It's match day for the Nashville SC Unified Team as they're set to take on the New England Revolution Unified Team at 6:00 PM at Currey Ingram Academy. This will be the first match for the NSC Unified Team since their loss to the Chicago Fire FC Unified Team in early July. The team is currently 1-1 on the season and they look to finish strong with a victory at home.
"I'm looking forward to the team picking up where we left off last game and playing well playing as a team," said Chris Parks, a Unified Partner on the squad.
While NSC Unified fell in Chicago, they played an incredibly strong match as a team. Unified Partners and athletes worked well together and gelled well as a team. They've worked hard during practices all season along with multiple team outings.
"We're such close now," said Parks. "We're like a family. It's made me realize that I have so much to be thankful for. And where I am is because of my growth with Special Olympics athletes. They've made me be so much more thankful for what I have, and realize that it's not all about me, and there are other people that I need to be aware of."
Part of what makes Unified matches an incredible experience is meeting with the opposing team for meals and activities. It helps both teams create and build friendships. Even though they'll compete on the field, it's all about meeting new people in the Special Olympics community.
"I'm looking forward to the same intensity on the field, and looking forward to meeting more new people off the field," said Parks on meeting the New England Revolution Unified Team.
As for Mihail "Moose" Katselis, he's excited but a little nervous going into Sunday's match. But even though there's a little bit of nerves coming through, he wants to score goals and win along with making new friends.
"It's going to be a tough match," said Katselis. "I like scoring goals. And I like winning. I like seeing my friends and making new friends."
If you do see number 25 put one past the goalie, be on the lookout for his celebration, which is the Hany Mukhtar salute.
"Moose" has become quite the popular face of the Nashville SC Unified Team. You'll see signs in the stands with "GO MOOSE 25," which he absolutely loves seeing. And if he spots you, you're sure to get a high five.
Being a part of the Nashville SC Unified Team has given "Moose" the opportunity to play matches at GEODIS Park, which is one of his favorite things about being on the team. Along with that, he's been able to form wonderful bonds with many NSC players including Hany Mukhtar, Joe Willis, Taylor Washinton, Dan Lovitz and Jacob Shaffelburg. Those are bonds that will last far beyond his playing days, and for that, the Katselis family will be forever grateful.
Head on down to Currey Ingram Academy for the last match of the season. Kickoff is set for 6:15 PM at the academy's soccer stadium. Admission is free.
If you are not able to make it in person, you can stream the match on the Special Olympics Tennessee Facebook page, click here.