Unified Sports, A Lifetime Experience
December 14, 2011
Carlos Alberto Quintero Russo of Venezuela took part in the recent Copa America in Paraguay. That competition featured "Unified" teams of people with and without intellectual disabilites competing on the football field. Russa was appointed the best player of the tournament, and he offered these comments about his experience.
Hooked on Unified
"I had the opportunity to play football since I was a child, although I am not a professional, I am convinced that this opportunity will arise at some point."
"Through the lens of a football player and as a person, I think Special Olympics Venezuela is a great organization. I got involved in February, 2011 to be part of the football Unified team. Since the beginning, I was 'hooked' with the experience, despite the challenges I faced with the training schedules of my former team, something fulfilling reached me in a way I never experience before, and I continue to support SO Venezuela."
"My experience as a Unified team player has been very inspiring, the friendship between the players, the similarities among the team members, and the passion for football created a unique environment of respect, joy and determination in the field of play and in our lives.
"Albert, who is the captain of our team [and who is a Special Olympics athlete with an intellectual disability], is a source of inspiration. We played together as central defenders, unlike other professional players that I met in the competitive football world, he showed an incredible discipline, passion and respect, attributes of a real leader.
"I want to extend my gratitude to SO Venezuela for this opportunity. Without a doubt, Unified Sports is a powerful initiative to spread the word about Special Olympics."
Carlos Alberto Quintero
The Copa America celebrated the joy and spirit of football.Learn More ››
The first Copa America featured more than 200 Special Olympics footballers.See Slideshow ››
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