COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — It’s been a tradition for the last 10 years: the Colorado Rapids signing players for their Special Olympics Unified Team.
Signing a pro contract brings out all the joy and getting to meet pro players makes it even better.
"This is without a doubt, the best day of the year for us at the club. No doubt about that at all," said Rapids General Manager Padraig Smith.
Sam Huerta, one of the team’s unified members, was thrilled to be able to sign a professional contract and is excited to make new friends during the experience.
"For a person like me like, huge because I’ve been working hard to be on a professional soccer team since I was little," said Huerta. "I thought I was in my dreams."
After the players signed their contracts, they were allotted a shopping spree in Dick's Sporting Goods. Unified players got to shop around the store with Rapids defender Lalas Abubakar and goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
"It’s great man. It’s one of the best things I love it. I love it," said Abubakar. "And you can tell I’m already making new friends. This is one of my best buddies now and we’re gonna win together."
Abubakar talked about the ability to give back.
"They’re happy. We’re happy," said Abubakar. "We put smiles on their faces. Making them feel like their part of the team. They’re part of the family and he (Sam) is a Rapids player now."
2022 Colorado Rapids Unified Team Roster
- Ayanna Domingo
- Trevor Walsh
- Daniel Desta
- Adrian Fontes
- Trace Ho-Tran
- Sam Huerta
- Enzo Muncy
- Skylar Neil
- Louise Persico
- Shelby Rainers
- Aiden Ramirez
- Lily Simmons
- Zech Steinmetz
- Scotty Stephens
- Olivia Stoolman
- Colin Underly
- Trinity Unrein
- Molly Underly
- Sierra Hoover
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