O'Connell's Soccer Club takes off

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Students and staff at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington have rallied around the newest club — the Soccer Club — established earlier this fall to help form a Special Olympics soccer team.

Nine students who receive expanded services at O’Connell diligently practiced to prepare for three Special Olympic tournaments in the area. They practiced once a week by themselves and once with the boys or girls varsity soccer teams and their coaches. The team was coached by two volunteer teachers — science teacher Christine McGowan and art teacher Trent Jones.

Andrew Rosia, a senior on the varsity boys’ soccer team, commented on how much he enjoyed practicing with the Special Olympics team, saying, “It brought me joy to see the smiles on their faces after they scored a goal.”

During tournament play, everyone on the team was able to contribute, sharing in the team’s success. The final tournament of the season was the “Under the Lights Invitational” soccer tournament, hosted by the Options Program at St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax. At the end of the night, the O’Connell players were awarded medals and were cheered on by a contingent of the school’s “O-Zone” spirit club.

"It was awesome because we worked as a team,” said freshman goalie Patrick White.

"I was proud of our team and Patrick was a fabulous goalie," said junior Henry Hamilton.

They both agreed it felt great to have so many friends come out and cheer for them. “It was so nice to see all rival schools come together to cheer on their classmates at this very special and very fun tournament,” said senior Christina Fomunyoh, who came out to cheer on the O’Connell squad.

“The O’Connell school community embraced this new team,” said Expanded Services Director Susan Rinaldi. “From the varsity soccer teams, to the volunteer coaches, to the students who came out to cheer — everyone was all in.”

As the soccer season winds down, this group of students and coaches are setting their sights on the upcoming basketball season. Last year’s Basketball Club was a great success. The team worked on their skills after school with varsity boys and girls basketball teams, and played one game in front of a packed crowd prior to a varsity game. Working together, these students built new friendships among players from both teams.

This year’s Basketball Club members are looking forward to getting in a few more Special Olympics games and they are excited about the future club.

 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018