The Special Olympics Unified All-Star Game took place at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland on Wednesday, with the West All-Stars taking a 6-1 victory over the East All-Stars.
The sides were coached by MLS legends Joe Cannon and Marco Etcheverry as the league's social responsibility platform MLS WORKS partnered with Coca-Cola to host 52 Unified team members, representing 26 MLS clubs for Wednesday's 11 v. 11 competitive match. The teams were comprised of players with intellectual disabilities (Special Olympics athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (Unified partners), who played 45-minute halves and were outfitted in authentic uniforms provided by adidas.
About Unified Sports
The Unified All-Star Game is part of the season-long Special Olympics Unified Soccer Exchange program, which provides opportunities for Unified soccer teams to participate in a first-team MLS experience. MLS clubs provided authentic experiences such as signing days, jersey unveils, practices and scrimmages with MLS front office staff and first-team players, and gameday recognition. MLS Unified soccer teams travel for exhibition matches, scheduled in conjunction with MLS first-team matches, to reinforce inclusivity and showcase the talents and abilities to MLS fans.
The partnership aims promote an environment of social inclusion, which is aligned with the league’s Soccer For All platform.