On September 24, Holy Cross Athletics and sponsor CKSmithSuperior partnered with the Special Olympics Massachusetts to create an inclusive day of soccer and sportsmanship. Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams joined forces with Special Olympics athletes, taking them through a series of warmups and drills, ending the day with scrimmages.
"CKSmithSuperior and its staff are committed in supporting Central Massachusetts and our local communities,” said Anthony Santoro Jr., general manager for CKSmithSuperior. “We are proud to have partnered with Holy Cross and the Special Olympics to be part of this successful event.”
Special Olympics teams from Seven Hills, Shrewsbury, Westborough and Fitchburg took part in the three-hour clinic.
“Special Olympics Massachusetts was thrilled to team up with the student-athletes at Holy Cross to provide a soccer skills day for our athletes,” said Matt Ruxton, Vice President of Sports for the organization. “Any time our athletes can share the field or court with their peers that participate in the highest level of athletics, it’s a win-win for both groups and shows the power of inclusion and the Play Unified movement.”
Student-athletes at Holy Cross face the same challenges and responsibilities as they would at any other Division I institution. They balance rigorous academic and athletic commitments and are expected to excel on both levels. These student-athletes also embrace living the Holy Cross mission, every day remembering to ask “what are our obligations to one another?”
“Being able to participate in Special Olympics soccer was such a special experience,” said men’s soccer senior Brad Ross. “The simple act of playing soccer helped create a special bond with the Special Olympics athletes. The look on their faces when they scored a goal made the day. It is so important that we continue to participate in events like these as athletes at Holy Cross.”
As men and women for and with others, Holy Cross student-athletes are passionate about community engagement.
“I believe it was a successful event for everyone,” said head men’s soccer coach Marco Koolman. “It was a great day for our soccer players to spend time together with all the participants. The opportunity to engage with the community, and the opportunity to make these people smile was fantastic.”
Special Olympics Massachusetts and Holy Cross Athletics hope to make this an annual event.
“We look forward to working with the student-athletes of Holy Cross again and to build out a lasting partnership between the student-athletes of Holy Cross and the athletes of Special Olympics Massachusetts,” said Ruxton.