August 11, 2017

Provided photo
The FKCC Goonies pose for a picture before last season's Area 11 Games. The 2017 version of the team is currently recruiting player for practices that begin on Aug. 23.
 

Provided photo The FKCC Goonies pose for a picture before last season's Area 11 Games. The 2017 version of the team is currently recruiting player for practices that begin on Aug. 23.  

As the Special Olympic opportunities continue to expand throughout Monroe County, director Ruth Holland is sending out another request for Project Unified teams and players throughout the Keys in order to increase the friendly rivalries for the five current squads in the county.

“We need more schools to raise up teams so these guys can have competition,” said Holland. “They just need a coach and the school has to commit themselves to doing it. Financially there’s a little bit of a component on the school’s side at this point, but the window is closing.”

Currently, Monroe County features Project Unified teams in flag football at Florida Keys Community College and Key Largo School in the fall, the Tornadoes also have a soccer team in the winter and in the spring Key West and Coral Shores high schools field a track team. Holland said there is still time to add a team to the 2017-18 sports season, but letters of intent need to be turned in by Monday.

“There’s only 25 slots left open, so if they want to do it the time is now,” said Holland. “You can’t wait till soccer season to sign up, even if you are only thinking about it, you have to do it now.”

The Monroe County director added that with only five teams and only the track team in the same age level and sport, it’s tough to find games for the local squads.

“To give them competition, we have to send them to Miami and that’s expensive,” said Holland. “We are hoping to generate some of the unified interest with the military.”

The FKCC Goonies, are currently recruit player for the 2017 season that will begin practice on Aug. 23. In order to prepare, without another team in the county to play against, the Goonies will scrimmage the Key West High JV football team before heading to the area and state game, while the Key Largo elementary squad will start shortly after the new school year.

“If we get more to sign up, we’ll make more teams,” said Holland. “It’s five on the field at a time, three athletes and two partners, and up to 12 players on the roster. They have to have a valid medical clearance to play, but they can contact me to get that,”

Players or schools interested in competing contact Holland at 305-923-0288 or send an email to ruthholland@specialolympics.org.

“There’s going to be a waiting list, but as county directors across the state we have the opportunity to pitch our schools and get them in before the 14th,” said Holland. “So this is the chance to get involved with these sports before the final 25 slots are filled.”

jwcooke@keysnews.com