On Sunday, D.C. United, in partnership with Special Olympics D.C. (SODC), held open tryouts for the Black-and-Red’s 2018 Special Olympics D.C. Unified Soccer Team, presented by Brightspot.
The D.C. United SODC Unified Soccer Exchange Program is a partnership between Major League Soccer, D.C. United and Special Olympics D.C. that brings individuals with and without intellectual disabilities together as teammates to participate in unique training, competition and social experiences.
Led by Special Olympics D.C. coaches, local athletes rotated through a number of stations that tested their agility, passing, dribbling, and shooting abilities.
Coaches now have the difficult task of selecting 12 athletes to join the 2018 Unified team. This year’s team will take part in three matches—hosting the Colorado Rapids and Orlando City SC's Special Olympics Unified teams at Audi Field, and traveling to New Jersey to take on the New York Red Bulls' Special Olympics Unified Team.
The goal of Unified Sports is to bring people with and without disabilities together to compete, learn and grow on the same team as equals. Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Unified Sports breaks down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities through the power of sport.