I’m back again! My name is Angie Bounds and I’m the charity coordinator for the Emerald City Supporters (ECS), the largest supporters group for Seattle Sounders FC. The ECS began a charity partnership with Special Olympics Washington in 2012, focusing on their soccer program. For those who don’t know about the Special Olympics Unified Soccer program, it is amazing! Schools throughout the Seattle and surrounding areas create teams that combine both athletes with and without intellectual disabilities and bonds them through the love of soccer. Special Olympics Washington has also partnered with Seattle Sounders FC and has lead the charge of spreading unified teams throughout the MLS.
This year, Special Olympics Unified Soccer has stepped up to a new level. They were invited to bring a team down to represent the USA at the “1 Torneo Centro Americano y del Caribe de Futbol Unificadas Especiales, Costa Rica.” (1st Central American and Caribbean Unified Special Olympics Football Tournament.) An opportunity to bring our athletes and unified partners to an international level and to proudly represent our country in a competition against the following countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Ecuador, and Paraguay.
Preparation began months ago, as athletes were chosen and paired up with unified partner athletes from the Sounders FC pre-academy. Coach Andrew Saldaña helped whip our guys into shape by having them train at Anytime Fitness West Seattle, a gym owned by him and his brothers. The months passed by fast, as the team practiced their full field game, and before they knew it, it was time to head out. Heading out with them? ME! I will be following everything the team does, both on the pitch and off, photographing and videotaping all the best moments. Along with Twitter postings, I’ll be blogging about our experiences. Follow Special Olympics Washington on Twitter at @SO_Washington and keep checking this blog for new postings. I’m aiming for one blog a day, but it will depend on wifi access. Twitter will have more current updates of the matches. For general travel Tweets (also fun to see) follow my personal Twitter at @angelinebounds.
I hope you will all follow our journey! Whether it’s our first time out of the country or the fifth, this is guaranteed to be a once in a lifetime trip! ¡Adiós!