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


October 14, 2014 | North America: Michigan

Patrick Doherty named 2014 Perkins Cottee Sportsmanship Award Winner

By Sasha Reeves

Doug Cottee presents the 2014 Perkins Cottee award to Patrick Doherty at the State Fall Games on September 27, 2014.

This year’s Perkins Cottee Sportsmanship Award winner was Patrick Doherty of Area 34 (Monroe County), honored as an athlete who displays teamwork, is a gracious winner or loser, and exhibits a positive attitude towards Special Olympics competition.View Story This year’s Perkins Cottee Sportsmanship Award winner was Patrick Doherty of Area 34 (Monroe County), honored as an athlete who displays teamwork, is a gracious winner or loser, and exhibits a positive attitude towards Special Olympics competition. Patrick’s coach Dick Sager saw the qualifications and knew Patrick would be the perfect candidate. The biggest aspect that stood out for him was being a team player. “Patrick is really good. He could take the ball and score all the time by himself,” Sager shared. “But he doesn’t want to do that, he wants to involve other teammates.” Patrick once spent half the soccer game trying to help a fellow teammate get a goal. “He’s a great sport and is a good example to the other players on the team,” Sager said. This marks eight years that Patrick has been an athlete with Special Olympics. He’s played poly hockey, snowboarding and volleyball. “But soccer is my favorite,” Patrick said.

About Sasha Reeves:Sasha Reeves is a Public Relations and Marketing intern at Special Olympics Michigan.
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October 10, 2014 | Africa: Kenya

Unified Sports becomes a reality in Kenya

By Mr John Makathimo

Earlier this year, 12 Sports Directors from African programs were trained to conduct Unified Sports training at a workshop in Johnannesburg. Special Olympics Kenya took full advantage of this training to begin implementing Unified Sport in their country.View Story Special Olympics Unified Sports® joins people with and without intellectual disabilities together on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. Earlier this year,12 Sports Directors from different African programs were trained to conduct Unified Sports training at a workshop in Johnannesburg. Special Olympics Kenya took full advantage of this training to begin implementing Unified Sport in their country. They recently hosted their first ever Unified Sports training with 27 Head Coaches at the YMCA in Central Nairobi. Senior Director of Operations and Program Development in the Africa Region, Mr. Charles Nyambe, was on hand to help oversee the training with the assistance of Program Development Manager, Mr. Joe Mutua. The training included both Head Coaches and Regional Coordinators and each participant was encouraged to recruit 20 Unified coaches, 75 athletes, and 60 Unified partners by the end of the year. With this kind of commitment to training and great facilities, Special Olympics Kenya is going to great lengths to achieve their Unified Sports objectives and to contribute to the attainment of Special Olympics Africa’s strategic goals. Thank you to Lions Club International and The Leo's for ensuring that Special Olympics Kenya carried out a successful Unified Sports training.

About Mr John Makathimo:Special Olympics Kenya National Director
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October 10, 2014 | Africa: Zimbabwe

Unified training begins in Zimbabwe

By Mrs Viola Musariri

Special Olympics Zimbabwe held Unified Sports® training at Prince Edward School in Harare in which 21 sports enthusiasts participated. Unified Sports involves teams made up of people with and without intellectual disabilities.View Story Special Olympics Zimbabwe held Unified Sports® training at Prince Edward School in Harare in which 21 sports enthusiasts participated. Unified Sports involves teams made up of people with and without intellectual disabilities. The event began with a theoretical overview of Unified Sport® and ended with a practical play of a 7-A-side football match. The athletes and unified teammates were taught ball skills and how to work together as a team. The participants also took turns to coaching their side to give them a different perspective of the sport. This event truly encapsulated the essence of sportsmanship and unity and Special Olympics Zimbabwe looks forward to reaching their 2016 goal of implementing Unified Sports.

About Mrs Viola Musariri:Special Olympics Zimbabwe National Director
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Football Events


Date

Event

Location

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

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 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
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Roybal Learning Center, Vista Hermosa Park
1200 Colton Street

Los Angeles, California
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

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
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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
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Bandar Seri Begawan
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
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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
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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 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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