Unified Soccer: New Team, new memories


Every Tuesday and Thursday students of all abilities gather at the Freshman campus East Field with one thing in common: an enthusiasm to learn and play soccer for the Unified Soccer program.

“I think it just helps bring that sense of inclusion that it helps encourage that feeling that you know kids of all abilities that come together to do something positive is a great thing for our school and our you know atmosphere in the building,” Mitchell says. 

This year, Howell has a new Unified Soccer team coached by Ms. Susie Mitchell, Ms. Lauren Schmalz, Mr. Eric Schrock, and assistant coached by Ms. Renee Caporosso and Ms. Sandy Soica.

 “This is a great way to provide an extracurricular activity for students that typically wouldn’t be able to participate in some of the more competitive sports at the high school. And also, you know, helping TIES throughout the years, it just seemed like a kind of natural addition to our school to provide, like a fun outlet and opportunity for kids to be together and do something outside of school,” Mitchell says. 

The team is comprised of students of all abilities and all experience levels. 

“Soccer is a very fun sport,” sophomore Reese Marschall says. 

Some joined with little to no experience and are picking the sport quickly. Although for others it’s taking some more time to grasp soccer. 

On a scale of easy to hard sophomore Noah Cole said learning the sport is “medium.” Both the team and coaches are proud of what they’ve done so far. The team has progressed quickly as they are preparing for the season. 

“I was really super excited that second practice when we really introduced the positions and we had the kids even do a mini scrimmage by the end of that practice and they had it they got it down and they were pretty excited about it,” Mitchell says.  

 Many of the students on the team also participated in Unified Basketball and Pom. 

“I did Unified Pom and it was very fun meeting new people,” Marschall says. 

The first game was October 5 with the following games happening throughout October. Since the team is part of the KLAA conference and will play schools like Brighton, Novi, and Northville, along with an end-of-the-season tournament. 

“Our team wants to win just like any other varsity sport, and we have our rivals and our teams that we really want to beat and the kids get pretty pumped up about it and the games get pretty competitive and are just a blast to watch,” Mitchell says. 

While the team is filled with excitement for the season, the team learns valuable lessons both on and off the field. 

“Yeah and I think that what I teach the kids is we are a team that is competitive, but we also play with compassion. And that’s the most important thing and it’s a good lesson for all the students, all the athletes to look, to learn, and to practice,” Mitchell says. 

Everyone takes away something different from the experience of being on a Unified Soccer team. 

“My favorite part is watching the team come together throughout the season. You know, everyone always starts off a little shy and a little quiet maybe they’re not really familiar with one another but as the practices go on, and the season progresses, you just see those relationships build and friendships develop and the kids end up having a great time together,” Mitchell says. 

As time goes on the players appreciate each other more and more. Most believe this team is making an impact on Howell High School by bringing many different types of people together for something positive. Unified Soccer team makes playing on a school soccer team competitively possible for students of all abilities and experience levels. 

“It’s important to have a unified soccer team at Howell High School because it lets the players have an opportunity to like do all the sports that they want to just like the same with archery, bocce ball, basketball, pom, all of those,” Marschall says. 

With one loss to Northville and two wins against Novi and Brighton, what matters most to a majority of the players is the experience and time spent together. 

“I like playing with my friends,” said senior Marissa Rowlette. 



October 25th AWAY KLAA Jamboree Conference Games! At Legacy Center in Brighton. The first game to start at 4:00 pm

Photo Credit: Ms. Lauren Schmalz