Feb 9, 2011 11:33 PM by Maddie Garrett

Soccer Player With Downs Syndrome Impacts Two HS Teams

Last weekend's soccer game turned out to be monumental for Lafayette and Pineville High Schools. But it wasn't because of the score or stakes of the game, instead it was all because of one extraordinary player.

There were 15 minutes left in the game, that's when Lafayette Soccer Coach Jeremy Cart noticed a new player taking the field.

"What those guys do and to allow a player like that into their program and to work with him all year and be such a special part of it and give him opportunities was overwhelming to me," said Cart.

The player's name is Ross Barron. He's a senior and the most dedicated player on Pineville's soccer team. Ross also has downs syndrome.

"Got him on the team and just be honest it was the best decision I think I've ever made in my entire life," said Pineville Soccer Coach Grant Eloi.

And the guys on the team couldn't agree more, saying Ross inspires them and always keeps the team upbeat.

"Any time we were having a bad game, you look at Ross and he's in the game and it just makes everything seem more exciting because no matter what the score is Ross is having a good time," said David Evans, one of the Pineville High School Soccer team members.

Hearing about Ross changed the game for Lafayette and the team decided to do something unexpected.

"Well, as soon as Coach Jeremy from Lafayette came up to me and mentioned that he would like to get Ross a goal I just immediately started tearing up," said Eloi.

"We were all really excited about it and I mean we definitely jumped on board we wanted to give this kid a goal," said Charlie Sapienza, Lafayette High School Soccer Captain.

So the opposing teams worked as one to give Ross his first and only goal playing high school soccer. It was a moment they'll never forget.

"Ross was on cloud nine, we were all circling around him just cheering him on and congratulating him," said Evans.

Ross was ecstatic. When asked about how he feels about being on the team he said, "Everyone's my friend, my friends and my teammates."

The goal meant the world to Ross, but it meant even more to everyone on and off the field.

"Just the aftermath, to see that one kid, an 18-year-old kid, can make so many people so happy and fill them with so much emotion, it's just an amazing experience," said Eloi.

Eloi said the Pineville team is now rooting for Lafayette as they continue on into the play offs.



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