Fifteen athletes and Unified partners will be representing Nashville SC and Special Olympics Tennessee in Chicago on July 8 for their match against Chicago Fire FC’s Unified team. Coach Misty Germek is excited to aid in new experiences and lifelong memories for her athletes and Unified partners.
Germek played soccer for many years, including the collegiate level at the University of Montana, Missoula, and has coached at the club level for 30. During her coaching years, she was eager to discover resources and activities for her child to participate in, especially in sports. She wanted to give her child all of the opportunities possible, and Special Olympics Tennessee became a place for her to do so.
Earlier this year, Germek, who is also a practicing and licensed clinical psychologist, accepted the position of coaching the Nashville SC Unified Team along with Coach Aaron Addis of Area 1, Nashville. This team allows for athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete with Unified partners on a competitive soccer team. They also have the chance to get to know some Nashville SC players as well, like goalkeeper Joe Willis and forward Jacob Shaffelburg.
“It was a perfect combination of still being able to coach, which I love, and being able to do it for amazing organizations like Special Olympics and Nashville SC,” said Germek. “I am so fortunate and thankful to have been asked and considered.”
The team has practiced weekly to prepare for the upcoming rematch against Chicago Fire FC’s Unified Team. Back in May, the two teams faced off at GEODIS Park where the Nashville SC Unified Team powered their way to a 3-1 victory. They are excited to take a bus to Chicago and experience a city that many of them have never visited before. Germek also highlights that the athletes and partners are looking forward to seeing their Chicago Fire friends that they connected with when the team visited Nashville in May. Between team bonding experiences and playing on Soldier Field, athletes, partners, coaches, and families look forward to heading to Chicago next weekend.
Germek notes the impact that this kind of team environment makes on her athletes. Unified teams give athletes the opportunity to be involved with a competitive squad and create relationships with Unified partners. The athletes and partners have immense pride in representing Nashville SC and Special Olympics Tennessee, which can be seen by those throughout the stadium on match days. For Germek, the “family” aspect this team has created is what she values most about being involved with Nashville SC’s Unified Team.
“From Nashville SC’s staff to Special Olympics Tennessee’s staff, to our athletes and partners, the parents and caregivers, and Coach Aaron and I, everyone is just so on board with building this program with being committed to the team and wanting to be the best people and athletes they can be,” Germek said.
We wish the best of luck to Coach Misty, Coach Aaron and the Nashville SC Unified team in their match against Chicago Fire FC’s Unified team! More information about the game here.
To learn more about Unified Sports with Special Olympics Tennessee,, click here.