While the first team’s 1-0 win over Orlando City made the most headlines this weekend, they weren’t the only one to secure a victory over the Lions this weekend. Atlanta United’s Special Olympics Unified team also beat Orlando City’s Unified Team in the first match of the day, a 3-2 victory on the Orlando City Atadium pitch with goals coming from Lyndsay Price, Paul Vestal, and Camille Flewellen.
Congrats to our Unified team— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 21, 2017
WATCH the 3 goals that led them to their first-ever victory! pic.twitter.com/SADIfRETGv
The Unified Team is a partnership with Special Olympics Georgia, part of an MLS league-wide initiative to bring the world’s most popular sports to athletes with intellectual disabilities. In all, the Atlanta United Unified Team which consists of 14 players (seven Special Olympics athletes and seven partner athletes) have practiced at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground right next to the players, traveled with the team and stayed in their hotel in Orlando.
Team ambassadors Greg Garza and Mark Bloom have met with the players several times now and were cheering the players on to victory this past Saturday. The Unified team will play against Orlando City once more, this time in Atlanta at Mercededes-Benz Stadium after the first teams square off on September 16th.
“This is really important to us as our mission,” Atlanta United President Darren Eales told the players at their signing ceremony. “One of the key parts of our club is to be able to get out into the community and make it accessible to all people to play soccer in the state of Georgia. So this is something we are really excited about.”
Two of Atlanta United’s Unified Team members will also be representing the five stripes in Chicago at the MLS Unified All-Star game next Tuesday, August 1. For more information on the Special Olympics Unified Exchange Program, click here.