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Nebraska soccer team wins national title

Sioux City Journal - 7/10/2018

South Sioux City's Unified Special Olympic soccer team took the gold medal at the National Special Olympics in Seattle on July 5. The team is comprised of five Special Olympians and 6 Unified Partners (friends or siblings of the players). The state title was earned in August of 2017 and the team has been practicing ever since.

Team Nebraska had pool play against Georgia, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia in the top division. On July 2, it played Georgia winning 6-1 and beat District of Columbia 3-1. On July 3, Team Nebraska defeated Pennsylvania 4-1, and on July 4 it played District Columbia losing 4-3.

That meant Nebraska needed to win the next two games to secure the title. Nebraska defeat Districted of Columbia 4-0 in the morning and 4-1 in the afternoon on July 5 to claim the title.

Throughout the games there are many events held for the athletes to attend. Healthy Athletes enables athletes to get a free vision exam and glasses if needed; free dental care is also offered. A very fun filled Fourth of July party brought together athletes from all over the United States.

Team Nebraska is considered an elite team, showcasing athletes Eryc Bravo, Rickey Rodrigues, Devon Conley, Damion Rodrigues, and Seth Luesebrink. Unified Partners are Aldo Bravo, Eric Galvan, Edson Irineo, Adrian Ramos, David Montes, and Andy Gomes. The team is coached by Ivan Nuno, former athlete and now coach Jose Uribe and head coach Marla Grier.

Team Nebraska won the top prize in 2010, 2014, and 2016. This win makes the fourth national title it has won. Most of the unified partners have been playing on this team since 2014 and have worked very hard with the athletes to build the skills they now play with.


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