Leveraging the power of sport, MLS, ESPN and Special Olympics have partnered to promote an environment of social inclusion by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics Unified Sports.
Cornerstone to the partnership is the Unified Exchange program which provides opportunities for Unified soccer teams to participate in a 1st Team MLS experience. Unified soccer teams, comprised of players with and without intellectual disabilities, travel from their home city to other MLS markets to compete in exhibition matches with their Special Olympic 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 and unified partners.
The Unified Exchange program not only provides Special Olympic athletes with top-level training and competitive experiences, but also excellent life experiences that they might not otherwise engage in.
Major League Soccer is committed to diversity and inclusion at all levels of the game, and continues to support programs that increase the accessibility of soccer and encourage healthy, active lifestyles.