Football

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.


300x200-Football

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


July 31, 2014 | North America: Oregon

Unified Sports Featured for MLS All-star Week

By Amie Dugan

MLS WORKS, ESPN and Special Olympics will work together to use the power of sports to promote social inclusion and acceptance, by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics Unified Sports.View Story MLS WORKS, ESPN and Special Olympics will work together to use the power of sports to promote social inclusion and acceptance, by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics Unified Sports. On Tuesday, August 5th, MLS WORKS and ESPN will host a Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star soccer match between Special Olympics North America and Special Olympics Germany, to coincide with the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Stars taking on German Bundesliga club, FC Bayern Munich. The two Unified Sports soccer teams (made of players both with and without intellectual disabilities) will play a 7v7 match at 2 p.m. PT on the Providence Park game field in Portland, Oregon. The game will start immediately following the AT&T MLS All-Star open training session with free admission to the public. Toronto FC All-Star and World Cup star Michael Bradley, and Bayern Munich legend and club ambassador Paul Breitner will present athletes and partners with awards.

About Amie Dugan:Special Olympics communications.
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July 21, 2014 | Latin America: Mexico

Special Olympics Athletes Experience a Taste of World Cup Football In Mexico City

By Paola Martinelli

Special Olympics athletes bonded together and experienced inclusion during a “World Cup Football” event organized by Special Olympics Mexico in Mexico City.View Story Special Olympics athletes bonded together and experienced inclusion during a “World Cup Football” event organized by Special Olympics Mexico in Mexico City. Players were divided on to teams by skill level. Each team chose a name of a country to represent their team in tournament. This tournament gave athletes the opportunity to bond with each other and experience being part of a part of team.

About Paola Martinelli:I am the National Director of Marketing and Communications and the National Director of the Athlete Leadership Regional Advisory Committee for Unified Sports.
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July 12, 2014 | Asia Pacific: Australia

Smiling despite the storm

By jack mcneilly

On the 5th of December 2013 at the Asia Pacific games in Newcastle Australia took on the Philippines.It was a cracking game of football between 2 talented and committed teams.View Story On the 5th of December 2013 at the Asia Pacific games in Newcastle Australia took on the Philippines.It was a cracking game of football between 2 talented and committed teams. The end result was a 1-0 win to the Philippines. After the game I took the Australian players into our opponents rooms, I had good reason to do this. Barely 4 weeks prior to the game the Philippines experienced a natural disaster.Typhoon Haiyan, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded,it devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, on November 8, 2013. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6,268 people in that country alone. Haiyan is also the strongest storm recorded at landfall, and unofficially the strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed. Even four weeks after the Typhoon bodies were still being found. Despite their country being a disaster zone the Philippine players could still smile, clearly my proudest moment as a coach..

About jack mcneilly:Im jack McNeilly coach of the Australia 2 team who took part in the Asia Pacific Games in Newcastle. My football team took on the Philippines after the game i took my boys into the opposition rooms. I told my players about the big storm that had hit the Philippines 4 weeks earlier, we all agreed that we just had to wish them. I'm coaching the Victorian SO football team in October at the national games, I live in Wangaratta and have a wife and two children.
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Football Events


Date

Event

Location

August 01, 2014

2014 Special Olympics East Asia Regional Senior Coach Training - Soccer

Special Olympics China will be hosting the 2014 Special Olympics East Asia Regional Senior Coach Training for soccer. Senior soccer coaches from across 6 Programs in the East Asia region will be invited to part take in this important event.
For more information
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CHINA

Aug 3 - 6 2014

Special Olympics Peru National Games

Join us August 3-6 in Lima, Peru as athletes and Unified partners from around the country will compete in football, basketball and volleyball to qualify for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, California. For more details, please refer to contact information below.
For more information
Ivan Huapaya
Email:deportes@olimpiadasespecialesperu.org
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Lima
PERU

August 05, 2014

Special Olympics Unified Sports Soccer Match

MLS WORKS, ESPN, and Special Olympics North America will host a Special Olympics Unified Sports soccer match immediately following the MLS All-Star open practice at Providence Park. The match will highlight Special Olympics Unified Sports soccer teams (comprised of players both with and without intellectual disabilities from North America and Germany) and the partnership’s exchange programs currently taking place in conjunction with various MLS clubs. Please enter Providence Park through Gate 2. Gates will open at 9:30 AM and close at 3:30 PM. No ticket required.
For more information
More Details
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Providence Park
1844 SW Morrison St

