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


September 20, 2014 | North America: North Carolina

A Loss That Can Now Be Logged in the Win Column for Special Olympics Soccer Players in Greensboro

By Megan O'Donnell

Dr. Czarda, president of Greensboro College and Special Olympics Guilford/Greensboro athletes at the 2013 Greensboro UNITY Cup soccer game.

In 2011, Special Olympics Guilford/Greensboro local program lost use of a practice field. Greensboro College not only opened their field but also took the soccer team under their wing!View Story In 2011, Special Olympics Guilford/Greensboro local program lost use of the field the soccer teams used for practice. The Local Program turned to Greensboro College for help. Greensboro College not only opened their field but also took Special Olympics Guilford/Greensboro soccer under their wing! The men's and women's college teams stay after their own practices to work with the SOGG teams. They set up practices, work one-on-one with athletes that need additional support, and serve as peer coaches and Unified partners. In 2012, the first UNITY CUP was played at neighboring Guilford College. Guilford College and Greensboro College teamed with the two Special Olympics Guilford/Greensboro teams to create two Unified teams. It was the beginning of a great relationship between Special Olympics and the two colleges!

About Megan O'Donnell:VP of Communications for Special Olympics NC.
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September 20, 2014 | SOI: Europe-Eurasia

This is Freedom - Christian Karembeu

By Suzanne Coogan

Karembeu gets close with a Special Olympics Hungarian athlete

Former French international soccer star Christian Karembeu spent the day with athletes competing in the football finals of the Special Olympics European Summer Games in Antwerp.View Story Former French international soccer star Christian Karembeu spent the day with athletes competing in the football finals of the Special Olympics European Summer Games in Antwerp.He spent hours watching great football action, offering expert advice and presenting awards to the athletes. Karembeu is one of UEFA’s Captains of Change Ambassador as well as a long-time supporter of Special Olympics. Accompanied by Mr William Gaillard, Senior Advisor to UEFA’s President, the athletes of Special Olympics were being supported and celebrated by two of Europe’s most respected figures in European football. “The athletes of Special Olympics teach me a lesson in humanity, about respect and values. In sport we can achieve great things and Special Olympics is a celebration of athletes and people with intellectual disabilities. It is freedom,” Karembeu said. Another soccer great attended the Games - former Red Devils star Mpo Mpenza who said “athletes are the same as me, there is no difference."

About Suzanne Coogan:Senior Manager, Media and Public Awareness, Special Olympics Europe Eurasia
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September 20, 2014 | SOI: Europe-Eurasia

UEFA's top advisor speaks about the 'long and fruitful relationship' with Special Olympics

By Suzanne Coogan

Mr William Gaillard speaking with Chris Hull of Special Olympics pitchside at the 2014 Special Olympics European Games soccer finals

One of UEFA's top advisors attended the finals of the soccer competition at the Special Olympics European Games in Antwerp to meet athletes and present awards.View Story One of UEFA's top advisors spent the day watching action at the football finals of the Special Olympics European Games in Antwerp before presenting awards and medals to the athletes. Mr William Gaillard, who accompanied French football legend Christian Karembeu, is Senior Advisor to the President of UEFA, Michel Platini. Gaillard spent hours meeting athletes and keeping a close eye on the soccer action. He spoke passionately about the long and fruitful relationship between Special Olympics and UEFA and how proud the top European Soccer body is of this relationship. "It is quite extraordinary what I see when I come to a Special Olympics event. Our relationship makes perfect sense and it's important we work with all athletes. Diversity enriches society and makes it stronger. It is a pleasure for us to be closely involved with Special Olympics and UEFA players have a responsibility to be involved and give something back," said William Gaillard.

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


Date

Event

Location

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
View More

Bangabandhu National Stadium & other venuesDhaka
BANGLADESH

October 10, 2014

Special Olympics Southern California Unified Soccer Western League Finals

Join us on 10 October 2014 for the Special Olympics Southern California Unified Soccer Western League Finals at Hollywood High School in Los Angeles, California. Unified Sports® is an inclusive program that brings individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (Unified Partners) together on the same team. This unique sports training and competition program is offered at select high schools by the LAUSD Adapted Physical Education Department. Students participating in the Unified Soccer League will have the opportunity to discover the capability and value within all students as well as experience the hard work, camaraderie and joy integral to team sports competition. Come cheer on our athletes and see the power of sports in action.
For more information
Melissa Erdmann Manager
Email:merdmann@sosc.org
Phone:562-502-1122
View More

