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Football

Football players compete in our Middle East-North Africa region, where football is an always popular pastime.

Football (Americans call it soccer) is possibly the world's most popular team sport. It's also Special Olympics' most popular sport. This page draws together football-related information for all of Special Olympics, including news, stories, calendar events and competition results.


300 x 200 football in ireland

Get an overview of the sport of Special Olympics football.  View the Football Fact Sheet

Played in just about every country, the sport's success is due to the fact that it can be played by boys, girls, men and women of just about any physical build and ability. Football requires little in the way of specialized equipment and is organized using simple, intuitive rules. 

It's so fundamental to the future of Special Olympics' growth plans that it is the focus of our Global Football initiative.

Football is perfect for Special Olympics Unified Sports, in which people with and without intellectual disabilities play on the same teams. In 2010, Special Olympics held its Unity Cup in connection with the World Cup.

The coming years will see more exciting global and regional football events for Special Olympics.


Football Stories and News


May 26, 2015 | Europe Eurasia: Romania

Romania hosts Unified Football Championships 2015

By Viorel Mocanu

With 10 regional tournaments taking place across the country, more than 1270 athletes, male and female participated in the 7-a-side championship matches. Of the 116 Unified teams, 21 were female and 95 were male.View Story With 10 regional tournaments taking place across the country, more than 1270 athletes, male and female participated in the 7-a-side championship matches. Of the 116 Unified teams, 21 were female and 95 were male. The finals were hosted at the Romanian Football Federation’s official training centre in Mogosoaia. The RFF open their doors and hearts to the athletes, treating them with the same respect as professional players. Professional referees were involved at all levels. The President of The Romanian Football Federation, Razavan Burleanu, together with General Secretary, Gheorghe Chivorchian and Director of the Development Department, Ciprian Paraschiv participated in the awards ceremony of final tournaments.

About Viorel Mocanu:I am National Director of Special Olympics Romania
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May 22, 2015 | Asia Pacific: Malaysia

Tottenham Hotspur Foundation proudly supporting Special Olympics on Tour

By Karyn Tan

Special Olympics Global Partner Tottenham Hotspur is visiting Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, during its upcoming Tour for the AIA Cup.View Story Special Olympics Global Partner Tottenham Hotspur is visiting Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, during its upcoming Tour for the AIA Cup. The Club and its Global Coaching team will be working in partnership with Special Olympics Malaysia and Special Olympics Australia to help educate local coaches on Tottenham Hotspur training methods, that will then be shared with athletes.

About Karyn Tan :Communications Manager for Asia Pacific region
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May 06, 2015 | Europe Eurasia: Turkey

Mayor supports Unified Sports Recreation model in Turkey

By Serkan Ovatman

Salihli Mayor Zeki Kayda and young members of a local inclusive football team.

The Mayor of Salihli visited the Ali İhsan Karayiğit Football Field in early May to watch children with and without intellectual disabilities enjoy a football training session. The session is part of a project implementing the Unified Sports Recreation model for 600 children in Turkey.View Story The Mayor of Salihli visited the Ali İhsan Karayiğit Football Field in early May to watch children with and without intellectual disabilities enjoy a football training session. The session is part of a project implementing the Unified Sports Recreation model for 600 children, aged 8 to 12, in six cities in Turkey. The project, promoting inclusion on and off the football pitch, involves Special Olympics Turkey and is funded by the King Baudouin Foundation and supported by the Turkish Football Federation and six professional football clubs, including the Salihli Municipality Football Club. Mayor Zeki Kayda, and Deputy Mayors Yalım Şenkaya and Mahmut Surayya Karaoğlu and Municipal Sports Affairs Director Uğur Kocagoz who also attended, are enthusiastic supporters of the project. As he presented children with jerseys, Mayor Kayda said, “We are happy to see children from our community play together and make friendships that will last a lifetime.”

