Ilima Kane is in her third year coaching the Rapids SOCO Unified soccer team and was named the Head Coach for the 2014 squad. Kane brings 10 years of Special Olympics experience to the team, coaching not only soccer but also skiing and flag football.
The 38-year-old is the Community Engagement Grants Director at the Colorado Foundation for Public Health and the Environment. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Colorado State in Environmental Health and a Master’s degree in Information and Learning Technologies from the University of Colorado-Denver. “Coaching the Rapids SOCO Unified team for the past two years has been extremely rewarding and has allowed me to be a part of an exchange experience that highlights the importance of using sport as a way to change your perceptions of others,” Kane says. “I’ve used these past two years to learn how to support athletes and partners to ensure their success and growth through these exchange programs and I look forward to using those skills with our teams this year.”
Special Olympics has made a lasting impact on Kane’s life. “Special Olympics has given me a place to reconnect with the reason we all love to play sports,” she says. “Sport becomes a place to make friends, feel a part of something bigger and have fun. At Special Olympics there is an emphasis on learning to win and lose with dignity, and building respect for our fellow teammates and opponents. This is how sports should always be played and enjoyed.” Kane looks forward to another year of observing unique experiences and perspectives of all of the players. “Seeing this program through their eyes is my favorite part of this experience,” she says.
In addition to coaching, Kane enjoys traveling, skiing, cooking, knitting and reading. Her favorite Rapids players of all time are Chris Klute and Matt Pickens because of the impact they made on the Rapids SOCO Unified team while helping coach during the 2014 season.