Unified Team

Sporting KC’s Special Olympics Unified Team Training: A Journey of Skill Development and Unity


Team training plays a crucial role in honing the skills and fostering the unity of athletes. On May 12, Sporting Kansas City’s Unified Team gathered at Compass Minerals National Performance Center to train on Sporting KC’s super pitch. The training was led by Coach David Toland, John Ast, Denise Chowning, Assistant Coach Brennan Williams, and Lexie Clark, Executive Director of the Victory Project. The training was divided into two parts: half of the time the team trained on the Super Pitch and the other half in the Soccer Trainr Arena.

The first half of training focused on passing drills, thigh traps, and bringing the ball down with their chest. This training aimed to strengthen their technical abilities and build a cohesive team spirit. The team enjoyed practicing their skills as well as learning tips from their coaches. An inside look at the tips was a moment where the team was having some difficulties with the thigh trap drill, Assistant Coach Williams demonstrated how to do it and encouraged players to think they are bringing down an egg they don’t want to crack. This tip helped players visualize how to gently bring the ball down.

To enhance this training session, the team received a special guest coach and team ambassador, Daniel Salloi. The Sporting KC forward brought valuable insights and encouragement to the players. Sharing his journey of starting in Sporting Kansas City’s Academy and then transitioning from the second team to the first team, Salloi proved to be an inspiration for aspiring athletes.

During the training, Salloi shared his unique goal celebration inspired by the iconic movie, "The Karate Kid." The Hungarian forward had scored his first goal of the season the night before and shared how he celebrated and what inspired the celebration.

2024 Sporting KC Unified Team Training | May 12, 2024

The unified team joined in, emulating his celebratory moves, which further solidified their bond. Salloi's passion and involvement in the drills resonated with the team, creating an enjoyable and productive atmosphere.

After the skill-focused drills, the team headed to the Soccer Trainr Arena. This state-of-the-art facility boasts multiple goals arranged around the perimeter of a fenced-in arena, providing an ideal setting for the next phase of training. The players engaged in a thrilling game called "wolves," where three to four players acted as the wolves, attempting to steal the ball from their teammates and score goals. If a player's ball was stolen, they had to complete a push-up before rejoining the game.

In a surprising turn of events, the Unified Team decided to target the best player, Salloi, during the game. This decision injected a thrilling intensity into the match, with players and coaches alike becoming vulnerable to being "megged". The game showcased the team's competitive spirit and their determination to push their limits.

Following the exhilarating game of wolves, a small-sided scrimmage commenced. After each goal, the players were given the opportunity to showcase their individual goal celebrations. The training ground became a stage for creativity as each player danced, jumped, and even “Siuuu’d” to celebrate. Coaches and staff members joined in cheering and applauding the players' efforts.

As the training session drew to a close, the team expressed their gratitude to Team Ambassador Daniel Salloi for his valuable contribution and presence throughout the training.

To wrap up the players eagerly discussed their upcoming match against Minnesota United's Unified team, scheduled for June 1. This match, which will follow the first team's game, promises to be a double feature for fans at Allianz Field, providing an exciting opportunity for both teams to showcase their skills and unity. Before leaving Clark presented the team with their travel shirts ahead of the trip to Minnesota and the countdown begins for the first match.

Coach Toland concluded the training session by reminding the players that the first team stands firmly behind them, supporting their journey every step of the way. This sentiment encapsulated the true essence of the Unified Team.

The Unified Team training session was a testament to the power of skill development and unity. Through a combination of drills, spirited games, and shared celebrations, the team not only improved their technical abilities but also strengthened their bond as a team. As they prepare for their upcoming match, the Unified Team stands ready to face any challenge, embodying the true spirit of unity in sports.

Sporting KC Special Olympics Unified Signing Day