Atlanta United today announced its Unified Team will participate in the “Unified We Play” competition. The Unified Team, which is part of MLS WORKS’ collaboration with Special Olympics to form the Unified Sports Soccer Exchange Program, brings players both with and without intellectual disabilities to play together on the same team. Atlanta United’s Unified Team had its annual Signing Day and subsequent 2020 season suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its place, Atlanta United coordinated a virtual Signing Day and worked with seven other MLS clubs’ Unified Teams to organize a virtual competition to kick-off a modified 2020 campaign.
“The Atlanta United Unified Team is part of the fabric of our club,” said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “It has been a priority for us to launch the Unified season since it was disrupted just days before Signing Day in March. We are pleased to collaborate with seven MLS clubs who are as passionate and enthusiastic as we are about bringing the Unified athletes together in a safe and fun environment.”
Click here to watch the Atlanta United Unified Team’s virtual Signing Day announcing the 2020 roster, hosted by Kevin Egan and featuring appearances from goalkeeper Brad Guzan, midfielder Eric Remedi, President Darren Eales and Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra.
Led by Atlanta United’s community relations staff, seven other MLS clubs including Colorado Rapids, Houston Dynamo, New England Revolution, New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City have joined the program. The “Unified We Play” competition will commence the week of June 29.
“Unified We Play” is designed to create a fun and inclusive competition experience for the participating Unified teams. Teams will compete in three categories: distance, soccer and minute to win it games.
During the five-week competition, teams will go head-to-head in the three categories while a point-based structure determines the standings. The team that wins the most categories during a matchup will receive three points. Teams that each win one division and draw a division will be scored as a draw, giving each team one point. At the end of the competition, the team with the most points will be the champion. The winner will be announced in the beginning of August.
For more information on Atlanta United’s Special Olympics Unified Team and the “Unified We Play” competition, visit atlutd.com/unified.