'Everyone has a smile': Washougal HS unified soccer players are friends on and off the pitch

(KPTV image)

WASHOUGAL, WA (KPTV) – For kids at Washougal High School, they have more than a week left of school to continue to celebrate a season to remember.

It’s superlative season. The most inspiring group of district champs at Washougal High? The Panthers Unified Soccer Club.

“It’s probably one of my favorite high school experiences,” said senior Audrey Flock. 

Head coach Dani Allen and assistant Moe Saberi kickstarted Washougal’s unified program six years ago.

“My life has never been the same since,” Allen said. “It’s incredible.”

Allen is a middle school art teacher by day and gets the big picture after work. 

“My brother had special needs and it taught me that everyone deserves a fair chance and everybody has talents,” she said.

Saberi said, “You can see the recognition throughout the high school. You can see the excitement these kids get to be recognized for who they are, what they do. Everyone has a smile.”           

The Washougal 11 features seven athletes, three partners and a team manager as Kaitlynn McKee broke her foot at the beginning of the season. 

“I get to take score and see all of the joy on their faces,” she said.

Playing is fun, winning is better. 

“Seeing everyone just grow and seeing them grow as an athlete is really neat,” Flock said. 

It was a banner year for Panther stomp. Following up a strong unified basketball season with a Division 2 unified soccer district title. 

“It was awesome,” said player Nathan Odenthal.

And the sendoff to state was a community bash. WHS was off for a very important date at state in summer where silver joined their gold.

“I got 14 medals,” said Joselynn Lake. “Nothing beats gold.”

Now with summer vacation approaching, the Panthers are already plotting to add a third team and repeat as district soccer champs in 2020.  

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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