were introduced to the crowd. But when the whistle blew, the names fell away and the attention quickly turned to the pitch.

These soccer legends, along with others from the Seattle sports scene, took part in the Unified Soccer Experience at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. Unified Soccer brings players with and without intellectual disabilities onto the same team to promote inclusion in sports.

The starting whistle was a reminder for all of the athletes on the field that their similarities were much stronger than their differences. For once the whistle started, it didn’t matter what level of soccer you had played, or how many championships you’d won. What mattered was your effort and your courage.

The matches on Monday night made it clear that all of the athletes were united by one thing - their love of the game. Whether they were celebrating a last-second, game-winning goal or encouraging each other to never give up, they united as teams. By including everyone, each team made it clear that, even if they didn’t win, they would surely be brave in the attempt.