Portland, Oregon
UNITED STATES

August 18, 2014

Special Olympics Thailand National Games

Athletes across Thailand will gather in Korat to compete in the following eight sports: athletics, bocce (including Unified), basketball, badminton, cricket, football (Male & Female, Unified), swimming and table tennis (including Unified).
For more information
Rachaniwan Bulakul
Email:solympicsthai@gmail.com
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Pansa Stadium
Chalerm Phrakiat 80

Korat, Nakhon Ratchasima
THAILAND

Aug 21 - 28 2014

Special Olympics Mexico National Games

Join us for the biggest Special Olympics Mexico event in the country. More than 800 hundred athletes from around the country will compete for a chance to qualify for the 2015 World Games in Los Angeles. The Games will feature Unified Football which join people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team to play together. With over 2,000 spectators and 270 volunteers, these National Games promise to be a huge celebration for all of our athletes.
For more information
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Vacational Center Oaxtepec
Mexico City, D.F., Morelos
MEXICO

August 24, 2014

MLS Team Exchange

Coaches, athletes and unified partners participating in high school unified soccer will be eligible to participate on the Special Olympics Sounders teams that will be playing home and away against the Special Olympics Timbers and Special Olympics Rapids. Each exchange will include a competition, players clinic, team awareness activity and tickets to watch the MLS teams in action. This unique opportunity is supported by the MLS and its member clubs.
For more information
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Portland, Oregon
UNITED STATES

August 25, 2014

El Salvador National Games

Join us August 25-30 in San Salvador, El Salvador as athletes and Unified partners from around the country will compete in football, open water swimming, aquatics and table tennis to qualify for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, California. For more details, please refer to contact information below.
For more information
Johamy Alabi
Email:jalabi@olimpiadasespecialeselsalvador.org
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San Salvador
EL SALVADOR

Sep 9 - 21 2014

2014 Special Olympics European/Eurasian Summer Games

In September 2014 more than 2,000 athletes from 58 countries will come to Antwerp, Belgium for the 2014 Special Olympics European/Eurasian Summer Games and enjoy 13 days full of joy and friendship. The athletes will compete in 10 sports and be invited to join 5 supporting programs.
For more information
More Details
Special Olympics European Games 2014
Email:info@so2014.com
Phone:+32 3 220 25 00
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Various locations, AntwerpAntwerp
BELGIUM

Oct 10 - 12 2014

Special Olympics Bangladesh National Games

Special Olympics Bangladesh’s National Games will welcome an estimated 800 athletes and 100 Unified Sports® partners across Bangladesh. Ten sports will be played: athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, cricket, football, handball, swimming, table tennis and volleyball. The three day event will be held across different venues: Bangabandhu National Stadium, Army Stadium, National Indoor Stadium & Swimming pool and the Bangladesh Sports Education Institute (BKSP).
For more information
Faruqul Islam
Email:sobangla@gmail.com
Phone:+880 1819 259844
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Bangabandhu National Stadium & other venuesDhaka
BANGLADESH

Oct 10 - 11 2014

South Carolina Fall Games

Join us from October 10-11 at Pavilion Recreation Complex in Taylors, South Carolina as athletes from all over the state will be competing in Under 21 bocce, masters bowling, disc golf, flag football, volleyball, tennis, golf and soccer. Hope to see you there.
For more information
Kelly Garrick
Email:kgarrick@so-sc.org
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Pavilion Recreation Complex
400 Scottswood Road

Taylors, South Carolina
UNITED STATES

October 19, 2014

Unified Soccer Assessment Round - South Section

Join us on October 19th at Plymouth Street Fields in Mansfield, Massachusetts for an exciting day of Unified soccer. Registration opens at 8am with competition lasting from 10am-2pm. To play, coach or volunteer for this event, please refer to the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Sam Baglioni
Email:sam.baglioni@specialolympicsma.org
Phone:508-821-3635
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Plymouth Street Fields
50 Plymouth Street

Mansfield, Massachusetts
UNITED STATES

October 20, 2014

2014 School Unified Soccer Tournament

Join us for the 2014 School Unified Soccer Tournament Monday, October 20th at West Rutland School in West Rutland, Vermont. This competition will include schools from throughout Vermont. Athletes and partners will compete in 5 per side team soccer or individual skills. For more details, please refer to the contact information below.
For more information
Chris Langevin
Email:clangevin@vtso.org
Phone:802-863-5222
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West Rutland School
713 Main St.

