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Football

Football players compete in our Middle East-North Africa region, where football is an always popular pastime.

Football (Americans call it soccer) is possibly the world's most popular team sport. It's also Special Olympics' most popular sport. This page draws together football-related information for all of Special Olympics, including news, stories, calendar events and competition results.


300 x 200 football in ireland

Get an overview of the sport of Special Olympics football.  View the Football Fact Sheet

Played in just about every country, the sport's success is due to the fact that it can be played by boys, girls, men and women of just about any physical build and ability. Football requires little in the way of specialized equipment and is organized using simple, intuitive rules. 

It's so fundamental to the future of Special Olympics' growth plans that it is the focus of our Global Football initiative.

Football is perfect for Special Olympics Unified Sports, in which people with and without intellectual disabilities play on the same teams. In 2010, Special Olympics held its Unity Cup in connection with the World Cup.

The coming years will see more exciting global and regional football events for Special Olympics.


Football Stories and News


April 29, 2015 | Europe Eurasia: Belgium

And the Webby goes to...Special Olympics!

By Maureen Rabbitt

A social media campaign fronted by Belgian Red Devil’s soccer star Kevin De Bruyne to raise awareness and support for the 2014 Special Olympics European Summer Games has just won an extremely prestigious WEBBY award, often referred to as the ‘Oscars of the internet’.View Story A social media campaign fronted by Belgian Red Devil’s soccer star Kevin De Bruyne to raise awareness and support for the 2014 Special Olympics European Summer Games has just won an extremely prestigious WEBBY award, often referred to as the ‘Oscars of the internet’. The nominated campaign created by Belgian agency LDV United, changed hearts, attitudes and minds ahead of the country hosting the Special Olympics European Games in Antwerp in September 2014. An image showing De Bruyne with the facial characteristics of people with Down syndrome and the question ‘Does De Bruyne deserve fewer supporters now?' became an immediate online success. It was a brave thought provoking campaign that earned its place as a nominee under the Social Media/Sports category. Other nominees included major commercial sport organisations such as the National Hockey League (NHL), US Open and NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championships.

About Maureen Rabbitt:I am Communications Director for Europe Eurasia.
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April 22, 2015 | Latin America: Mexico

No Differences on the Playing Field

By Maria Jose Gonzalez

I love sports, specially soccer!!! When you work for the world wide leader in sports you have got to love it, but on February 6 2015 we were invited to play a unified game with the Special Olympic Athletes in Mexico and then the love I had for sports meant a whole lot more.View Story I love sports, specially soccer!!! When you work for the world wide leader in sports you have got to love it, but on February 6 2015, we were invited to play a unified game with the Special Olympic Athletes in Mexico and then the love I had for sports meant a whole lot more.I realized that in a soccer field there is only one goal and that the passion for the game is shared by ALL. There are no differences in a playing field, we are all equal and we all want to give our best. The experience while playing the unified game was one of a kind. First of all I have never played with actual members of the Mexico´s National Soccer team, come July I´ll be rooting for them hoping they come home with a gold medal. Second of all I realized that the only boundaries that I could encounter in that field were the ones that limited the side lines and goal lines. Third and last, I was able to recognize a bit of myself in all of my teammates, we all love soccer and we all love to play together.

About Maria Jose Gonzalez:I am the finance manager for ESPN Mexico
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March 02, 2015 | Europe Eurasia: Turkey

Yarkin and Furgan - new friendship begun!

By Serkan Ovatman

Yarkin and Furgan, unified football teammates and friends

Yarkın Gokcepınar (10 years old) and Furkan Simdi(11 years old) from Manisa/Salihli, in Turkey. They have started to play together in a Unified football team in September 2014 as a part of King Baudouin Unified Sports project.View Story Yarkın Gokcepınar (10 years old) and Furkan Simdi(11 years old) from Manisa/Salihli, in Turkey. They have started to play together in a Unified football team in September 2014 as a part of King Baudouin Unified Sports project. Since then, they have been regularly meeting at the trainings and they experienced their first Unified competition in December. Yarkin (Special Olympics athlete, left) enjoys playing football and he is excited that he is making new friends in his team. “I would like to practice even more with my friends from Belediye Spor. I am also looking forward to go with them to the cinema and picnic trips”. Furkan (Special Olympics partner, right) has never had any experiece with Special Olympics athletes before. As soon as he started to play in a Unified team, he begun to enjoy the Unified experience. “I would like the activities to happen more often as I would like to spend more time with Yarkin”. We are looking forward to hear more about this new friendship!

