The County/Metro Athletic Conference’s first Unified soccer matches will be held inside Memorial Stadium, featuring teams from Madera, Madera South, Bullard-Fresno and Edison-Fresno on Wednesday.
A Unified Team incorporates a Unified athlete (special needs student) with a Unified partner (general education student). The soccer teams will play on a modified field and will have five players per side — three Unified athletes, with one in goal, and two Unified partners. The matches will begin at 3 p.m.
“The matches will be competitive,” Bitter said. “They may not be the first time, but when they get going, the players will get better and get used to the action.”
The Unified soccer league is the brainchild of Madera Unified School District athletics director Marty Bitter, who brought the idea to the Central Section after attending a CIF Federated Council meeting in Los Angeles three years ago. The Unified teams are sponsored by Special Olympics.
“It began in the Bay Area and I thought it would be perfect here in Madera and knew it would catch on around the state,” Bitter said.
The league will meet each week at a school and play each team in a round-robin format. Madera South’s hosts Wednesday matches and the following Wednesday (Sept. 27), Madera will host the teams, also in Memorial Stadium.
Madera South will face Bullard while Madera will battle Edison on the first week of competition.
The Tri-River Athletic Conference was the first league in the Central Section to have teams competing in soccer and basketball.
The CMAC will have a soccer and basketball league, as well as participate in track.