Great Sportsmanship Displayed in Soccer Game

From: Doug Long
Date: April 2, 2021 at 08:15:51 EDT
Subject: Display of Sportsmanship´╗┐

I was one of the dual center referees for the soccer game last evening, Pickens vs. Sonoraville. I also am a school principal.  Many times as an administrator I only hear the negative aspects of sporting events, but I wanted to share with you something truly inspirational. In the 25th minute of the boys game with the score of 9 - 0, the Pickens coach substituted his center forward striker with a student who is a special needs player, who is missing most, if not all, of both his arms and whose gait is altered. This player came down the field pressing forward into the penalty area and was passed the ball. At that moment, the intensity of the game reduced and all of the Sonoraville players relaxed and allowed him to shoot on goal. The Sonoraville keeper dived at the ball, but was unable to stop it going into the goal. This goal was the game ending Mercy Rule score.

As a principal of a special needs school, it warms my heart to see this act of true sportsmanship shown by your players.  For your players this was just one of many goals that have happened this season, but to the young man this was a goal of a lifetime. I appreciate the sacrifice by your team to allow this to happen. The Pickens coach also needs to be commended for allowing this player time on the pitch to play with his peers. 

With all the negativity that we see in the world, it is nice to see the good of humanity. Thank you for instilling this in your players. The community of Sonoraville and of Pickens County have a right to be very proud. 

I hope that you have a great remainder of the school year. All the best!

Doug Long
Center Referee
Etowah Valley Soccer Officials Association

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