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Dream League offers fun for children, young adults with disabilities

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Jan 14 2014 08:10:29 PM CST

ABC-7's Vanessa de la Vina reports.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Parents of children with disabilities told our New Mexico Mobile Newsroom they dream of a day when all children can play together on an equal basis.

For now, there's the Dream League Soccer Program in Las Cruces.

Tim Query and his wife are parents of a very active eight-year-old boy named Mateo.

They said it's difficult to find fun activities for him because he was born with Down's Syndrome.

In January, he'll have a place to play on the soccer field.

"There aren't that many opportunities in sports for children who are either physically or mentally disabled. They just want to get involved. They just want to belong," Query said.

This spring, Mateo has a new activity to get excited about: the Dream League Soccer Program.

"This past summer we had him in the Christian T-ball league. He really likes to be part of a team. Just being part of a team or playing with other children is a big thing to him," Query said.

The Dream League will create teams for players with cognitive or physical disabilities. The league will accept players as young as 4 all the way up to adults.

Coordinator Melissa Ames hopes the league will give them a place where they can have fun and know they're not alone.

"I think there's a huge need. There's a bowling league, I think. There's a few other programs that may be out there but I haven't really heard of that many. So I'm hoping that this will sort of open that door to that community," Ames told ABC-7.

Ames works for Las Cruces Public Schools as a liaison for parents with home-schooled children who are developmentally delayed.

She said this project is very dear to her heart.

"I think it's very important. They need to know that they're a part of the community and that they have a right to be out there and do a lot of the same things that if only they could do," she said.

"I think activities like this, the more they're offered, the more people realize our kids can do this too," Query said.

The players will be paired up with volunteers who will cheer them on and help them on the field.

The Querys said they'll be at every game to support Mateo.

"He likes soccer too. We've already taught him when a goal is made to cheer, 'USA! USA!'" Query said.

They said seeing their little boy out on the field with a huge smile on his face is priceless.

"It's just very heartwarming because I just want him to have a good life. Our goals for him (are) to have a good life, to reach his potential and to have fun. All three of those areas are met when he's out there on the field," Query said.

Games start on Saturday, Jan. 19 continuing on Feb. 2, Feb. 9, and ending Feb. 23.

There's still time to join if you'd like to sign your child up or even volunteer to help.

Registration for players is just $25, which includes a jersey. Coaches and volunteers are needed. All volunteers must pass a background check. You can register at the Meerscheidt Recreation Center at 1600 E. Hadley.

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