Press Releases

Detroit Selected to Host the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022

Second-ever international football (soccer) tournament set to take place 31 July – 6 August 2022.
Two players congratulating one another on the field.

DETROIT, MI, USA – 28 July 2021 – Announced today, the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022 presented by Toyota will take place in Detroit, Michigan, USA from 31 July – 6 August 2022. The 2022 Unified Cup will host as many as 32 men’s and women’s football (soccer) teams—nearly 600 athletes with and without intellectual disabilities—from up to 31 nations.

“Special Olympics is proud to host the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022 in the city of Detroit. Detroit’s commitment to inclusion, along with its passionate fan base, make the city a powerful platform to showcase the unifying power of sport. This event will demonstrate the talent, dedication, and leadership of Special Olympics athletes from around the world.”
Mary Davis, Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics International

Timothy Hileman, President and CEO of Special Olympics Michigan added, “We are honored to bring one of the most inclusive sporting events in the world to our great state and to the city of Detroit. It will be a tremendous week of competition as we celebrate and promote a message of inclusion.”

The Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022 will be the second-ever tournament in this single-sport series, which challenges negative attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities and demonstrates how playing and competing together breaks down barriers to create a community of acceptance and inclusion. Special Olympics Unified Sports® bring together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to play on the same team to promote inclusion through sport. Globally, there are more than 885,000 Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners (athletes without intellectual disabilities) who compete in football (soccer). This is the second time in the 53-year history of Special Olympics that the Unified Cup will be held.

“Toyota and Special Olympics share the common goal of creating a more mobile and inclusive society,” said Lisa Materazzo, Group Vice President, Toyota Marketing, Toyota Motor North America. “Together, as a team both on and off the field, we are creating a world where everyone is empowered to achieve their personal best. Toyota is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022, where the public will witness how the freedom of mobility and the power of inclusion through sport can change the world.”

The finals will be broadcast from Keyworth Stadium—home of the Detroit City Football Club—to hundreds of millions of viewers across the globe by ESPN, the Global Broadcast Partner of Special Olympics and the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports®.

Competition and events throughout the week will attract more than 10,000 spectators, 1,000 volunteers and 500 family members and dignitaries to the tournament.

"I am excited to have the Unified Cup come to Detroit to grow the Special Olympics Michigan family and for all of the new friendships it will bring."
Tom Phillips, Special Olympics Michigan Athlete Leader and Unified Cup Host Committee member

The 2022 location was announced today during a press conference at the Detroit City Clubhouse in celebration of National Soccer Day, with speakers Tim Hileman, President and CEO of Special Olympics Michigan, Anthony Banies, Special Olympics Athlete Leader, Deputy Mayor of Detroit Conrad Mallett and Michigan Senator Adam Hollier.

Ally Financial was announced as the Official Hometown Sponsor of the Unified Cup.

“Making our communities inclusive for all is an important piece of Ally’s commitment to Do It Right,” said Bridget Sponsky, executive director, Brand & Sponsorship Marketing, Ally. “We all need an ally, and Special Olympics is an ally for so many with a unifying mission that aligns closely with ours.”

The Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022 is made possible thanks to support from sponsors Toyota, ESPN, Ally Financial, Gallagher, The Coca-Cola Company, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network.

The inaugural Unified Cup, held in Chicago during the summer of 2018, drew 24 teams of men and women from around the world, with Slovakia defeating Brazil in the women’s final, and Ecuador beating Uruguay in the men’s final.

For more information, visit UnifiedCup.org.

About Special Olympics

Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.

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