Sporting Kansas City will be one of eight MLS clubs represented by a Unified Team of local Special Olympics Athletes in Unified We Play, a virtual competition with physical activities and soccer skills challenges from June 29 through July 31 organized by MLS WORKS through Major League Soccer’s partnership with Special Olympics.
All eight Unified Teams will have Special Olympics athletes compete in three divisions with points earned from head-to-head match-ups to take place over a five-week period. At the end of the competition, the Unified Team with the most points at the top of the overall standings will be crowned champion.
New England Revolution
New York City FC
New York Red Bulls
Real Salt Lake
The Unified We Play series is designed to provide a fun, inclusive and unique competition for MLS Unified Teams, who traditionally travel to play exchange matches inside MLS stadiums however will be unable to enjoy those experiences this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Special Olympics and Major League Soccer began their partnership in 2013 to promote awareness, respect, acceptance and inclusion of Special Olympics athletes throughout the soccer community. Sporting Kansas City has teamed up with Special Olympics Kansas and Special Olympics Missouri to participate in Special Olympics Unified Sports® Exchange Matches annually since 2014.
Our MLS Exchange team members from Special Olympics Kansas and Special Olympics Missouri, along with their coaches and Sporting Kansas City player Ilie Sanchez, got online today to talk soccer and catch up with one another. #sportingkc #choosetoinclude #forgloryforcity pic.twitter.com/f7MI4UjwlH— Special Olympics KS (@sokansas) May 22, 2020
Unified Sports® uses the power of sport as a shortcut to understanding and friendship on and off the pitch, while allowing participants to build confidence, develop skills and learn teamwork. Unified Teams consist of Special Olympics Athletes and neuro-typical classmates or Unified Partners.
Sporting Kansas City’s Unified Team will first face Real Salt Lake in Week One of Unified We Play. Follow The Victory Project, Sporting Kansas City’s flagship foundation, and MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s social responsibility platform, on social media for updates throughout the competition.