Apolonio “Apple” Villegas Ayala of New York, New York, has been competing on the City Hawks Unified Training Club soccer team for the past two years. He will represent Special Olympics USA as a Unified partner in soccer. Competing with Special Olympics has made Apple enjoy soccer even more, especially with the teammates by whom he is surrounded. Apple most admires Joe Stewart, their coach, who goes out of his way to make everyone feel valued and included.
Apple serves on his school’s Youth Activation Council and is proud of the work that they have accomplished as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School®. He is proud that he can play with teammates with intellectual disabilities and can make them feel part of a sport that is meant for everyone. For Apple, seeing the smiles on their faces when they are victorious is amazing.