Major League Soccer’s community outreach platform, MLS WORKS, in collaboration with Special Olympics, announced this week the kickoff of the 2018 Special Olympics Unified Sports Soccer Exchange Program. As Special Olympics is celebrating its 50th anniversary, this program helps kick start all of the celebrations and initiatives around soccer.
The partnership is a part of a larger effort to promote an environment of inclusion by bringing people with and without intellectual disabilities together through Special Olympics Unified Sports. According to Beyond Sport, “In the Unified Sports Soccer Exchange Program, Unified teams compromised of players with and without intellectual disabilities will travel from their home city to other MLS markets to compete in exhibition matches with their Special Olympics counterparts.” The beautiful thing about this program is that fans can see the tangible impact live – these matches take place in conjunction with MLS club matches so that fans can see the talents of those Special Olympics athletes in-person. This is important because fans and consumers will see these experiences come to life and evoke emotions that will hopefully raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics.
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