About Serkan Ovatman:I work in the sports department and I am Project Coordinator for ‘Having fun and making friends on and off the football pitch: social inclusion through Special Olympics Unified Sports Recreation in Turkey’’ supported by King Baudouin Foundation which runs between October 2014 – February 2016 in 6 locations in Turkey, supported by the Turkish Football Federation.
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Football Events


Date

Event

Location

May 15 - 16 2015

Florida State Summer Games

Special Olympics Florida’s Summer Games are the largest event on the calendar with athletes competing in athletics (track & field), bocce, cycling, soccer, tennis, and volleyball. This event is held annually at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and kicks off with an exciting Olympic-style opening ceremonies featuring the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. It concludes on Saturday night with closing ceremonies and the much anticipated victory dance.
For more information
More Details
Akin Joseph
Email:akinjoseph@sofl.org
Phone:352-243-9536
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ESPN Wide World of Sports
700 South Victory Way

Lake Buena Vista, Florida
UNITED STATES

May 15 - 16 2015

Utah State Summer Games

Join us as more than 1,000 athletes and Unified Sports partners will compete during this two-day event and will receive support from nearly 500 coaches and more than 1,000 day-of volunteers! Competition will be held in the following sports: athletics (track & field), soccer, Unified Sports® soccer, softball, motor activities training program
For more information
More Details
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Salt Lake City, Utah
UNITED STATES

May 19 - 21 2015

District of Columbia Summer Games

Come and cheer on our athletes during our Summer Games as they demonstrate their courage and determination over 3 days of sport competition. This event will be held on May 19-21 at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Support our athletes and experience sports in its truest form. For more details please use the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Special Olympics District of Columbia
Phone:202-408-2640
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Catholic University
Washington, District of Columbia
UNITED STATES

May 21 - 23 2015

Iowa State Summer Games

Want to experience Summer Games sports competition in its purest form? Come to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa on May 21-23 to cheer on our athletes as they leave it all out there on the playing field. Sport events will include tennis, soccer, cycling, bocce, athletics and aquatics. Be a fan of the Special Olympics and help us promote the joy of sports. For more details please use the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Special Olympics Iowa
Phone:515-986-5520
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Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa
UNITED STATES

May 25 - 27 2015

2015 Special Olympics Ontario Provincial School Championships

Join us on May 25-27 in Oshawa, Ontario Canada as our as athletes compete and show their skill in basketball, bocce, soccer, and track & field competition. Come and cheer on our athletes and witness the power of sports. For more details please use the contact information below.
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Oshawa, Ontario
CANADA

May 28 - 30 2015

South Dakota State Summer Games

This will be our 47th annual State Summer Games Competition. Approximately 600 athletes are expected to compete in athletics, aquatics, team soccer, individual soccer skills, powerlifting and volleyball. See you there!
For more information
More Details
Johna Thum
Email:jthum@sosd.org
Phone:605-331-4117
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South Dakota State University Campus
Brookings, South Dakota
UNITED STATES

May 29 - 31 2015

Rhode Island State Summer Games

Join us May 29-31 at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island as over 1,500 athletes from across the state of Rhode Island compete in athletics, aquatics, cycling, bowling, motor activities training program, soccer, and powerlifting! For more details please use the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Chris Hopkins
Email:chris@specialolympicsri.org
Phone:(401) 349-4900
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University of Rhode Island
45 Upper College Road

Kingston, Rhode Island
UNITED STATES

May 29 - 31 2015

Missouri State Summer Games

Join us May 29-31 for the 2015 Missouri State Summer Games in Springfield Missouri as our athletes showcase their skills over 3 days of sports competition. Athletes will compete in aquatics, soccer, track and field, powerlifting, and volleyball. For more details about the event please refer to link and contact info below.
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Susan Shaffer
Email:shaffer@somo.org
Phone:573-635-1660
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Springfield, Missouri
UNITED STATES

