What is unified?
In 2013 MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, announced a partnership with Special Olympics North America (SONA) to bring soccer, the world’s most popular sport, to more athletes with intellectual disabilities. In 2017, Atlanta United launched their Special Olympics Unified team which is comprised of players both with (athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (partners) from Special Olympics Georgia.
How is the team chosen?
The team is selected by the unified coaching staff from Special Olympics Georgia Cobb County and Special K’s. The kids are officially introduced as the year’s team during Unified Signing Day.
When does the unified team train and where?
The unified team trains at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground once a week throughout the Unified season. First Team Ambassadors and Atlanta United players attend training sessions to encourage and support the athletes and partners.
How long does the unified season run?
The unified season begins immediately after Unified Signing Day and runs until the last scheduled match, which could be an away or home match.
Does the unified team compete?
The unified team competes against other MLS unified teams either in an exchange format or a different team each match. The Special Olympics Unified Soccer Matches scheduled in conjunction with MLS first-team matches, are played between the two Unified teams clad in their respective MLS club’s uniforms.
How can I watch the unified match(es)?
For information on the home match(es), click here. Live streams of away unified matches are usually not available but you can follow our social channels for recaps and highlights.
How can I get involved with the unified team or the initiative?
If you are interested in helping out with the unified team or anything related to our special population work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.