The Nashville SC Unified Team is set to take on the Chicago Fire FC Unified Team to complete the home-and-home series that kicked off in May. That match, which ended in a 3-1 victory for Nashville SC Unified, kicked off the first of many matches ahead for the squad.
On Friday, the Nashville SC Unified traveled to Chicago and enjoyed spending time with their friends from Special Olympics Illinois and Chicago Fire FC Unified. The two teams experienced a Seadog speedboat tour of Chicago on Lake Michigan and then enjoyed dinner at Giordano's on Navy Pier.
"The boat was pretty fun," said Ahmad Amedi. "We met up with the Chicago Fire FC Unified Team and got to hang out with them. The boat was fast, it was windy and it was fun. I enjoyed the pizza and pasta at Giordano's Pizza, too."
"The boat ride was like a rocket as it goes super fast," said Bryan Fisher. "It's fun to meet new people and spend time with them this weekend."
Before the match, the team also met up with the Nashville SC first team for a meet and greet with Major League Soccer (MLS) players. It's an experience they'll never forget.
"It's pretty incredible," said Amedi. "I got my jersey signed after breakfast and I was really excited."
Going into the match, with Chicago hosting this time around, the challenge between the two teams was initiated by Coach Andy of Chicago Fire FC Unified. The wager with Special Olympics Tennessee (SOTN) President and CEO Adam Germek is that the team that comes up short on Saturday has to do 50 push-ups plus five more for the difference in the final score. The wager in the first game was Nashville hot chicken vs a Chicago-style hot dog.
"I'm feeling confident," said Germek. "The team has been training hard, and I'm just looking forward to a great game."
The two teams will meet at Soldier Field, located on Special Olympics Drive. The stadium holds tremendous historic value to the Special Olympics community, where on July 20, 1968, the first-ever Special Olympics International Summer Games were held. About 1,000 athletes participated in over 200 events during that historic moment.
"As a parent and a staff member, and being here with this team in this historic place, it's so special," said Germek. It's something that started the Special Olympics movement. It started the inclusion movement, and it makes it all the more meaningful for our athletes and their families."
The two teams meeting again signifies how important the growth of Unified Sports is when it comes to Special Olympics continuing to evolve to serve its community. We are seeing a paradigm shift in the sports community, and it is amazing to see so many Unified Partners truly understanding what it means to be a part of the Unified Generation.
"It's such a good experience for athletes and partners," said Chris Parks. "It keeps me humble and reminds me of how much I need to be grateful for to have this experience on the team.
The match takes place Saturday, July 8 at Soldier Field immediately following the first team match that kicks off at 7:30 PM.
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