Good Sports: Atwater soccer league letting disabled shine

ATWATER, Calif. (KFSN) -- "I get goosebumps just thinking about it."

Aida Gois gets emotional when it comes to her passion project.

"We've done good," she said. "These kids keep coming, their parents keep coming."

Back in 2015, she helped start McSwain TOPSoccer in Atwater, a league designed for children with all types of disabilities to come together and compete. It's now expanded to include multiple teams for kids and adults.

"We really want it to be their time to shine," Gois said. "We wanted to give them something of theirs, something that they could say 'I can now participate and feel completely, completely accepted by everyone on the field.'"

Six weekends out of the year, the league has been making dreams a reality for players and their families.

"We had a mom on our hot wheels sideline with her phone out recording her daughter who's in a wheelchair," Gois said. "With tears running down her face, she's like recording this saying, 'I never thought I'd see my daughter play soccer.' And that moment will stay with me forever."

Some players, including Rachel Lopez and her family, have been here since the beginning.

"Seven years ago, we started this journey with her," says Richard Lopez. "She enjoys it and looks forward to it every single year."

Rachel is blind, but it doesn't stop her from going full force on the field.

"It doesn't matter the disability -- if you provide them those opportunities, they also want to play and compete just as a normal child would," Richard said.

Rachel says a perfect McSwain Saturday is simple.

"Score a goal and be with some friends," she said.

While players like rachel are trying to score, others like Frank Bueno are on the defense.

With mom not too far away cheering him on.

"He loves being goalie because he likes to stop the ball," says his mom, Arlilla Bueno.

Bueno says along with seeing her son play the game he loves, the league also provides a place where parents support and empathize with one another.

"It's a sense of camaraderie because sometimes, the only people who truly understand the difficulties you have are people who have children like yours," she said.

As this season comes to a close, it's a bittersweet feeling.

But everyone can go home with a smile on their face.

"You can't come to a top soccer Saturday, go home and have a bad day -- it's not possible," Gois said. "Can't do it. It's just that joy carries you through the next week."

Everyone can go home feeling like a winner.
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