SOSC Creates Virtual Sports Leagues So Athletes Can Stay in the Game During the Pandemic

Special Olympics Southern California launched Virtual Sports Leagues so athletes can stay active, socialize and participate on a team, and compete safely during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Athletes will have the chance to compete virtually with their team from March 29 through June 5. Learn more at sosc.org/VSL.

Due to the pandemic and the potential health risks to the athletes, SOSC cancelled the 2021 Spring Sports Season. The Virtual Sports Leagues is alternative programming that provides the athletes with an outlet that mimics in-person sports training and competitions. Leagues will include athletics (track & field), basketball, swimming, bocce, and flag football. During the six-week regular season, teams will compete weekly, and athletes will have three ways to score points for their team: sport-specific workouts, virtual team meetings/workouts, as well as bonus activities that will be open and accessible to all athletes. Visit https://sosc.org/vsl/calendars for all qualifying scheduled point-scoring dates and opportunities.

“Our athletes are eager to get back in the game with their fellow Special Olympics athletes,” said SOSC President and CEO Calvin Lyons. “This is the perfect opportunity to safely return to competition, unite athletes with their teams, and continue the mission of inclusion.”

SOSC coaches will play a pivotal role in encouraging athletes to sign up and holding virtual team workouts. Athletes will view sport-specific activities on YouTube and will also have the opportunity to follow along independently. All athletes who are interested in competing and participating in SOSC Virtual Sports Leagues can register with or without a coach or team.

For the first six weeks of the season (March 29 – May 6), teams in each league will compete regionally (San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara & Ventura counties, Kern and Inyo counties, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, Orange County, Inland Empire, and San Diego and Imperial counties.) The top two teams in each region will advance to the Championship Bracket. The 16 teams will then be seeded based on their records and play in a win or go home tournament over four weeks.

  • Regional Semi-Finals: May 10 – May 16
  • Regional Finals: May 17 – 23
  • SOSC Semi-Finals: May 24 – May 30
  • SOSC Championships: May 31 – June 5

The teams that don’t qualify for the Championship Bracket will compete in the Consolation Bracket, which is also a four-week, win or go home tournament.

Since the California stay-at-home order went into effect, SOSC pivoted to provide online programming as an alternative to the canceled sports seasons. All SOSC programming empowers athletes to improve their health, grow their self-confidence, and become more independent. Along with the sports leagues, athletes can participate in the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge. Athletes create healthy patterns and bring new healthy practices into their life by signing up for SOSC’s inclusive fitness and mindfulness clubs. The clubs meet over Zoom and are open to anyone. Learn more at www.sosc.org/hlc.

“The importance of unity, acceptance, and health is necessary now more than ever,” said Calvin Lyons. “The Virtual Sports Leagues provides athletes and coaches a space to build teamwork, connections, community, and togetherness during these difficult times.”

For more information on becoming a sponsor, please visit https://www.sosc.org/vsl/sponsors.

Special Olympics Southern California

Special Olympics Southern California enriches the lives of athletes and their communities through sports, leadership programs, and athlete health. Our free, year-round programs leads to improved health, self-confidence, and independence among athletes with intellectual disabilities and acceptance and inclusion in the community. Special Olympics Southern California has earned a four-star ranking from Charity Navigator for exceeding industry standards. This ranking is the highest Charity Navigator offers to an organization and is given because Special Olympics has demonstrated strong financial health and a commitment to accountability and transparency. Learn more at http://www.sosc.org.

 

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