May 30 - Jun 6 2015

15th Annual Special Olympics European Football week

The Special Olympics Annual European Football Week idea was initiated in the year 2000 supported by UEFA. Starting with 15 countries in 2000, currently Special Olympics European Football Week involves almost all European countries. Each country organizes a variety of football activities including large tournaments, exhibition matches during Club and Football Federation events and small local competitions hosted by communities and schools with an average participation of up to 50,000 people. During Football Week, Special Olympics footballers of all abilities showcase their skills and determination on pitches throughout the Europe Eurasia region. The aim of football week is to encourage people from all walks of life to get involved in the Special Olympics movement using the most popular sport. 2015 edition focus is on Play Unified and living a healthy lifestyle. The kick off the week will host be invitational 7-a-side Football Tournament on 29-31 May with 12 European teams in Rosmalen, The Netherlands.
For more information
More Details
Miroslaw Krogulec
Email:MKrogulec@specialolympics.org
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50 countries around Europe
POLAND

Jun 5 - 7 2015

Colorado State Summer Games

This years Summer Games will be held in Grand Junction at Colorado Mesa University. This event is the biggest Special Olympics Colorado competition of the year! The event brings together athletes from across the state to compete in five sports: athletics, aquatics, gymnastics, powerlifting and soccer.
For more information
More Details
Special Olympics Colorado
Email:beafan@SpecialOlympicsCO.org
Phone:720-359-3100
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Colorado Mesa University
Grand Junction, Colorado
UNITED STATES

Jun 12 - 14 2015

Illinois State Summer Games

Summer Games is Special Olympics Illinois premiere sports competition with more than 4,000 athletes and Unified Partners competing in 6 different sports, along with 1,600 coaches, 2,500 volunteers and 3,300 family members. That totals more than 11,400 people who attend Summer Games! The Summer Games are held at Illinois State University in Normal and the Illinois Wesleyan University campus in Bloomington. A variety of activities are provided for the participants in addition to the sports competitions. Competition will be offered in athletics, aquatics, bocce, Unified bocce, gymnastics, football (soccer) and powerlifting. The public is invited and encouraged to attend any and all parts of Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games. Hope to see you there!
For more information
More Details
David Shindley
Email:dshindley@soill.org
Phone:309-888-2551
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ISU & IWU Campus
Bloomington-Normal, Illinois
UNITED STATES

Jul 12 - 16 2015

European 7-a-side Football Tournament “Kim Kallstrom Trophy” by Gothia Cup

Fifth edition of “Kim Källström Trophy” the Special Olympics European 7-a-side football tournament to be held in Gothenburg 12th-16th of July 2015 as part of Gothia Cup. Since the start in 1975 this international youth football tournament has received teams from more than 140 nations. Over 1 million youth football players have taken part making the Gothia Cup not only the biggest but also the most international youth tournament in the world. The Kim Källström Trophy is cooperation between Gothia Cup, Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia, Special Olympics Sweden and the Swedish national player Kim Källström. The main sponsor of the event is Goodsport Foundation. The Gothia Cup is a tournament where the meeting between youth people from different countries and culture are a priority. We therefore kindly ask, that teams which are interested in participating in the tournament does not have an elite focus in their organization. This is a lead to equal the level of the teams that are participating in the tournament. The fourth edition of Kim Källström Trophy was held during 2014 with a lot of positive feedback from the 30 participating teams. The participating teams represented 13 different nations around the world. For 2015 our aim is to invite more international teams and to increase the number of female teams in the tournament.
For more information
More Details
Kristina Sager and Jonatan Sandberg
Email:Kristina.sager@gothiacup.se
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Kviberg fields
Gothenburg, Gothenburg
SWEDEN

