“We never could have imagined this.”
Wednesday, February 5 was an unforgettable day for Scotty Stephens. Scotty, an athlete on the Colorado Rapids Special Olympics Unified Team, represented the Rapids at the MLS x adidas FORWARD25 event – the league’s massive jersey unveil to celebrate its 25th season. At the event, Scotty was responsible for modeling Colorado’s new uniform in a fashion show alongside the model's selected by other clubs, which included the likes of all-pro NFL wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, actors Jacob Tremblay and Colin Hanks and many more.
When exploring different options for models this offseason, Scotty's named immediately jumped to the top of the list for the Rapids because of his love for the game, infectious smile and connection to the organization's 'ONECLUB' ethos.
"We were honored to have Scotty represent us in the fashion show and help debut The Nine Six kit," said Caitlin Kinser, director of community relations for the Rapids. "The Rapids Unified team is extremely important to our club, and I can’t think of a better person to represent us than him."
This opportunity meant that Scotty got to experience New York City for the first time, and it became the trip of a lifetime. On the day of the fashion show, Scotty spent the day sightseeing, enjoyed a full spa treatment, worked with personal stylists and made plenty of new friends along the way.
So what was a day in the life like for a jersey model? Here's a look inside.
10:00 AM ET – Model check in
The day kicked off when Scotty and his family reported to the Pennsylvania Hotel so Scotty could get his outfit styled and fitted. The chaos was just beginning – as the stylists worked together to figure out the perfect socks, shoes, pants and belt to bring his look to life. The event construction was only underway, but you could feel the looming energy for the events ahead.
11:30 AM ET – Life as a New Yorker
Next, Scotty had some free time, so he decided to embrace it like a true New Yorker. This is something he had been excited for, as his favorite movie is "Annie", and, as he said, "Annie lives in New York!" Scotty and his parents enjoyed New York style pizza and rode the subway for the first time.
1:00 PM ET - Sightseeing
With his free afternoon, the family paid tribute at the 9/11 Memorial and then rode up to the top of the Freedom Tower. The tower is the tallest building in the western world and, therefore, is the perfect place to see the city. Immediately, Scotty pointed out the nearest soccer field where it looked like friends were enjoying a pickup game.
The visit was on a time crunch, though, as the events ahead required much preparation.
4:15 PM ET – Time to get to work
Immediately when he walked in to the event venue, Scotty was greeted by the model for Real Salt Lake, professional base jumper Marshall Miller. This was only the beginning. From MLS legends to actors, musicians to professional video gamers, everyone treated Scotty like he was the star.
Backstage was bustling with activity. All the models walked around in robes enjoying their catered food and experiencing royal treatment. Scotty simultaneously got a manicure and his make up done - for the first time. Then, it was time for an appointment with his own personal hair stylist and hair dresser.
6:00 PM ET – Run through
When the team’s lined up to run through the unveil, Scotty was told he would be the first person to kick off the fashion show. The clubs were organized by the year they came into the league and then alphabetically, which meant Colorado was to lead the charge. When he walked out for the first time, he was met by cheers from the models that easily surpassed the reaction from anyone else's strut down the runway.
8:15 PM ET - Showtime
Finally, it was time for the show. If Scotty was nervous about leading out the group of 26 other models and celebrities, you couldn't tell one bit. He got his makeup quickly touched up, and then took the group out to show a packed house the latest uniforms.
9:15 PM ET - The star of the show
Following the show, Scotty had to meet with the media, where he was interviewed by the likes of MLS and ESPN. He then took selfies with MLS commissioner Don Garber.
“We never could have imagined this," Scotty's dad Mark said.
To be fair - it doesn't seem like anyone could have imagined a day like Scotty's. In the course of 24 hours, he'd made 25 new celebrity friends, received VIP styling and spa treatments, explored the city just like a native New Yorker, led the charge for the adidas unveiling and so much more. And he did it all with his trademark smile.
"It was an unforgettable experience showing his family around New York City and watching them experience it for the first time," Kinser said. "We’re just so grateful to Scotty for representing our club so well, and I know I’ll cherish this memory forever."
His kindness and excitement is exactly why Scotty was the perfect person to represent the Rapids on the national stage. And his presence proved to be one that many people won't soon forget.