Unified soccer “scores” a trip to Florida


Andy Compton

Storm unified soccer team shows off their medals after final game in Unity Cup tournament, which was hosted at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Illinois.|

D128 Storm’s unified soccer team was chosen to represent the state of Illinois on the national stage in Orlando in June of 2022.

During the regular season, the Storm soccer team consists of 24 players, which includes both special education athletes and student partners. 12 of these 24 players were selected to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games tournament held at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex this upcoming summer.

Andy Compton, who has been coaching Storm for 21 years, said they were picked out of multiple other teams who recently participated in Illinois’ Unity Cup tournament, and the 12 players were chosen by a committee from Special Olympics Illinois a few weeks after that tournament ended. This select team will begin practicing together in January.

Hailey Spytek (9) was ecstatic to find out she’s one of the partners getting the opportunity to compete in Florida in June. She said she didn’t expect to be given this chance as a freshman.

“It’s crazy that our school got picked, and me specifically, it’s crazy. I’m very excited,” said Spytek.
Eric Eitel (11), an athlete who was selected to take the trip, expressed his feelings of gratitude looking back on what the team has accomplished up until now.

“My favorite part about being on Storm is definitely the sportsmanship; everyone is so kind to each other, and everyone is so good at supporting one another, and the energy everyone gives off is extremely positive,” Eitel said.

Compton shared his perspective and claimed that coaching unified sports is quite different and arguably more rewarding compared to any other athletics offered in the district.

“It’s a great game, and it’s just fun. They play sports because they play it the way it’s supposed to be played. They play to the best of [their] ability. [They] love what they do. It’s fun. It’s uplifting,” Compton said.

Both Spytek and Eitel expressed their eagerness to travel and take on this challenge with their team in Orlando.

“I think it’s going to be a great experience and opportunity for me and for everyone else,” said Eitel.