Someone You Should Know: High School Soccer Coach Goal for Inclusion
Harrisburg High School Desiree Parmenter
HARRISBURG, SD— Superman may have his cape and batman his belt.
But, Harrisburg High School Head Girls Soccer Coach Desiree Parmenter has her own kind of superpower and it’s called player of the game.
“Player of the Game is where our team recognizes a player, each home game specifically and what we do is provided students with a jersey and a signed soccer ball,” said Parmenter. ”The purpose is to have this vision of inclusion.”
Desiree started player of the game to recognize students with disabilities with a ceremony before the ball is even put in play.
But she never envisioned it being recognized on a national level or even winning the NFHS national high school spirit of sport award.
“No, I did not. I think it came from the team and it was built through a group of girls with a culture,” said Parmenter. ”That was something we had to develop coming into the program because without a culture you can’t have a successful program.”
Probably the most impactful moment from the tigers last season was Brayden Mager who during his fight to receive a heart transplant was more than just a Player of the Game.
“This game we’re going to write Brayden,” said Parmenter. “We’re going to draw a superman with a ‘B’ in it, we’re going to do something to represent Brayden. Even our last game of the season, where we went out to Rapid City, that was a big breakthrough for the girls. We said were going to be this for Brayden.”
Brayden was not able to attend the game to get this honorary gift so the team took it one step further by seeing him at the hospital.
“They all got to meet him. He wore his maroon pants for girls. He was very happy for us to be there,” said Parmenter.
“We brought him superman gifts,” said Sami Farrell, Harrisburg High School Girls’ Soccer Captain. “We bought him this hat and he put it on right way, and didn’t take it off the entire visit.”
Brayden passed away in September but his impact on
Desiree and the team lives forever.
“Realizing like when we have some hiccups or different adversities coming together for the purpose of knowing that we do have a player of the game set in stone,” said Desiree. “But, someone else who has made a significant impact on the team and the culture.”
Like I said superman may have his cape but the tigers have Brayden a symbol of strength and integrity for the team.