Athletes Earning Elite Soccer Experience

LONG BEACH, Calif. (July 13, 2017) – This summer Special Olympics Southern California athletes are earning an elite-level soccer experience thanks to partnerships with the Los Angeles Galaxy, CONCACAF and Manchester United.

It starts locally with the LA Galaxy Unified Team. They are slated to play a three-game schedule throughout the summer, the most in-depth season to date. The SOSC LA Galaxy Unified Team earned a win in their season opener back on May 27 and will next play in Portland to take on the Timbers Unified Team on Saturday, Aug. 5. It is the longest season for the program as it continues its growth in year three. Read more on the start of year three of the SOSC LA Galaxy Unified Team.

More elite-level opportunities are around the corner for SOSC athletes.

On Friday, July 14 nearly 50 athletes from the Santa Clarita Valley region will participate in a soccer clinic with Manchester United. With volunteers and coaches provided by AON and Manchester United, athletes will participate in passing, dribbling and control drills. They will also play in a small sided tournament and participate in a meet and greet with players and volunteers.

In addition, athletes from Orange County will have the opportunity to participate in a clinic hosted by CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) on July 22-23. The clinic is held in conjunction with the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the “Let’s Live in a State of GOAL!” campaign, a program aimed at promoting diversity, acceptance, inclusion, and respect throughout the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The clinic is in advance of the CONCACAF Golf Cup second semifinal, which is at the Rose Bowl on July 23. The clinic will include skills and training. The clinic will be conducted by CONCACAF coaches. In addition, the athletes will be able to watch the teams practice in preparation of the semifinal and attend the match on Sunday.

CONCACAF joined forces with Special Olympics North America and UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean region to carry out advocacy and communication activities on different platforms to further raise awareness about inclusion.

“Special Olympics is excited to have our athletes included in the events surrounding CONCACAF’s Gold Cup. The “Let’s Live in a State of GOAL!” campaign is aligned with the same goals of our organization: acceptance, inclusion and respect,” said Special Olympics Senior Director of Sports, Greg Epperson. “Utilizing the world’s most popular sport as our vehicle, the unifying and transformative power of sport will be on display both on and off the field.”

“Children and adolescents with disabilities, LGBT, migrant, indigenous and Afro-descendants are exposed to many forms of exclusion, violence and discrimination, denying them the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives,” said UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean region, Maria Cristina Perceval. “We are happy to partner with CONCACAF because thanks to the convening power of football we will be able to reach millions of people with this important message.”

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