About Serkan Ovatman:Serkan Ovatman is Special Olympics Turkey Sports Director Assistant and national project coordinator.
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Football Events


Date

Event

Location

May 30 - Jun 6 2015

15th Annual Special Olympics European Football week

The Special Olympics Annual European Football Week idea was initiated in the year 2000 supported by UEFA. Starting with 15 countries in 2000, currently Special Olympics European Football Week involves almost all European countries. Each country organizes a variety of football activities including large tournaments, exhibition matches during Club and Football Federation events and small local competitions hosted by communities and schools with an average participation of up to 50,000 people. During Football Week, Special Olympics footballers of all abilities showcase their skills and determination on pitches throughout the Europe Eurasia region. The aim of football week is to encourage people from all walks of life to get involved in the Special Olympics movement using the most popular sport. 2015 edition focus is on Play Unified and living a healthy lifestyle. The kick off the week will host be invitational 7-a-side Football Tournament on 29-31 May with 12 European teams in Rosmalen, The Netherlands.
For more information
More Details
Miroslaw Krogulec
Email:MKrogulec@specialolympics.org
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50 countries around Europe
POLAND

Jun 5 - 7 2015

Colorado State Summer Games

This years Summer Games will be held in Grand Junction at Colorado Mesa University. This event is the biggest Special Olympics Colorado competition of the year! The event brings together athletes from across the state to compete in five sports: athletics, aquatics, gymnastics, powerlifting and soccer.
For more information
More Details
Special Olympics Colorado
Email:beafan@SpecialOlympicsCO.org
Phone:720-359-3100
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Colorado Mesa University
Grand Junction, Colorado
UNITED STATES

Jun 12 - 14 2015

Illinois State Summer Games

Summer Games is Special Olympics Illinois premiere sports competition with more than 4,000 athletes and Unified Partners competing in 6 different sports, along with 1,600 coaches, 2,500 volunteers and 3,300 family members. That totals more than 11,400 people who attend Summer Games! The Summer Games are held at Illinois State University in Normal and the Illinois Wesleyan University campus in Bloomington. A variety of activities are provided for the participants in addition to the sports competitions. Competition will be offered in athletics, aquatics, bocce, Unified bocce, gymnastics, football (soccer) and powerlifting. The public is invited and encouraged to attend any and all parts of Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games. Hope to see you there!
For more information
More Details
David Shindley
Email:dshindley@soill.org
Phone:309-888-2551
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ISU & IWU Campus
Bloomington-Normal, Illinois
UNITED STATES

Jul 12 - 16 2015

European 7-a-side Football Tournament “Kim Kallstrom Trophy” by Gothia Cup

Fifth edition of “Kim Källström Trophy” the Special Olympics European 7-a-side football tournament to be held in Gothenburg 12th-16th of July 2015 as part of Gothia Cup. Since the start in 1975 this international youth football tournament has received teams from more than 140 nations. Over 1 million youth football players have taken part making the Gothia Cup not only the biggest but also the most international youth tournament in the world. The Kim Källström Trophy is cooperation between Gothia Cup, Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia, Special Olympics Sweden and the Swedish national player Kim Källström. The main sponsor of the event is Goodsport Foundation. The Gothia Cup is a tournament where the meeting between youth people from different countries and culture are a priority. We therefore kindly ask, that teams which are interested in participating in the tournament does not have an elite focus in their organization. This is a lead to equal the level of the teams that are participating in the tournament. The fourth edition of Kim Källström Trophy was held during 2014 with a lot of positive feedback from the 30 participating teams. The participating teams represented 13 different nations around the world. For 2015 our aim is to invite more international teams and to increase the number of female teams in the tournament.
For more information
More Details
Kristina Sager and Jonatan Sandberg
Email:Kristina.sager@gothiacup.se
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Kviberg fields
Gothenburg, Gothenburg
SWEDEN

Jul 24 - Aug 2 2015

World Summer Games Los Angeles 2015

In July of 2015 more than 7,000 athletes from 170 countries will come to Los Angeles, California for the Special Olympics World Summer Games and enjoy 10 days full of joy, friendship and competition. Athletes will compete in 22 sports. The event expects to attract 500,000 spectators and 30,000 volunteers and 3,000 coaches.
For more information
More Details
World Summer Games Los Angeles 2015
Email:info@la2015.org
Phone:213-892-6018
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Various Locations, Los Angeles
Los Angeles , California
UNITED STATES

August 18, 2015

Coaches Training - Soccer

Join us on August 18th for a soccer coaches training. The venue is to be to be determined. To register please use the link below. If you have further questions please contact Zach Warner at warne1zd@cmich.edu
For more information
More Details
Zach Warner
Email:warne1zd@cmich.edu
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Grand Rapids, Michigan
UNITED STATES