Hollywood High School
1521 N Highland Ave

Los Angeles, California
UNITED STATES

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
View More

Pavilion Recreation Complex
400 Scottswood Road

Taylors, South Carolina
UNITED STATES

October 15, 2014

Special Olympics Southern California Unified Soccer Northern League Finals

Join us on 15 October 2014 for the Special Olympics Southern California Unified Soccer Northern League Finals at Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley, California. Unified Sports® is an inclusive program that brings individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (Unified Partners) together on the same team. This unique sports training and competition program is offered at select high schools by the LAUSD Adapted Physical Education Department. Students participating in the Unified Soccer League will have the opportunity to discover the capability and value within all students as well as experience the hard work, camaraderie and joy integral to team sports competition. Come cheer on our athletes and see the power of sports in action.
For more information
Melissa Erdmann
Email:merdmann@sosc.org
Phone:562-502-1122
View More

Polytechnic High School
12431 Roscoe Blvd

Sun Valley, California
UNITED STATES

October 16, 2014

Special Olympics Southern California Unified Soccer Marine League Finals

Join us on 16 October 2014 for the Special Olympics Southern California Unified Soccer Marine League Finals at San Pedro High School in San Pedro, California. Unified Sports® is an inclusive program that brings individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (Unified Partners) together on the same team. This unique sports training and competition program is offered at select high schools by the LAUSD Adapted Physical Education Department. Students participating in the Unified Soccer League will have the opportunity to discover the capability and value within all students as well as experience the hard work, camaraderie and joy integral to team sports competition. Come cheer on our athletes and see the power of sports in action.
For more information
Melissa Erdmann
Email:merdmann@sosc.org
Phone:562-502-1122
View More

San Pedro High School
3210 S Alma Street

San Pedro, California
UNITED STATES

October 17, 2014

Special Olympics Southern California Unified Soccer Southern League Finals

Join us on 17 October 2014 for the Special Olympics Southern California Unified Soccer Southern League Finals at Huntington Park High School in Huntington Park, California. Unified Sports® is an inclusive program that brings individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (Unified Partners) together on the same team. This unique sports training and competition program is offered at select high schools by the LAUSD Adapted Physical Education Department. Students participating in the Unified Soccer League will have the opportunity to discover the capability and value within all students as well as experience the hard work, camaraderie and joy integral to team sports competition. Come cheer on our athletes and see the power of sports in action.
For more information
Melissa Erdmann
Email:merdmann@sosc.org
Phone:562-502-1122
View More

Huntington Park High School
6020 Miles Ave

Huntington Park, California
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

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
View More

Lakeside Stadium & various venuesMelbourne
AUSTRALIA

October 20, 2014

Special Olympics Southern California Unified Soccer Central League Finals

Join us on 20 October 2014 for the Special Olympics Southern California Unified Soccer Central League Finals at Roybal Learning Center in Los Angeles, California. Unified Sports® is an inclusive program that brings individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (Unified Partners) together on the same team. This unique sports training and competition program is offered at select high schools by the LAUSD Adapted Physical Education Department. Students participating in the Unified Soccer League will have the opportunity to discover the capability and value within all students as well as experience the hard work, camaraderie and joy integral to team sports competition. Come cheer on our athletes and see the power of sports in action.
For more information
Melissa Erdmann
Email:merdmann@sosc.org
Phone:562-502-1122
View More

Roybal Learning Center, Vista Hermosa Park
1200 Colton Street

Los Angeles, California
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
View More

West Rutland School
713 Main St

West Rutland, Vermont
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
View More

West Rutland School
713 Main St.

West Rutland, Vermont
UNITED STATES

October 24, 2014

Special Olympics Southern California Unified Soccer City Championship

Join us on 24 October 2014 for the Special Olympics Southern California Unified Soccer City Championship at Roybal Learning Center in Los Angeles, California. Unified Sports® is an inclusive program that brings individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (Unified Partners) together on the same team. This unique sports training and competition program is offered at select high schools by the LAUSD Adapted Physical Education Department. Students participating in the Unified Soccer League will have the opportunity to discover the capability and value within all students as well as experience the hard work, camaraderie and joy integral to team sports competition. Come cheer on our athletes and see the power of sports in action.
For more information
Melissa Erdmann
Email:merdmann@sosc.org
Phone:562-502-1122
View More

Roybal Learning Center, Vista Hermosa Park
1200 Colton Street

Los Angeles, California
UNITED STATES

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
View More

Multiple locations, Fukuoka
Fukuoka , Kyushu
JAPAN

Nov 1 - 6 2014

South East Asia Unified Football Tournament

Join us 1-6 November 2014 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam as athletes and Unified partners from around the Asia Pacific region compete six days of exiting 5-a-side Unified football competition. Teams that will be participating in the tournament hail from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and host Brunei Darussalam.
For more information
View More

Bandar Seri Begawan
Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam
BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

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
View More

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
View More

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 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.

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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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