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Brothers Help Coach Unified Football Team at Higley High School

Photo of Jacob and Robert

Jacob Sarmiento and his brother, Robert, were both students and athletes at Higley High School. Now, the two are helping the Unified Sports program and its athletes excel on and off the field.

Unified Sports is a program at Higley Unified School District that brings students with disabilities and general education students together in the classroom and in the playing zone. During this last Fall season, Jacob and Robert coached Higley High School’s Unified Football team.

Jacob, who is a previous peer helper in the Unified Sports program, graduated from Higley High School in 2021. In addition to coaching the Unified Football team, he is the Offensive Coordinator for the Freshman Football Team. Robert is also a graduate from Higley High School, Class of 2019, and 2021 graduate of the Higley Transition and Access Program (HTAP). Robert was a previous student athlete in the Unified Sports Program.

The two answered a few questions about the program and their decision to coach.

Why did you want to coach the Unified Sports program?

Robert: To help the kids play the sport they love.

Jacob: Being a part of Unified Sports my whole high school career taught me ways to play with the kids and realizing there's more to it than just playing sports. I loved being a part of Unified Sports and decided to coach because seeing them smile after a touchdown, a goal, or a basket makes my day. 

What is it like coaching with your brother?

Robert: It is fun and exciting!

Jacob: At a young age, Robert and I clicked and became best friends right away and fell in love with football. When I found out we were going to be coaching with each other, I was really pumped because I knew we were in the same mindset when it came to football.

What was your experience like as a former Higley Unified Sports athlete?  

Robert: It was really fun and always a good feeling after a win. I love to be around my friends and always compete – And I love winning some medals and trophies. 

What do you hope Unified Sports athletes takeaway from this?

Jacob: Honestly, have fun with it. These kids look forward to going to Unified Sports class and playing sports. If you can have a great attitude and energy, then the day for them will be awesome. Take every moment in because once the school year is over, you are going to miss it and you wish you could see the kids one more time. 

Will you continue coaching Unified Sports with your brother next year? Or what’s next?

Jacob: Absolutely, without a question. For me, I love to teach athletes about the game they love so much and knowing that they are learning something on and off the field, that goes for Football and Unified. I plan to have my brother by my side throughout my coaching career and hopefully get him on the sidelines during my high school games. 

Jacob and Robert also wanted to provide a shoutout to a few incredible individuals who helped them along the way including Coach Brandon Large, Coach Lisa Virgadamo, Coach Jeff Caranza, Coach Eddy Zubey and their mom. “Without you guys we wouldn’t be the men that we are today and have an amazing support system – Go Knights!”