August 24, 2015

Coaches Training - Soccer

Join us on August 24th for a soccer coaches training online webinar. Attendance in Mount Pleasant is not needed. To register please use the link below. If you have further questions please contact Zach Warner at warne1zd@cmich.edu
For more information
More Details
Zach Warner
Email:warne1zd@cmich.edu
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Webinar
Mount Pleasant, MIchigan
UNITED STATES

September 12, 2015

Southwest Regional Soccer Tournament

Join us on September 12th at Kraft Meadows Middle School in Caledonia, Michigan. This event features athletes from across Michigan's Southwest Region competing in 5 on 5, 7 on 7 and Unified Divisions. Opening Ceremonies kick off at 8:30 am with competition to follow beginning at 9:00 am.
For more information
Nick Caudle
Email:caudl1n@cmich.edu
Phone:616-583-1202
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Kraft Meadows Middle School
9230 Kraft Ave. SE

Caledonia, Michigan
UNITED STATES

Sep 12 - 13 2015

State Soccer and Bocce Competition

Join us September 12-13 in Grand Forks, North Dakota as our athletes compete and show their skill in soccer and bocce competition. Come and cheer on our athletes and witness the power of sports. For more details please use the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Special Olympics North Dakota
Phone:701-746-0331
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Grand Forks, North Dakota
UNITED STATES

September 13, 2015

Northern Region Soccer Tournament

Join us on September 13 at the Roscommon Rotary Soccer Fields in Roscommon, Michigan as our athletes compete in the all-day Soccer Tournament. Hope to see you there!
For more information
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Roscommon Rotary Soccer Fields
Roscommon, Michigan
UNITED STATES

September 13, 2015

State Soccer and Bocce Competition

Join us September 13th in Olathe, Kansas as our athletes compete and show their skill in soccer and bocce competition. Come and cheer on our athletes and witness the power of sports. For more details please use the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Special Olympics Kansas
Phone:913-236-9290
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Olathe, Kansas
UNITED STATES

September 14, 2015

Northern Maine Soccer Tourney

Join us September 14th at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle, Maine as our athletes compete and show their skill in soccer competition. Come and cheer on our athletes and witness the power of sports. For more details please use the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Special Olympics Maine
Phone:207-879-0489
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Northern Maine Community College
Presque Isle, Maine
UNITED STATES

September 27, 2015

Kansas State Soccer & Bocce Tournament

Join us on September 27th at Lone Elm Park in Olathe, Kansas as our athletes compete in 5-a-side soccer, bocce singles, bocce doubles and bocce team. Cheer on our athletes and witness the power of sports. We hope to see you there! For more details please refer to the link and contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Tim Rehder
Email:rehdert@ksso.org
Phone:913-236-9290
View More

Lone Elm Park
21151 W 167th St

Olathe, Kansas
UNITED STATES

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Football/Soccer Competitions

2014 European Summer Games

The Special Olympics European Summer Games featured 10 sports and 58 delegations, making the 2014 Games one of the largest ever. See stories and results


2014 Canada Summer Games

The Special Olympics 2014 Canada Summer Games was the largest Canadian Games ever. See results and teams.


2013 Asia Pacific Games

Athletes from 30 Asia Pacific and East Asia regions compete in the inaugural Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games. Get schedules and results.


2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games

Athens, Greece, was the home of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games. That year, it was the world’s largest sporting event for athletes with intellectual disabilities. See results by athlete, delegation and bib number.


How to Get Involved in Special Olympics

Special Olympics sports training, coaching and competitions go on in more than 170 countries around the world. You can get involved by getting in touch with the closest Special Olympics office.

Special Olympics near you»

Made Possible by The Annenberg Foundation

The Special Olympics movement is profoundly grateful for the support of the Annenberg Foundation which has underwritten the production of the coaches’ guides and resources, supporting our global goals for coaches’ excellence.

LEARN MORE»

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Videos and Photos

Coaching in SerbiaCoaches from three countries met in Serbia to hone their skills.See slideshow »


Videos and Photos

In Deep WaterGo feet first for one of the newest Special Olympics sports.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Summer SportsOur athletes run, jump, swim and score in summer.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Power of SportsSports are a powerful way to change our athlete’s lives.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

First Unity CupSpecial Olympics uses football to promote understanding.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

What We DoSports, health, education, community and more.See Slideshow »



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