WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — Although the Wilmington Hammerheads season is over there is still soccer going on around Legion Stadium. Athletes with special needs gathered Saturday enjoying team comrodery, friendship and even a little soccer.
Teams came from counties in Southeastern North Carolina in order to qualify for the State Special Olympics in High Point.
“You get to meet different players, coaches and stuff and you get to meet different athletes and be friends forever,” said Chucky Hughes, a Special Olympics Athlete.
Although some of the core values of Special Olympics are sportsmanship, don’t think these athletes did not want to win.
“If they don’t score, I won’t be mad,” said Zoporia Reed.
“It’s very exciting,” said Derrick Templeton. “I’m ready to play and I’m all pumped up and it’s cool to meet new friends.”
The experience is not only rewarding for the athletes but also for those who put on the event.
“They are a lot of fun to be around,” said Tiffany Lesley, the New Hanover County Special Olympics Coordinator. “All of our athletes are just amazing. To be able to put on something like this for them is a great opportunity.”
“It’s really fun. I give my heart and soul to it,” said Kevin Connington, a Special Olympics coach. “I just want to make the experience as best I can for them.”
After a day of goals, smiles and hugs all these athletes left the field winners as each competing team qualified for the state tournament.