MLS WORKS, the league’s community outreach program, announced a partnership earlier this week with Special Olympics to bring soccer to more athletes with intellectual disabilities in MLS markets. The partnership will promote awareness, respect, inclusion and acceptance of Special Olympics athletes in the soccer community, while providing opportunities to those athletes in the Special Olympics North America program.
Teams will also compete in matches scheduled alongside matches in MLS markets and will be played between the two teams sporting the respective MLS clubs’ kits. The program will not only provide Special Olympics athletes with training and matches, but also offer supporters an opportunity to observe the talents and abilities of Special Olympics soccer players for themselves.
Bob Gobrecht, President and Managing Director of Special Olympics North America, commented,
“This partnership, between two global leaders in sport, represents an extraordinary opportunity to bring the sport of soccer to many more athletes, both with and without intellectual disabilities, and introduce Special Olympics to MLS fans everywhere.”
Several clubs have previous relationships with their local Special Olympics programs, including Portland Timbers, New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution, FC Dallas, Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders.