More than 100 disabled students attend Special Olympics soccer tournament in Durham


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The Special Olympics soccer tournament was held at Rogers-Herr middle school in Durham for the very first time.

More than 100 students living with disabilities came together Friday to play in tournament, including seventh grader Luis Martinez-Brown.

“I’m the fastest kid so I run really fast, like a flash,” said Luis.

Luis played against students from Southern high school, Jordan high school, Brogden middle school, and Durham School of the Arts.

His team didn’t come in first place.

“I don’t care how many times I lose, I don’t care how many times I win, it’s just about having fun in the game,” he said.

While the students are on the field, winning or losing is not the main focus.

“Did you try your best and did you have fun? That’s what’s important,” said Cassie Abels, a teacher at Rogers-Herr middle school, and organizer of the tournament. “Everything else is not as big of a deal.”

Cassie says tournaments like these give the students a chance to be a part of events just like the other students.

“We want to make sure that all students in Durham Public Schools feel included and are able to participate in sports and activities,” she said.

Diego Martinez-Brown was also on the field.

While his team did win a ribbon, he says that wasn’t the highlight of the game.

“The most l liked about today was that actually everybody was getting along with each other,” said Diego.

Because at the end of the day, he feels like they are all one team.

“We were actually cheering for the other team,” he said. “We were actually being like good sport.”

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