Department of Kinesiology and ACCESS students team up for fútbol festivities

Athletes of all ages and skill levels gathered Saturday to play in a soccer tournament hosted by MSU’s Department of Kinesiology and ACCESS program.

Mississippi State University’s Department of Kinesiology and the university’s ACCESS program teamed up Saturday to host their second annual Starkvegas Fútbol Jamboree.

Competitions took place at MSU’s old intramural fields on the corner of Stone and Bully Boulevard, where teams consisting of youth, high school students and adults participated in a three-on-three soccer tournament, with prizes awarded to the winners.

ACCESS is a program for students with intellectual disabilities that provides them with the full college experience, real-world skills and job opportunities.

ACCESS student Tyler Gall, an MSU sophomore, said events like the Jamboree are important for his peers, and he hopes they become more widespread.

"They should do these kinds of things everywhere to get people with disabilities to hang out with other people," Gall said.

Beca Spencer, the assistant director of the ACCESS program, said events like this are important because they bring the university and the Starkville community together.

"I think this is a wonderful event," Spencer said. "It includes not only everybody from campus, but also the community to promote physical activity and health awareness."

Spencer said the ACCESS students trained hard for the Jamboree and appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with the Department of Kinesiology.

"I really think it’s awesome that the Department of Kinesiology has reached out to ACCESS to partner for things like this, because we don’t see as many events on campus that tie the community to the university and ACCESS as a whole," Spencer said.

Younghan Lee, the supervisor of the event and an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, said this event was a great way to involve the community and students.

“This event is a way to make our students understand that special needs students are a part of this community too,” Lee said.

Lee said he is proud of the event’s growth this year. This year’s event showcased more teams and had a greater amount of sponsorships from local Starkville businesses.

Lee said this event is more than a jamboree and hopes this inclusive event continues to grow in the coming years.

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