Orlando, FL – 30 July 2019: MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s social responsibility platform, and ESPN announced the full rosters for the 2019 Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Match during ESPN’s broadcast of MLS’s regular season matchup between Atlanta Unified and DC United on Sunday, July 21. Participants representing all 24 MLS Clubs will travel to Orlando, Florida to participate in the All-Star week activities. Player rosters for each conference can be viewed here.
As part of the Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Experience, MLS WORKS and ESPN will host 44 Unified team members comprised of individuals with intellectual disabilities (Special Olympics athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (Unified partners). Teams will play an East vs West, 11 vs. 11 competitive match consisting of two 30-minute halves, outfitted in authentic uniforms provided by adidas.
The Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Soccer match will take place on Wednesday, July 31 at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida at 10:00 a.m. ET the morning of the 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. MLS Greats Cobi Jones and Oguchi Onyewu will serve as celebrity coaches for the match.
The Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Match is part of the season-long Special Olympics Unified Soccer Exchange program that provides opportunities for Unified soccer teams to participate in a first-team MLS experience. Unified soccer teams travel to MLS markets to compete in home and away exhibition matches scheduled in conjunction with MLS first-team matches, and receive unique experiences throughout the season, such as signing days, jersey unveils, buddy programs with MLS first-team players, and gameday recognition. The Unified Soccer Exchange program not only provides Special Olympics athletes with top-level training and competitive experiences, but also excellent life experiences they might not otherwise engage in.
The match is free and open to the public, but fans interested in attending are encouraged to register for tickets online by visiting MLSsoccer.com/AllStar. Fans can also enjoy pre-match festivities starting at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Fans are also encouraged to visit the #PlayUnifiedMLS tent at MLS Soccer Celebration presented by Tide to take the Inclusion Pledge and “High Five for Inclusion” to help raise awareness for Special Olympics Unified Sports and to show their commitment of overcoming the fear of difference and replacing it with the power of inclusion. Fans are encouraged to take the Inclusion Pledge here or by texting ‘MLS19’ to 51-555.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968, and celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 6 million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including Bank of America, the Christmas Records Trust, The Coca-Cola Company, ESPN, Essilor Vision Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, IKEA Foundation, the Lane Family, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Lions Clubs International, Safilo Group, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, TOYOTA, United Airlines, and The Walt Disney Company. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.
About MLS WORKS
Major League Soccer is dedicated to addressing important social issues and improving communities where we live and play our games. Through MLS WORKS, the league’s social responsibility platform, Major League Soccer and its clubs seek to improve the lives of those in need across the United States and Canada. To learn more visit MLSsoccer.com/MLSWORKS and follow @MLSWORKS on Twitter & Instagram.
ESPN is proud of its relationship with Special Olympics, which spans more than 34 years. Over the past six years, ESPN has continued to deepen its relationship with the Special Olympics movement. ESPN is Global Presenting Sponsor of Unified Sports since 2013 and has been the Official Broadcaster for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle and the Official Media Partner of the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi. For more information go to www.espn.com/citizenship.