Fun for all – LWSD hosts inclusive soccer matches through Unified Soccer program

Fun for all – LWSD hosts inclusive soccer matches through Unified Soccer program

Lake Washington School District (LWSD) continues to focus on its efforts around inclusivity. High school athletic directors, in cooperation with the Special Services Department, launched the first Unified Soccer program this spring at Juanita High School (JHS), Lake Washington High School (LWHS) and Redmond High School (RHS). On Saturday, May 11, LWHS hosted a “soft opening” of soccer contests among all three high schools in a round-robin format. The event was well received by student-athletes, coaches, parents and fans. The second and final event took place on Saturday, May 18, at RHS, and followed the same format. 

Unified sports bring together athletes with and without disabilities to play on the same team, competing and learning from each other in a variety of sports. What makes Unified Sports programs so special is their ability to break down barriers. The program promotes inclusivity, understanding and respect for all individuals regardless of their abilities. Through this program, people with intellectual disabilities can showcase their skills and talents in a supportive and inclusive environment. 

The Athletic Department spent March planning and informing students at each high school about the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Unified Soccer season. The plan for the season was similar to other sports LWSD has launched for the first time, following an intra-district model by only competing with LWSD schools. Practices started after spring break and numbers were slow to start, but ended up with enough participants at JHS, LWHS and RHS to support interscholastic contests. 

The LWSD Athletic Department will continue to partner with the Special Services Department. They look to apply the lessons learned from this first experience by offering a more robust soccer experience in the 2024-25 school year. The district is also looking to add additional opportunities in other sports.

Eastlake High School (EHS) recently participated in a Unified Basketball game. On May 23, the EHS Unified Basketball Team took on the Skyline Shooting Stars Unified Basketball Team in Sammamish. The game was covered by KING 5 TV and you can see that story here

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