INSIDE SOSC: A Day With L.A. Galaxy Unified

Judging by all the smiles on the faces of the Los Angeles Galaxy Unified soccer team, Sunday afternoon’s experience at the StubHub Center in Carson was nothing short of a thrill.

Maybe it was the chance to watch their Major League Soccer counterparts square off against the San Jose Earthquakes prior to their own match. Perhaps, it was about the opportunity to display their talent on a first-class MLS field. It could just as easily have been about another chance to don the uniform and be one of the fortunate 20 players this season.

It was all of the above – and more.

“Being with my teammates is more of a heartwarming thing for me,” said Demi Tavarez, a unified partner from Long Beach.

The L.A. Galaxy Unified team closed out a perfect season in a 4-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes Unified. Galaxy Unified finished the season 3-0-0, scoring 20 goals and posting a plus-15 goal differential over the three matches.

VIDEO: Highlights From the Season

Galaxy Unified posted two goals within the first 20 minutes and never looked back. Goals were scored by Jose Conde, Carlos Arriaza, Dauda Opejin and Logan Jones – the last of which whipped the crowd into a frenzy as Jones whipped his jersey above his head in excitement.

“We are incredibly proud of the efforts from all of the players on the L.A. Galaxy SOSC Unified Team this season,” L.A. Galaxy president Chris Klein said. “Their commitment to working hard, playing for each other and promoting unity and inclusion through the sport of soccer have been exemplary this year. We are honored to have this group represent the L.A. Galaxy.”

Logan Jones STORY

Logan Jones signs an autograph for a fan after the match.

The little moments in-between and after the action were just as memorable and valuable to the athletes. About midway through the contest, the Galaxy Unified bench shared a light moment as they noticed the chairs reclined and started doing so in unison after each goal scored. Afterward, the team gladly signed autographs for the fans.

The contest also came with its lessons, such as the moment Tavarez consoled a momentarily distraught teammate, Jose Gomez. The teammate stepped into action, offering words of encouragement for his effort on the field, and the two ended the conversation with their pinkie fingers interlocked.

“We have a chemistry on and off the field,” Tavarez said. “Getting to know everyone on a personal level and getting to hang out outside of practice.”

After all, that’s the spirit of Play Unified, right?

Also in attendance

Prior to the MLS match, Special Olympics Orange County athlete Jay White had the honor of singing the national anthem and fellow athlete Jordan Wall delivered the game ball. Opejin, Matthieu Nunez and Brianda Rivera participated in the pre-match coin toss, while Lauren Hernandez and Daniel Garcia were on the field for the toss at halftime.

Josue Garcia delivered the athlete oath before the unified match.

What they were saying on social media

Inside the SOSC is a blog written by staff member Tracy McDannald. It is a more feature-style approach to looking inside what makes Special Olympics Southern California so unique, so special. It is meant to explore the people and their stories. One word at a time.

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