Mahi­nawa make it three in a row

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By TALIA CARLISLE

Mahi­nawa Spe­cial­ist School have won the Ath­letes with Dis­abil­i­ties re­gional soc­cer cham­pi­onship for the third suc­ces­sive year.

The team played six games in the cham­pi­onship, beat­ing Para­pa­raumu Col­lege in the fi­nal last month.

Otai­hanga stu­dent Bron­son Wil­liams-El­liot said the fi­nal was the big­gest test, be­cause Para­pa­raumu Col­lege were a stronger team.

‘‘We won ev­ery game, [but] the last game was a chal­lenge be­cause they had stronger peo­ple on their side. They just had a re­ally good goalie,’’ he said.

The win­ning team was Kieran Bray, Bron­son Wil­liams- El­liot, Isaac Malaulau, Stephanie Miller, Damien Preuss and Ben Ogilvie.

They did not have sched­uled prac­tices, but of­ten kicked a ball around to each other dur­ing school breaks, Bron­son said.

The team have stud­ied to­gether since 2009 in a small class named The Learn­ing Unit, which teaches stu­dents with dif­fer­ent phys­i­cal and men­tal abil­i­ties.

Bron­son, 17, was born with fe­tal al­co­hol syn­drome and strug­gled to learn be­fore at­tend­ing Mahi­nawa Spe­cial­ist School and join­ing the soc­cer team in 2011.

‘‘It used to be hard to learn, just fo­cus­ing on work. I couldn’t last long. I used to get real an­gry un­til I came to this school and learnt to con­trol my anger.’’

Bron­son nor­mally plays striker, but said play­ers of­ten switched po­si­tions.

He said the play­ers were re­spect­ful of each other’s dis­abil­i­ties and would not let them get in the way of their play­ing.

‘‘We’re all like broth­ers here. Ev­ery­one in our team is good.’’

Bron­son said he would con­tinue to play with the team un­til he had fin­ished at the school and would com­pete in next year’s cham­pi­onships.

Sports cham­pi­ons: Mahi­nawa Spe­cial­ist School’s win­ning soc­cer team. Front, from left, Kieran Bray, Bron­son Wil­liams-El­liot. Mid­dle, from left, Isaac Malaulau, Stephanie Miller, Damien Preuss. Back, Ben Ogilvie.

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