On Tuesday, July 28, MLS WORKS will host a Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star soccer match featuring Special Olympics All-Stars representing 13 MLS markets. The two Unified Sports All-Star soccer teams (comprised of players both with and without intellectual disabilities, wearing uniforms provided by adidas) will play a 7-v-7 small-sided match, consisting of two 20-minute halves, at 5 pm MT at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
The game will showcase the Unified Sports exchange program that is the cornerstone of the ongoing partnership between MLS and Special Olympics North America. Through the Unified Sports soccer exchange program, Unified soccer teams from MLS cities travel to other MLS markets to receive training from MLS players and coaches, as well as compete in exhibition matches with their Special Olympics counterparts in that MLS market.
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 soccer players.
Purchase tickets to the game (tickets include access to the Homegrown Game)
EASTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STARS:
GK - JAMROS, Joe — New England Revolution
D - RICHARDS, Warren — Chicago Fire
D - STEINBERG, Jake — New England Revolution
D - LANDIS, Will — New York City FC
M - DAY, Taquane — D.C. United
M - FRETT, Joelle — D.C. United
M - RIVERS, Daquan — New York City FC
M - GREEN, Claire — Colorado Rapids
Claire Green of Castle Pines is a student at Rock Canyon High School and in her first year involved with Special Olympics. The 15-year-old midfielder is looking forward to playing in an environment that is both challenging and rewarding. Being a part of Special Olympics allows Green the opportunity of playing the sport she loves with some amazing people. Green has been playing soccer for 10 years through Real Colorado Douglas County. In addition to soccer, Green enjoys skiing, piano and photography. Her favorite Rapids player is Dillon Powers.
M - VILLELA, Samuel — Colorado Rapids
Sam Villela is 19 years old and in his second year competing in Special Olympics. A graduate of North High School in Denver, Villela was named Captain of last season’s Rapids SOCO Unified team. Villela’s proudest accomplishment was winning first place at a Special Olympics soccer tournament. He believes that Special Olympics has changed his life, because it has given him the opportunity to play more sports. He enjoys playing basketball, football and soccer. His favorite Rapids player is Martin Rivero.
F - ROSA, Angel — Philadelphia Union
F - LEON, Edwin — Philadelphia Union
F - HOEKSTRA, Jared — Chicago Fire
WESTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STARS:
GK - DAVIDSON, Luke — Colorado Rapids
Luke Davidson is in his second year as a member of the Rapids SOCO Unified Soccer team. The 25-year-old graduate of Thornton High School has participated in Special Olympics for five years, playing soccer, softball and volleyball. The goalie is most proud of winning gold medals in soccer at Summer Games three years in a row. Davidson is employed at Steamer’s Coffeehouse and Jack’s Eatery in Arvada. “Special Olympics has helped me to be a better person,” Davidson says. “I’m looking forward to traveling with the Rapids team this season.” Davidson enjoys cooking and sewing, go carts, RC cars and working on cars. His favorite Rapids stars include Clint Irwin and Pablo Mastroeni.
D - MATEO, David — LA Galaxy
D - BAYONA, Roy — FC Dallas
Roy is a sophomore at Grand Prairie High School. He has competed in Special Olympics for 4 years. Roy loves soccer but also competes in Special Olympics flag football, bowling, basketball, and athletics. This past year he was recognized as a Top Scholar Athlete as part of the GPISD Special Olympics Program for having good grades, demonstrating good sportsmanship, traveling to State Games, and being a good team player.
D - EWARI, Azur — Colorado Rapids
Azur Ewari attends Legend High School and serves as Vice President of the DECA marketing club. Ewari enjoys soccer, technology, reading and music and works as a USSF Referee. Ewari is most proud of being selected as team captain for both is high school and club soccer teams. Other than soccer, Ewari has been involved in golf, swimming and snowboarding and represented Special Olympics Unified Sports at the ESPN Aspen XGames in January.
M - FONTANESI, Gabriela — LA Galaxy
M - BRUNTS, Helen — FC Dallas
Elli has been playing soccer for 12 years. This is her first season to play as a Unified Partner for Special Olympics. She tried out for the FC Dallas Team and loved playing with the Special Olympics Athletes. She became a unified partner so that she can do what she loves to do while making others happy.
M - MASANGO, Simbarashe — Seattle Sounders FC
Simba is a unified partner who recently participated in Washington state's first-ever Special Olympics college unified soccer tournament. He is an outstanding soccer player and is excited about the opportunity to represent SOWA and the Sounders in Colorado.
M - LOPEZ, Omar — Portland Timbers
Omar is a 6-foot-3 sixteen year old Junior at Woodburn Academy of Arts, Science and Technology. He is a sports aficionado, involved in football, basketball and soccer. Perez participated as a Unified Partner for the past two years. He is a dedicated player whose foundation is based on respect for the game and all players involved.
M - VISTY, Travis — Sporting Kansas City
My name is Travis Visty I have just graduated high school. I've worked with individuals with special needs now for almost 4 or 5 years. Soccer used to be my number one passion and thats why I started the unified soccer program at my school. I wanted everyone to have the same fun playing the game as I did and I couldn't be more proud of it. I'm very excited for this great opportunity.
F - HOFFMAN, Keifer — Seattle Sounders FC
Keifer is an outstanding athlete who has participated in unified soccer and basketball for the past two years. He attends Granite Falls High School in Granite Falls, WA and also works part time. Keifer is a leader both on and off the field/court.
F - KOSKI, Travis — Portland Timbers
F - CALLOWAY, Laron — Sporting Kansas City
LaRon Calloway, 15, is a freshman at Blue Valley North High School. He participates in football, basketball, and track. As a freshman, LaRon competed in varsity track. In his free time, LaRon enjoys playing video games and being outside. This is his first year playing Unified Soccer.