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


August 19, 2014 | Africa: Malawi

Play Soccer Malawi Federation supports our athletes

By Mr Felix Chisowa

Special Olympics provide a gateway to empowerment, fulfillment and joy. Our work would not be possible without our donors and supporters. Play Soccer Malawi Federation’s donation of 420 soccer balls is a great example of how organizations can help increase Special Olympics’ reach and impact.View Story Special Olympics provide a gateway to empowerment, fulfillment and joy. Our work would not be possible without our donors and supporters. Play Soccer Malawi Federation’s donation of 420 soccer balls is a great example of how organizations can help increase Special Olympics’ reach and impact with their support. Play Soccer Malawi Federation’s donation is helping Special Olympics Malawi to reach its goal of increasing their number of athletes and competitions and by providing much needed equipment to carry out competitions.

About Mr Felix Chisowa :Special Olympics Malawi National Director
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August 19, 2014 | Africa: Namibia

Growing Unified Sports® Across Africa

By Mr Charles Nyambe

Sports directors from 12 African countries got hands-on experience with Special Olympics Unified Sports at a recent training, laying the groundwork for major growth of the program in Africa over the next three years.View Story Sports directors from 12 African countries got hands-on experience with Special Olympics Unified Sports at a recent training, laying the groundwork for major growth of the program in Africa over the next three years. For the past 15 years Special Olympics has greatly benefited from the generous and steadfast support of Kim Samuel, President of The Samuel Family Foundation. In May, the Samuel Family Foundation together with the Lions Club International, ESPN, and Special Olympics Africa hosted the Unified Sports® training at the Special Olympics Africa region’s headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa. Unified Sports joins together people with and without intellectual disabilities to promote social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. It was inspired by a simple principle; training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding! Sports Directors from 12 African countries were selected to participate in the Unified Sports Training based on the growth potential of their countries.The Sports Directors participated in a 2 day training session on the principles of Unified Sports and were provided with resources to help implement Unified Sports. The training included a practical component which involved the organisation of a Unified football event at a school in Johannesburg. To drive growth of Unified Sports® in their respective countries, the Sports Directors are expected to return home and train head coaches to serve as trainers. Together they are expected to recruit and train 20 coaches every year for the next 3 years resulting in a total of 60 Unified Sports® trainers and a 600 new Unified Coaches in each country by 2016.

About Mr Charles Nyambe :Senior Director, Operations and Program Development
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August 18, 2014 | SOI: Europe-Eurasia

Kevin De Bruyne makes people look at Special Olympics with different eyes

By Suzanne Coogan

Kevin De Bruyne as you've never seen him before. De Bruyne is urging his fans to support Special Olympics athletes with the same passion as they support him.

A very different picture of Red Devil soccer star Kevin De Bruyne has been circulating on the internet: the image shows Kevin De Bruyne with the facial characteristics of people with Down syndrome.View Story A very different picture of Red Devil soccer star Kevin De Bruyne has been circulating on the internet: the image shows Kevin De Bruyne with the facial characteristics of people with Down syndrome. He shared the picture with his fans on his social media site with the question ‘Does De Bruyne deserve fewer supporters now?” By doing this De Bruyne is putting his weight behind a brave thought provoking campaign by Special Olympics to break down taboos and stigma that surround people with intellectual disabilities in Belgium. De Bruyne is urging his fans and the people of Belgium to support Special Olympics athletes and the upcoming Special Olympics European Games 2014. 'Why do athletes with an intellectual disability get so little attention? They train hard and also deliver top performances’ said Kevin De Bruyne. From Sept 9-20,the European Summer Games 2014 will,for the first time,take place in Belgium,in the province of Antwerp. 2,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 58 countries will compete in 10 different sports.

About Suzanne Coogan:Senior Manager, Media and Public Awareness for Special Olympics Europe Eurasia
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Football Events


Date

Event

Location

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
More Details
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Portland, Oregon
UNITED STATES

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

September 20, 2014

EKS Day Vietnam Memorial

Join us on September 9th as we celebrate Eunice Kennedy Shriver's legacy while hosting a Unified Sports 5-a-side Soccer match in Hochiminh City, Vietnam. For more details, please refer to the contact information below.
For more information
Tuan Do
Email:tdo@specialolympics.org
Phone:+84 915079669
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Hochiminh City
VIETNAM

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

November 02, 2014

2014 Soccer Championships

Join us on 2 November 2014 at the Crowne Sports Center in Eden, Maryland as athletes and Unified partners from around the state will compete in one full day of soccer competition. Events will include: Individual Skills Competition; Player Development Unified, 7 v. 7; Traditional Team Competition, 7 v. 7 (Young Adult and Senior Teams); Traditional Team Competition, 5 v. 5 (Elem., Middle, and High School Teams) ; Unified Team Competition, 7 v. 7 (Young Adult and Senior Teams); Unified Team Competition, 5 v. 5 (Elem., Middle, and High School Teams). For schedule details, please refer to link below.
For more information
Schedule Details
Mike Czarnowsky
Email:mczarnowsky@somd.org
Phone:410-242-1515
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Crowne Sports Center
28410 Crown Rd

Eden, Maryland
UNITED STATES

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
View More

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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