Nashville Soccer Club, in partnership with Special Olympics Tennessee, today announced the formation of its first-ever Special Olympics Unified Team. Leveraging the power of sport, MLS WORKS, ESPN and Special Olympics have teamed up to promote an environment of social inclusion, which is aligned with the League’s Soccer For All platform. Cornerstone to the collaboration is the Special Olympics Unified Sports® Soccer Exchange Program, uniting individuals with intellectual disabilities (Special Olympics athletes) and individuals without intellectual disabilities (Unified partners) as members of one team.
This week Nashville SC and Special Olympics Tennessee held an official Signing Day event at GEODIS Park featuring club executives and players Joe Willis, Taylor Washington and Eric Miller. On behalf of Nashville SC, General Manager Mike Jacobs presented Special Olympics Tennessee with a $10,000 check, and immediately following the Signing Day event, the club’s Unified Team members took to the pitch for the team’s first official practice.
Two members of the Nashville SC Unified Team will travel to Minneapolis to participate in the Special Olympics Unified Sports® All-Star Game. One Special Olympics athlete and one Unified partner will be selected to represent Nashville SC from August 8 – 10 during MLS All-Star Week. The experience culminates in a competitive East versus West, 11 versus 11, Special Olympics Unified Sports® Soccer Game.
The Nashville SC Special Olympics Unified Team’s official training will be held in June and facilitated by Special Olympics Tennessee. The Blue versus Gold Unified Team match will take place on July 17 when the Boys in Gold host LAFC at GEODIS Park. The MLS Unified All-Star Game is scheduled for the last day of MLS All-Star Week on August 10.
You can learn more about the Nashville SC Special Olympics Unified Team as well as the Special Olympics Unified Sports® Soccer Exchange Program by clicking here.