Later this month, MLS and ESPN will host the 6 Annual Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Experience. The final match will be on July 31 at the Orlando City Stadium. The game will feature participants both with and without intellectual disabilities.
Special Olympics Southern California athletes Logan Jones and Juan Ortega, alongside Coach Jorge Ochoa, will represent LA Galaxy SOSC Unified Soccer. LA Galaxy representatives stated athletes who tried out for the team were selected based on “their ability to work with teammates of all abilities, their commitment to the play unified experience, and their understanding of the game of soccer.”
Goalkeeper #13 Logan Jones, of Simi Valley, is no rookie to being a soccer superstar. In 2017, he was nominated for the LA Galaxy Goal of the Year. Additionally, twenty-four year old defender #14 Juan Ortega, of Hawthorne is competing for the second year in a row. These players along with Coach Jorge Ochoa are sure to make an impact at this summer’s match.
All individuals participating are between the ages of 16 and 25. The All-Star soccer experience provides a life-changing opportunity for participants and fans. Athletes, coaches, and partners involved get to be a part of an inclusive team experience, while having some fun and healthy competition. Those involved will support the MLS Special Olympics Unified Program’s goal to promote social inclusion. By unifying athletes with and without disabilities, the program aims to break social barriers and spread acceptance throughout local communities.
“Through our ‘Soccer For All’ platform, MLS strives to provide an environment where everyone is welcome,” says Joann Neale, President and Chief Administrative officer of Major League Soccer & Soccer United Marketing. “The Special Olympics Unified Exchange Program is a great example of how we’re collectively working to build inclusive communities. We’re proud to continue collaborating with our clubs and our partner ESPN for the program’s sixth season, providing authentic MLS experiences and opportunities for all to play the game.”
ESPN, a year-round partner of Special Olympics, are also committed to growing Unified Sports programming. Their goal is to reach 7 million acts of inclusion by 2020. You can join the “Choose to include” pledge to support Special Olympics efforts to inspire social change. Visit: http://www.specialolympics.org/MLS
ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Special Olympics Southern California enriches the lives of athletes with intellectual disabilities through sports, health, and leadership programs. Special Olympics helps athletes become more independent, build self-esteem, and live healthier lives. They inspire people to open their hearts and create more accepting and inclusive communities. All Special Olympics programs are free to the athletes and their families. Learn more at www.sosc.org