Team Canada. It’s got a nice ring to it, and for a number of local Mission athletes it’s just become the team they play for.
Thanks to a meteoric rise in the rankings over the past few years, as well as an almost flawless performance as Team BC at the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games in July, the Mission squad was recently appointed to the national team for the upcoming World Games in Los Angeles, CA.
The team is coached by John Scholtes, who will be attending his first World Games after 11 years as head coach. The mixed 10-player roster includes eight players from Mission who range in age from 16-68, and will be competing in the standard five-a-side, 50 minute game format of the special olympics.
The Mission team is led by Bryce Schaufelberger, who will be competing in his third international tournament after winning a bronze medal with Team Canada in Athens, 2011. Schaufelherger was instrumental in the team’s 3-0-1 domination during the Canada Summer Games, which culminated in a 2-0 victory over Newfoundland and Labrador.
According to Scholtes, the best part of the anticipation is “the excitement of the players … they are really looking forward to it. We never thought we would get this far as it was, so everything is a bonus to us.”
The team will prepare for next summer’s games by training twice a week throughout the winter, as well as participating in several training camps with the Vancouver Whitecaps next spring. In July they will join nearly 7,000 other athletes from 177 countries in the largest Special Olympics World Games ever.