Special Forces cheerleading team will compete at championships in Orlando

Special Forces, a 12-member team of cheerleaders with special needs, is heading to Orlando to compete on a national stage in the World Cheerleading Championships.
Based out of a Matawan gym, Cheer Dream Xplosion, this group is 1 of only 5 teams selected from across the nation and the first team ever selected from Central Jersey.


The 11 girls and one boy will compete in the Cheer-Abilities Elite division April 23 and 24 at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World.

They have been preparing their routine since last summer and practice two times per week. They will continue to do so as they prepare for this trip.

Opportunities to participate on a team with high expectations are very limited for these athletes.

“As a parent of a child with intellectual, physical, speech and sensory challenges, there were virtually no opportunities for her to belong to a team or club. Being a part of this team has been life altering for my daughter Lizzie. We joined 5 years ago and I did not think my extremely shy child, who could not tolerate loud noises, would get on a stage. The coach assured me she would and she did. She started with 12 ‘buddies’ moving and lifting them and now they are completely independent,” Missy Pineiro said.


Cheer Dream Xplosion has been providing a cheerleading “home” for these athletes for 8 years. The program was started through a non-profit organization, Cheer Dream Scoliosis Foundation. The initial program had two athletes, and now, has expanded to two cheer abilities teams, Exhibition and Elite, Pineiro said.

“This team works hard everyday to overcome their challenges and reach their goals on this team and in life. We are so excited this team of athletes will have this amazing opportunity,” she said.

The team set up a GoFundMe page to assist with fundraising for the trip. To make a donation, visit https://gofund.me/50dd50a9