John Lindeberg, spreading joy with a love for adaptive soccer

 

Sophomore John Lindberg plays for the adaptive soccer team. John has played adapted soccer since he was in 7th grade. Pursuing his goals and doing anything regardless of circumstances is what John is showing people by playing adaptive soccer.  John not only loves to play soccer, he also plays hockey, tennis, golf and skis.  Having fun and being involved in his community is something that John enjoys.

Both soccer and adaptive soccer teach the same technical skills, rules and team goals. Both teams must bond and become more of a team, learn how to count on each other and play together. They learn how to stick together, work together to accomplish what the team wants to accomplish.

Adaptive soccer is not always about winning, but learning how to work with other kids ,who are similar and different. John has learned how to work as a team with kids that are similar to him, but he has also learned how to work with kids that are not similar to him. For example, when the adaptive soccer team practices with the varsity boys soccer team. Adaptive soccer has taught John several good habits for the future.

Adaptive soccer coach John Towle said, “I think this program is a huge value on teaching these young players how to work hard and be part of a team . They learn through the good times and bad to stick together and to have fun and work hard.”

Adaptive soccer provides John the experience and benefits of sharing similar interests with similar people. For John, playing sports allows him a chance to be an athlete pursuing his goals. John is able to feel more involved and included in his community given these opportunities.

John’s mother Suzy Lindeberg said, “His favorite soccer game of each year is when the varsity football team comes in to watch and cheer on part of the adapted soccer game. The smile on John’s face as he gets to play in front of his friends and peers is priceless. That game is one of his proudest each year.”

I think this program is a huge value on teaching these young players how to work hard and be part of a team . They learn through the good times and bad to stick together and to have fun and work hard.”

— John Towle

Stillwater schools has had adapted soccer in the sports program for many years. It is a sport that is evolving and showing kids with intellectual disabilities, can still do what you love to do and enjoy the same activities your peers are involved in. John is just one example of a student with an intellectual disability, but has found ways to be a huge part of the Stillwater community.

“For our family, adapted soccer gives John a chance to be a high school athlete. It gives him the opportunity to be like his friends who are athletes. It gives him the chance to be part of the school community. Adapted soccer is just one team with a small number of players, but it is a step in the direction of helping Stillwater High School create an inclusive community that accepts and respects students with an intellectual disability or anyone who is perceived as different,” Suzy said.

As with any team sport, making new friends is one the benefits and John has made many new friends playing adaptive soccer. He is so proud to be a Pony and not only loves to win games but enjoys making new friends.

Sarah Kramer is one of John’s best friends that plays defense on the pony team. Sarah fights hard to defend the zone to prevent a shot being taken on John, who plays goalie.

“It is fun to play on the soccer field and save some goals,” John Lindeberg said. Adaptive soccer has impacted John’s life in an impactful and positive way according to  both John and Suzy.

“Sports have always been an important part of John’s life because it is a way he can connect with both his typical friends and friends with intellectual disabilities,” Suzy said.