Special Olympics: Athlete Montinez Myers - New York News

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Special Olympics: Athlete Montinez Myers

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PHILADELPHIA -

In sports, having a teammate often means having a friend. It brings together people from different background and provides them with a shared purpose. One team in particular is working to break down stereotypes and build up relationships.

"Soccer for me is just a big team sport. Everybody comes together, there's a lot of talking on the field and I love it," said Nastassja Falterbauer, a teacher and coach at Martin Luther King High School.

At 10:30 a.m. on a warm Wednesday morning, this is the place to be.

"Warm, smells good. There's pretty girls out here. I can't lie," explains junior Montinez Myers.

Of course, this isn't your average gym class. These students are anything but average.

"Montinez is actually my student. He's in my class. He's an 11th-grader, he is just a fabulous kid,” boasts Coach Falterbauer.

Myers is intellectually disabled, but that has never stopped him.

"His mom always said to him focus on what he has to do, and that's what I love about him most, and he's very strong minded," Montinez's mother Donna Anthony explains.

Montinez finally has chance to be on a team, with a little help from his friends.

"With soccer, there's a lot of communication needed to be on the field, so they're learning really to communicate better," Coach Falterbauer added.

Charles is helping Montinez with that.

"He's learning so much from and, him and are now friends. When they see each other in the hallway they high-five," their coach explains.

"He plays soccer with me and we're a team, we stick together," Montinez tells us about his new friend .

It's all part of the Unified Soccer Program. Special education and general education students learn, practice, and compete together.

"This entire experience is so touching. It really builds relationship between regular and special ed. It makes them unified," Coach Falterbauer added.

It's a class that teaches the benefits of a team and makes strangers into friends so they can learn and grow together.

"I've learned that it's not hard to make friends and everybody is different in their own way," explains.

"They're walking down the hallway saying 'Hi' to more people," Falterbauer says, "They're not being shy."

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