The LA Galaxy Special Olympics Unified Team embarked on a momentous journey to Colorado in June, immersing themselves in the heart of Special Olympics excellence. On Saturday, June 24, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Co., they played against the Colorado Rapids Special Olympics Unified Team in a spirited showdown. This incredible experience was made possible by the support of Alaska Airlines, the proud airline partner of the LA Galaxy.
The LA Galaxy Special Olympics Unified Team proudly donned the LA Galaxy colors while competing on unfamiliar territory. Their determination led to an exhilarating 3-3 draw during regulation time, but unfortunately, they narrowly succumbed to a 4-3 defeat in a penalty-kick shootout against the formidable Colorado Rapids Special Olympics Unified Team.
Tom Braun, the LA Galaxy Senior Vice President of Soccer & Business Operations and Business Development, expressed a commitment to inclusion, “At the LA Galaxy, we firmly believe in the power of soccer to foster social inclusion, and these opportunities serve as shining examples of our commitment to this cause.”
As part of their journey to Colorado, the LA Galaxy Special Olympics Unified Team enjoyed a bond-building experience alongside the Colorado Rapids Special Olympics Unified Team. The two teams had the pleasure of attending a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Colorado Rockies on Friday, June 23, fostering camaraderie and mutual respect between the clubs. The teams also treated to the thrilling spectacle of witnessing the LA Galaxy take on the Colorado Rapids in an intense MLS Regular Season showdown, further igniting their passion for the game.
Prior to the MLS match between the LA Galaxy and the Colorado Rapids, the LA Galaxy Special Olympics Unified Team surprised the LA Galaxy’s first team with a send-off at their hotel. Adorned with vibrant signs and heartwarming posters, the players were met with an outpouring of love and support as they boarded the bus en route to the stadium. In a display of solidarity, the LA Galaxy players and coaches reciprocated the affection by wholeheartedly cheering on the LA Galaxy Special Olympics Unified Team from the sidelines during their Unified match.
Speaking on behalf of the 2023 LA Galaxy Special Olympics Unified Team, Head Coach Cris Ortiz expressed profound gratitude, saying, “As the head coach, we are eternally grateful to Alaska Airlines for their unwavering partnership, which made this unforgettable away game trip possible. With their invaluable support, we can provide our athletes with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, enabling them to experience the sheer magnitude of being a genuine MLS player!”
The LA Galaxy Special Olympics and Unified Team will next host the Chicago Fire Special Olympics Unified Team on Saturday, August 26. In addition, 2 Unified LA Galaxy players, Caleb Terhune and Giber Camacho, have been selected to compete in a West vs. East All-Star game as part of MLS All-Star week festivities in Washington DC! 52 Unified team members will compete and represent 26 nationwide MLS clubs for an 11 vs. 11 competitive match on July 19th.
We are excited for all the Unified times to come!