SOPA finishes 2nd in NIRSA Unified Rocket League Tournament

Last week, SOPA Unified, an eSports team representing Special Olympics Pennsylvania competed in the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Unified Rocket League Championship tournament! The team, consisting of four Special Olympics Pennsylvania athletes and one coach from the Greater Lehigh Valley Pocono Region, faced Utah Gamurs in the final and fell just short of winning the whole thing, claiming a silver medal in the 4-2 best-of-seven series loss.

Since October, 2021, SOPA Unified has played Rocket League — a video game that combines soccer and car racing — every Wednesday night. The team members, Dylan Smith, Brandon Batres, Richard Klingensmith and Juvantie Ortiz, as well as coach Cody Dalton, have different experience levels playing Rocket League, but focused on building team chemistry and encouraging one another all season en route to making the finals in their inaugural campaign.

Everyone on the team, aka The Demo Squad, loves eSports and the weekly competition and bonding sessions have brought everyone close together.

If you’d like to watch a replay of the finals against Special Olympics Utah, please click here.

Meet the Team
Dylan Smith (Team Berks): Has been playing Rocket League for less than a year, enjoys working out and making scarves.

Brandon Batres (Team Lehigh): Has been playing Rocket League for less than a year, enjoys traveling and playing soccer.

Richard Klingensmith (Team Lehigh): Has been playing Rocket league for three years, enjoys playing video games and sports.

Juvantie Ortiz (Team Lehigh): Has been playing Rocket League for one year, enjoys hockey and hanging out with friends.


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Special Olympics Pennsylvania

The mission of Special Olympics Pennsylvania is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

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