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THE WOMEN’S Premier League (WPL) has been an experience to remember for the players, coaches and supporters alike. The players of each of the six franchise teams have been committed on the field and last week, they didn’t shirk their off-the-field responsibilities either.

On June 28, WPL partnered with the Ministry of Sport and Special Olympics TT to stage the Unified Football matches at Queen’s Royal College Grounds. The initiative was part of a week of activities of the Differently-Abled Football Camp (DAFC) which featured coaching sessions by the esteemed Everton Football Club disability coaches Michael King, Peter Livingstone and Anthony Harden. 

Shane Stanford, Focus Management director and DAFC coordinator stated, “it is a big relief to have executed a project that has been in the making for almost two years now. Focus Management is firm in our support of Special Olympics TT and unified sports. DAFC was a great learning experience for all and we hope that we can continue to create pathways in sport for the differently-abled.” 

The Unified Football matches were a great experience for all on the day. The differently-abled athletes from Special Olympics played in mixed seven-a-side teams with the WPL athletes and the Minister of Sport, Senator Brent Sancho. 

Minister Sancho’s unified team was also the eventual winner on the day after Priscilla Selau (CNGC Rush) laid a perfect pass off to Clint of Special Olympics TT to bury into the back of the net. 

“(The day) was phenomenal,” he said. “It truly was a good few days culminating with some fun with the girls from the WPL and the Special Olympic athletes. These initiatives are something that we don’t put enough emphasis on. We are now hoping that this will just be the start and hope that not only the government will support these ventures but also corporate TT will see its value, especially with the likes of a huge brand such as Everton FC showing its support.” 

The fun did not stop there. CNGC Rush visited the Angostura Laventille/Morvant Youth Games at the Laventille Community Complex for a Sports Day while Petrotrin Oilers got to spend time with differently-abled students at a school close to their sponsors offices in Pointe-a-Pierre. 

Boom Champions Fuego players also got into the community building enjoyment. Claudia Saucedo and Zauditu Kaza-Amlak teamed up with the DianaTon Foundation to visit Secondary Schools in Diego Martin. DianaTon founder Dr Tonya Welch and Miss World TT contestant Vishani Murally were ecstatic to have the Fuego players involved and offer their advice to the young students. 

Venezuelan forward Crisbelis Abraham of CNGC Rush was very grateful for the opportunity to be involved with the children last week. 

“It was a great experience to help inspire and motivate the kids. I also love being around the other players from around the globe. The different languages are sometimes an issue but we are all learning. In the end, kindness, giving back and football is a universal language.”