Unified Soccer ties for championship


Photo By Ryan G. Mason

Combined photo of both boys and girls Unified Soccer Teams.

Gavin Mancha, Staff Writer

Centra’s Unified Soccer team closed out its Fall season as co-champions this year with the Buchanan Bears.

Pam Dietz, a Unified coach, and physical education teacher at East says, “Being a part of this program has just opened my eyes to the talent we have at Central. Disability or not, we have students that want and need to be involved.  Everyone respects each other’s needs and talents, and from all this, friendships are created.”

United Soccer gives varsity soccer players and special education students the opportunity to work together. They earn victories for our school while training athletes of all ability levels to be the best they can be.  Due to this unique mentoring relationship, the United Soccer team has done more than win athletic matches.

According to faculty coaches, student coaches and athletes alike, this program has brought athletes together at Central and beyond. Throughout the season, the program has opened up many eyes, traversing the boundary between varied ability levels and creating unity between students athletes from all over Fresno. Coach Dietz has been a part of this program from the day it began and says she’s driven to do even more after seeing how much the kids love to be out there interacting with kids from schools across town.

Since the Unified Soccer program is fairly new, they are seeking out additional students to serve as coaches and members of this athletic team. Existing members report it’s undeniably rewarding. Senior varsity girls soccer player and United coach Brianna Martin says, “I hope that there are more athletes interested in participating in Unified Soccer as well as coaches.”

Having people to volunteer and to spend time with the kids is the primary concern for this program. In the next season athletes and coaches look forward to another championship but more than anything, they just want new members to enjoy the experience and get more involved.