James and Julia Keith are twins from North Andover who play Unified Soccer with the Andover Stars local program. They were chosen to attend the 2016 MLS Works Special Olympics All-Star Experience presented by ESPN in San Jose, California this summer. We will be following their experience and sharing how MLS and ESPN are working to spread inclusion through sports with this showcase event.
Monday, July 25th started early! James and Julia Keith began their journey to San Jose with a 4:00am ET drive to the airport. After hopping onto their first flight to San Jose, they landed in Salt Lake City for a layover with a few other Special Olympics delegations including Washington D.C. and New York City. They also net up with the crew from Utah! We were able to take a few minutes to check in with James about his trip so far and expectations for the week:
The Keiths hung out with their fellow athletes and partners, while getting to know their Eastern Conference head coach Anthony from Special Olympics D.C. before jumping on their flight to San Jose.
Once they landed in California, the whole crew headed over their home for the week – the Fairmont San Jose. This is the same hotel that the MLS All-Stars are staying in and it will serve as the hub for all the week’s events.
While checking in, Andrew Farrell was walking through the lobby and spotted James. He was nice enough to give James an interview:
James and Julia then hopped on the Special Olympics All-Star team bus and headed out to their first training session with their new teammates. The coaches put them through their paces with stretches, drills and a scrimmage. James learned he would be playing in goal, while Julia was assigned to a defensive role on the left side.
After training the east and west all-stars went out for a groups dinner at Original Joe’s in downtown San Jose, where they were hooked up with a private room when the athletes, partners and coaches could celebrate their experience and get to know each other better.
Everyone headed back to bed to get ready for Match Day on Tuesday!