West Rutland, Vermont
UNITED STATES

October 20, 2014

School Unified Soccer Tournament

Join us for the 2014 School Unified Soccer Tournament on October 20th at West Rutland School in West Rutland, Vermont. This competition will include athletes and Unified partners from schools from throughout Vermont. This tournament will feature 5 a side football matches as well as an individual skills competition. Come and witness all the sports excitement.
For more information
More Details
Chris Langevin
Email:clangevin@vtso.org
Phone:802-863-5222
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West Rutland School
713 Main St

West Rutland, Vermont
UNITED STATES

October 20, 2014

Special Olympics National Games 2014 Melbourne

The 10th Special Olympics Australia National Games will involve more than 1,200 athletes of all levels competing in 16 Olympic and demonstration sports and events. These Games offer the opportunity for athletes to be selected to represent Australia at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles in 2015. For the majority of competitors, the National Games in Melbourne represents the culmination of four years of competing at local, regional and state level. Competing in the same world-class venues as their Olympic heroes, our Special Olympics athletes will perform in front of their proud parents, friends, supporters and the wider community. Athletes of all abilities will compete in 16 Olympic style sports including AFL and netball as demonstration sports across iconic sporting venues in Melbourne. Other special events include: Healthy Athletes Program, Young Athlete Program (2–7 year old), Athlete Leadership & Ambassador Program, Family Functions Social Outing, Law Enforcement Torch Run, Opening and Closing Ceremonies
For more information
More Details
Robyn Cooper
Email:robync@specialolympics.com.au
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Lakeside Stadium & various venuesMelbourne
AUSTRALIA

Nov 1 - 3 2014

Special Olympics Nippon National Summer Games Fukuoka 2014

Athletes from all over Japan will come to the city of Fukuoka for the 2014 Special Olympics Fukuoka Games to participate in 3 days of competition in 12 sports. Athletes will compete in aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, bowling, football, golf, gymnastics, table tennis, volleyball and equestrian.
For more information
More Details
Sayaka Sonobe
Email:tokyo_office@son.or.jp
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Multiple locations, Fukuoka
Fukuoka , Kyushu
JAPAN

Nov 2 - 15 2014

Special Olympics Unified Football Cup

Modeled after the FIFA World Cup, the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world, the Special Olympics Unified Football Cup will bring together qualifying Unified Sports football (soccer) teams from 25 countries representing each of the Special Olympics seven regions to compete and showcase as never before, the bravery, ability and joy of Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners worldwide. Countries that rose to the top during qualifying events and are participating in the Unified Football Cup include: Ivory Coast, South Africa, Tanzania, Libya, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Korea, France, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and the United States of America.
For more information
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Various Venues
MALAYSIA

Nov 8 - 9 2014

Virginia State Fall Championships

Fall Championships is one of Special Olympics Virginia's state level competitions, held at the end of the fall season in Virginia Beach. Approximately 1,000 Special Olympics athletes from across Virginia are selected to go for the gold in bowling, bocce, golf, volleyball, roller skating, and soccer competitions. Fall Championships also features a Saturday evening Opening Ceremony, where we light the Flame of Hope to "open" the Championships, followed by a Victory Dance - a favorite of both our athletes and volunteers!
For more information
More Details
Gray Miller
Email:gmiller@specialolympicsva.org
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Various Virginia Beach Venues
Virginia Beach, Virginia
UNITED STATES

Dec 14 - 15 2014

Southern California Fall Games

Be inspired by athletic determination and courage. Come cheer on more than 1,100 athletes from across Southern California as they compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals and ribbons at Fall Games. The Games will feature our six fall/winter sports — bowling, floor hockey, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. Fall Games, one of our largest competitions, is the second of two Southern California competitions held every year.
For more information
More Details
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Fountain Valley and Irvine
Fountain Valley and Irvine, California
UNITED STATES

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
View More

Various Locations, Los Angeles
Los Angeles , California
UNITED STATES

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Football/Soccer Competitions

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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