Unified Sports Looks to the Future


2023 Unified Soccer Game Photo By: Summer Harland

Tyger Albano, Editor

On March 24, 2023, Peer to Peer hosted their annual Unified Soccer game. The event took months to prepare for, and as someone who personally attended the game, I thought it was a huge success.  

Peer to Peer, the group that organized the game, is a class within West Fargo High School that is open to all students and even some classes are offered such as Unified Physical Education. Although Peer to Peer is a class, there is also a club aspect as any student can join in outside-of-school activities. 

Mrs. Friedrich, teacher of Peer to Peer, explained via email interview that Peer to Peer is a “Leadership course at WFHS that teaches students how to be friends, work with, and understand people with disabilities.” More specifically for the soccer game, “Unified Sports allows for the Peer-to-Peer students to partner with an athlete to assist them in fully participating in sports they typically would not be able to do.” 

Ms. Mears, the teacher for Unified Sports, said via email interview a lot of preparation went into setting up the game. “We meet during WIN sessions once a week,” Mears said. “The athletes practiced basic skills the first few weeks and then we jumped right in to scrimmaging to practice for the big game!” 

The game itself was during 6th period, and many students came to attend the game either because they had an open period, or because the teachers allowed them to come. The stands were packed, with standing students and motivating chants.  

Not only was the crowd exciting, but the game was also very thrilling. Crazy goals and saves were made by multiple players on both teams, with the final score being 8-7. 

Both Friedrich and Mears thought that the game went well. “The game was awesome!  We had a fantastic Fans in the Stands and our athletes, peers and their parents were amazed with the Packer Pride that was shown.”  Friedrich said. 

“The soccer game went better than I could have imagined. The athletes and the peers worked so hard to play the best game possible. It was amazing to have so many fans in the stands. It meant more to me and the athletes than you can imagine,” said Mears. 

Mears also plans to continue the annual Unified Soccer Game saying, “We will definitely be planning more events in the future. Like I said before, it had such a huge impact for our athletes and our school as a whole.” 

Friedrich even believes in the possibility to expand into more of the Special Olympics.  

“Our ultimate goal is to have a sport every season and compete against other schools in the state.  This is part of the Champion Unified Schools program through Special Olympics.  Our AD will be meeting with other ADs in the state to start the planning process for this.” 

Peer to Peer and the Unified Soccer game both hold a special place within West Fargo High School, and I hope to see the organization grow within the community.