Whitney High School Athletics


Unified Sports Soccer Spooktacular


Whitney Update | 10/26/2016

PHOTO CREDIT: Whitney High School Athletics

The first Unified Sports Soccer Spooktacular will give intellectually disabled high school students the opportunity to play soccer in front of their peers. Due to weather conditions, the Oct. 28 event will take place in the WHS gymnasiums.
Event coordinator and study skills teacher Mr. Nicholas French explains what kinds of students will participate.
“Unified Sports is an inclusive sports program that unifies Special Olympics athletes, individuals with intellectual disabilities and individuals without, as teammates for training and competition,” French said.
This event aims to bring the community together, by including high school students from Rocklin, Granite Bay, Del Oro, Antelope, Roseville, Woodcreek, Oakmont, as well as Whitney.
“It’s the first [sporting event] of its kind in Placer County, and it’s also the first time we have had schools from all over Placer County come together to compete together in the Unified Sports model,” French said.
The athletes playing in the Spooktacular have been preparing by practicing during school hours.
“We practice during the lifetime sports third period P.E. class. Coach Michael Gimenez and myself lead the class, and the kids are great,” French said.
French is determined to allow kids with disabilities to be able to have the same spotlight as any other student would.
“The purpose of this event is to give these kids their own opportunity to shine. My whole goal is getting our school involved with this to bring [Whitney] together. We have many different students on campus and every single one of them is special. Everyone should have their time to shine and the Unified Sports program provides that chance to our students with intellectual disabilities to shine,” French said.
“I am really excited to play because I haven’t had the chance to play soccer in a long time, and especially have the opportunity to play in front of my school for my school means a lot. My goal is to do my best and have fun with my friends, and i think we are all really prepared. It also means a lot to me that Mr. Gimenez and Mr. French to have taken the time to put this event together for us,” said Spooktacular athlete Kaleb Ross.
ASB has made the Unified Sports soccer tournament an X-Factor event and is encouraging the whole campus to get involved.
“The goal is for the students participating to feel the excitement of being able to play in front of their friends and families, as well as to hopefully make a nationwide impact like the Unified basketball game last year,” X-Factor Co-Commissioner Amanda Rowe said.
Students are encouraged to come down to the stadium, dressed in a costume, to watch the Spooktacular and cheer on the athletes.
“Leadership treats the Unified Games the same as any other X-Factor event making as much possible to have a big crowd out supporting our Wildcats. It’s super easy for WHS students to be involved, and it’s really just about being there to support players and making it a big deal for each and every one of them. It’s easy for the community to be involved by just coming to support and cheer on every athlete, giving everyone the recognition they deserve,” Rowe said.
The Unified Sports Soccer Spooktacular will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parts of the opening ceremony will be streamed live on Twitter and Facebook for those unable to attend in person. Various organizations and businesses are coming together to highlight students with intellectual disabilities.
French said, “We are happy and appreciative that Chick-Fil-A has come together to donate all the lunches to every athlete. We will also have representatives from the Rocklin Police Department, Rocklin Fire Department and the school board.”