A Unified Cause

He Scores!!

Marshfield’s Unified Athletic Team gives students with special needs the opportunity to play sports with their peers. Last week on October 1st they took the field with a new opponent: the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Buccaneers Men’s Soccer team for an evening of soccer and pizza.

Organized by Kim Bouressa and the Marshfield Recreation Department, the Unified Team partners special needs students with students from the school’s athletic teams for soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and kickball in the spring. The program began five years ago and meets almost every week, often playing against teams from other towns. Like varsity and junior varsity athletes, the unified team members wear their uniforms on game days, and enjoy pizza with their teammates and families after matches. Bouressa said it’s mutually beneficial for the athletes and the unified partners, as both groups get to meet different kids with different experiences.  

About a dozen members of the JV soccer team, along with 30 athletes with special needs, made the trip down to MMA, where they played a game and enjoyed a pizza party. The trip to MMA had special importance for another member of the Bouressa family, Kim’s son Brendan, who is a freshman on the MMA soccer team. After playing on the unified team since its inception, he was now their competitor.  Mass Maritime’s head coach, Greg Perry, a Marshfield resident, said his players had a blast. “Obviously, it’s a great way for us to reach out to the community and help out a little bit,” Perry said. “It’s a different side, seeing the kids with special needs and their capabilities. Everyone who is part of that team is unique; and it gives our kids a chance to see how fortunate they really are to have their health.”

Plans are already in the works for a rematch next year.

Article by James Kukstis was excerpted from original.