DETROIT, Michigan, USA, 14 July 2022 – The Special Olympics Unified Cup , presented by Toyota, is pleased to announce commitments from an extraordinary lineup of celebrities and athletes who agreed to lend their voices in support of the hundreds of Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners participating in the Unified Cup.
Modeled after the FIFA World Cup™, this July, Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI), will welcome over 300 footballers with and without intellectual disabilities from more than 20 nations to the city of Detroit to compete in football (soccer), showcasing the power of inclusion and the joy of sport.
“Much like our athletes do, the Unified Cup Ambassadors are leading by example,” said Tim Hileman, President and CEO of SOMI. “Using the power of their voice and their passion for those with intellectual disabilities, these voices will be heard throughout the world, fueling the Inclusion Revolution.”
The Unified Cup Ambassadors roster represents superstars and personalities promoting inclusion for all:
- Mitch Albom – Detroit native, award-winning author, and journalist, including the best-selling memoir of all time Tuesdays with Morrie
- Chris Aloisi – Former MLS Footballer, Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy
- Jordan Angeli – Former NWSL Footballer, Washington Spirit
- Victoria Arlen - Special Olympics Champion Ambassador, ESPN SportsCenter Host
- Leon Bailey – Premier League Footballer, Aston Villa, and member of Jamaica National Football Team
- Nigel Barker – Special Olympics Champion Ambassador, CEO, Studio NB Inc., Fashion Photographer, Author, and TV Personality
- DaMarcus Beasley – Former US Men’s National Team & International Footballer and MLS Footballer, Houston Dynamo
- David Boudia - American Diver, Olympic athlete and Toyota athlete ambassador
- Emma Broyles – Miss America 2022, Special Olympics Champion Ambassador
- Chaka Daley – University of Michigan Head Coach, men’s soccer program
- Benita Fitzgerald Mosley – Vice President, Community and Impact; President, FundPlay for LeagueApps; Olympic Gold Medalist,100 meter hurdles
- Drew McIntyre - WWE Superstar, Special Olympics Champion Ambassador
- Dale Moss– Special Olympics Global Ambassador, Former NFL Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears, Model, Actor & Media Personality
- Oguchi Onyewu – Former US Men’s National Team & International Footballer and MLS Footballer, Philadelphia Union
- Jalen Rose – ABC/ESPN analyst, former 13-year NBA star
- Chris Wingert – Former MLS Footballer, Real Salt Lake, NYC FC
A list of ambassador bios and headshots are available for download and media distribution here.
The Special Olympics 2022 Unified Cup Local Organizing Committee is excited to welcome volunteers, fans, and media partners to join in the weeklong global celebration. It takes a unified effort to make the Unified Cup possible, furthering the mission of inclusion for all. Volunteers play a critical role in providing an outstanding experience for the athletes, families, and spectators. Fans inspire our athletes to push outside their comfort zone and defy longstanding societal barriers. Media partners allow teams to shine. It is time, talent, and enthusiasm that will help our athletes shine on the international stage as we join in the fight for inclusion.
- Media – Join us on the front lines to capture sportsmanship and athleticism at its best for a week of action-filled fun on the pitch. Find out more now and Register.
- Volunteers – Make history by lending a hand. All types and talents are needed to highlight the city of Detroit and the #InclusionRevoluton. Register.
- Fans in the Stands – Get a front-row seat to all the action by securing your seat in the cheering section to root on teams from across the globe showcasing their football (soccer) talents. Register.
The Unified Cup is expected to draw 10,000 spectators, 1,000 volunteers and 500 family members and dignitaries with the common mission of celebrating the joy of sport and the power of inclusion through camaraderie, competition and breaking down social barriers.
The men’s and women’s Division One finals will be streamed live 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 International and the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports®.
To learn more about the Unified Cup and the star-studded lineup of Unified Cup ambassadors, visit www.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, LinkedInand our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.
About Special Olympics Michigan
Special Olympics Michigan Inc. (SOMI) provides year-round sports training and athletic competition to over 23,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities and Unified partners (athletes without intellectual disabilities). Athletes develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy while participating in the sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship among their families, Special Olympics athletes, and the community. SOMI is a non-profit organization supported almost entirely by corporate and individual gifts and events. The generosity of Michigan organizations, individuals, and statewide businesses enable the program to continue.
About Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022
The Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022 is made possible thanks to support from sponsors Toyota, ESPN, Ally Financial, Gallagher, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, The Coca-Cola Company, Jersey Mike’s Subs, The Real Estate One Charitable Foundation and Walmart. For more information, visit unifiedcup.org and stay up to date on our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.