After gaining a 1-0 and tying the match 2-2, the Nashville Soccer Club (NSC) Unified Team fell to the Chicago Fire FC Unified Team 4-2 Saturday night at Soldier Field. It was a rematch of NSC Unified's inaugural match in Nashville back in May where they won 3-1. In their first-ever road trip, and second match in their history, the NSC Unified Team put on an incredible performance showcasing teamwork, sportsmanship and skill.
"It was amazing," said Mia Hasan. "I'm completely honored to represent Nashville SC, so it's unreal. This whole experience is the real deal and you actually get to see the backstage things happening. It's incredibly cool."
Hasan did an incredible job in the back end taking on an extremely gifted attacking corps for Chicago Fire FC Unified. She and her teammates made many incredible stops along with great stretch passes throughout the match. While it was an exciting moment for the team, there were still some nerves at the beginning, but those quickly went away.
"At first, I was nervous, but really pumped up to play on the pitch," said Adan Ramirez. "But then it was really fun."
The first goal of the match was notched by Breahn Fisher, and it lead to an incredible celebration by the team.
Chicago Fire FC Unified quickly answered and then it was 2-1. Chris Parks for NSC Unified put in the second goal for the squad to tie is at 2-2. Chicago then scored twice late in the second half to give them the 4-2 victory.
During halftime, both squads were recognized by Chicago Fire FC.
Even though NSC Unified wasn't able to be victorious, they still had an amazing experience playing at historic Solider Field against their friends from Special Olympics Illinois. It was easy to see the camaraderie that had formed between the two squads immediately after the final whistle blew.
"It was unreal and I couldn't believe I was there", said Hasan. "Everybody was playing with a smile on their face and happy to be there, including me. After the game, you feel so accomplished. I've met some of the best people I've ever met in my life here. It's such a nice group of people.
The bonds that are formed through experiences like this are what Unified Sports are all about. Athletes and Unified Partners are forming friendships that are being engaged not just during a match, but outside of sports and throughout life.
"It's nice to have my teammates because they're like family," said Ramirez. "I'm glad that I have teammates like this."
Unified Sports are making a difference in the lives of so many people, and it's going to continue to grow. This experience would not have been possible without the support of Nashville Soccer Club, Major League Soccer, Chicago Fire FC and Special Olympics Illinois. SOTN is truly thankful for its fantastic hosts over the weekend and it's wonderful to see how soccer continues to provide opportunities for Special Olympics athletes around the world.
To learn more about Unified Sports, click here.