MARYVALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The boys' varsity soccer team at a West Valley high school decided it was time for their teammate to have his moment.
Erick Ricario is a special needs student-athlete at Trevor Browne High School in Maryvale. According to his teammates, he never misses a practice, is always on time and always has a positive attitude. He’s always wanted to play in a game since the beginning of the season too.
Halfway through the soccer season, Ricario got his chance to take the field during a game for the first time. On Wednesday, Jan. 8, with only about five minutes left in the game against Metro Tech, coach Jeff Scofield put him in after players persuaded him it was a good idea. Trevor Browne was up 9-4.
The emotional moment of Ricario scoring his first goal in a game was all caught on cellphone video and uploaded to YouTube. You can see Ricario kick the ball and miss the first shot. Then after an assist from team captain Brian Machado, he hits the ball next and he scores! Ricario then opens his arms to hug his teammates, who were jumping up and down with joy. Machado said it was fun and made him happy to see Ricario happy.
Machado says he got the idea to encourage Ricario to play after watching Tolleson High School do it last year with a special needs player.
Machado asked the Metro Tech if they’d let Ricario score and they agreed to it, if they were able to score too.
Ricario subbed in for Cristian Serrano.
"I love his attitude, always happy, excited to play, always motivating us," Serrano said.
The final score was Trevor Browne 10, Metro Tech 5.
Coach Scofield has been coaching soccer at Trevor Browne High School for 26 years. He said he’s proud of his team and glad they taught themselves a lesson in kindness and sharing the message that “everyone deserves a chance.”
ESPN ranked Trevor Browne High School as one of the top high schools in the country for “inclusiveness” on campus.