Special Olympics Florida

MLS WORKS and ESPN to host 5th Annual Special Olympics Unified Sports® All-Star soccer match

Special Olympics Unified Sports soccer players to compete in East vs. West All-Star match at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground as part of MLS All-Star week.

MLS WORKS and ESPN announced the full rosters for the 2018 Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star soccer match at halftime of ESPN’s broadcast of Major League Soccer’s regular season matchup between Orlando City SC and NYCFC on Thursday night. The All-Star Soccer Match will take place on Tuesday, July 31 at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground, home of Atlanta United, at 5:45 p.m. ET, one day before the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target.

For the fifth year in a row, MLS WORKS and ESPN will host 42 delegates as part of the Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Experience. The Unified Sports All-Star soccer teams are comprised of players with and without intellectual disabilities and will play an 11 vs 11 match consisting of two 30-minute halves, outfitted in authentic uniforms provided by adidas. The teams will take the pitch in an East vs. West matchup prior to the fifth annual MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer®.

The Unified Sports match will be streamed live via MLS YouTube and ESPN3, accessible on the ESPN app and ESPN.com.  View player rosters for each conference.

MLSsoccer.com talent Bobby Warshaw and David Gass will serve as the match announcers, providing color commentary and interviews with players and coaches throughout the match. Atlanta United players will serve as celebrity coaches for both teams and present the Unified athletes with medals following the match.

The match will showcase the Special Olympics Unified Sports Soccer Exchange program, the cornerstone of the ongoing collaboration between MLS, ESPN, and Special Olympics North America. Through the Unified Sports Soccer Exchange program, Unified teams from MLS cities travel to other MLS markets to compete in exhibition matches with their Special Olympics counterparts. Unified matches are scheduled in conjunction with MLS club matches, providing MLS fans with an opportunity to witness first-hand the talents and abilities of Special Olympics athletes. Supporting the matches is ESPN, media partner to both MLS and Special Olympics International and the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports.

The best in MLS will face Italian giants Juventus, in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on August 1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and the match will be televised on ESPN, UniMás, TSN, and TVA Sports domestically as well as in more than 170 countries globally.

Tickets to the 2018 MLS All-Star Game start at $35 and are available through Ticketmaster.com. Click here to view a full schedule of festivities.

MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, is dedicated to addressing important social issues and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs. MLS WORKS seeks to establish Major League Soccer as a leader for improving the lives of people through sport. This year, Major League Soccer, through MLS WORKS launched a new platform called Soccer For All, which signifies that everyone is welcome to MLS, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. Soccer For All emphasizes Major League Soccer’s commitment to end discrimination and foster more inclusive communities. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @MLSWORKS.

About ESPN
ESPN is proud of its relationship with Special Olympics, which spans more than 32 years. Over the past four years, ESPN has continued to deepen its relationship with the Special Olympics movement.  In addition to being the Official Broadcaster for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, ESPN will also be the Official Media Partner of the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games, hosted in Abu Dhabi.  For more information go to www.espn.com/citizenship.

About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968, and celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 5 million athletes and Unified partners in more than 170 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us  on:  TwitterFacebookYouTubeInstagram and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.