Jul 24 - Aug 2 2015

World Summer Games Los Angeles 2015

In July of 2015 more than 7,000 athletes from 170 countries will come to Los Angeles, California for the Special Olympics World Summer Games and enjoy 10 days full of joy, friendship and competition. Athletes will compete in 22 sports. The event expects to attract 500,000 spectators and 30,000 volunteers and 3,000 coaches.
For more information
More Details
World Summer Games Los Angeles 2015
Email:info@la2015.org
Phone:213-892-6018
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Various Locations, Los Angeles
Los Angeles , California
UNITED STATES

August 18, 2015

Coaches Training - Soccer

Join us on August 18th for a soccer coaches training. The venue is to be to be determined. To register please use the link below. If you have further questions please contact Zach Warner at warne1zd@cmich.edu
For more information
More Details
Zach Warner
Email:warne1zd@cmich.edu
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Grand Rapids, Michigan
UNITED STATES

August 24, 2015

Coaches Training - Soccer

Join us on August 24th for a soccer coaches training online webinar. Attendance in Mount Pleasant is not needed. To register please use the link below. If you have further questions please contact Zach Warner at warne1zd@cmich.edu
For more information
More Details
Zach Warner
Email:warne1zd@cmich.edu
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Webinar
Mount Pleasant, MIchigan
UNITED STATES

September 12, 2015

Southwest Regional Soccer Tournament

Join us on September 12th at Kraft Meadows Middle School in Caledonia, Michigan. This event features athletes from across Michigan's Southwest Region competing in 5 on 5, 7 on 7 and Unified Divisions. Opening Ceremonies kick off at 8:30 am with competition to follow beginning at 9:00 am.
For more information
Nick Caudle
Email:caudl1n@cmich.edu
Phone:616-583-1202
View More

Kraft Meadows Middle School
9230 Kraft Ave. SE

Caledonia, Michigan
UNITED STATES

September 13, 2015

Northern Region Soccer Tournament

Join us on September 13 at the Roscommon Rotary Soccer Fields in Roscommon, Michigan as our athletes compete in the all-day Soccer Tournament. Hope to see you there!
For more information
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Roscommon Rotary Soccer Fields
Roscommon, Michigan
UNITED STATES

September 27, 2015

Kansas State Soccer & Bocce Tournament

Join us on September 27th at Lone Elm Park in Olathe, Kansas as our athletes compete in 5-a-side soccer, bocce singles, bocce doubles and bocce team. Cheer on our athletes and witness the power of sports. We hope to see you there! For more details please refer to the link and contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Tim Rehder
Email:rehdert@ksso.org
Phone:913-236-9290
View More

Lone Elm Park
21151 W 167th St

Olathe, Kansas
UNITED STATES

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Football/Soccer Competitions

2014 European Summer Games

The Special Olympics European Summer Games featured 10 sports and 58 delegations, making the 2014 Games one of the largest ever. See stories and results


2014 Canada Summer Games

The Special Olympics 2014 Canada Summer Games was the largest Canadian Games ever. See results and teams.


2013 Asia Pacific Games

Athletes from 30 Asia Pacific and East Asia regions compete in the inaugural Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games. Get schedules and results.


2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games

Athens, Greece, was the home of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games. That year, it was the world’s largest sporting event for athletes with intellectual disabilities. See results by athlete, delegation and bib number.


How to Get Involved in Special Olympics

Special Olympics sports training, coaching and competitions go on in more than 170 countries around the world. You can get involved by getting in touch with the closest Special Olympics office.

Special Olympics near you»

Made Possible by The Annenberg Foundation

The Special Olympics movement is profoundly grateful for the support of the Annenberg Foundation which has underwritten the production of the coaches’ guides and resources, supporting our global goals for coaches’ excellence.

LEARN MORE»

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Videos and Photos

Coaching in SerbiaCoaches from three countries met in Serbia to hone their skills.See slideshow »


Videos and Photos

In Deep WaterGo feet first for one of the newest Special Olympics sports.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Summer SportsOur athletes run, jump, swim and score in summer.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Power of SportsSports are a powerful way to change our athlete’s lives.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

First Unity CupSpecial Olympics uses football to promote understanding.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

What We DoSports, health, education, community and more.See Slideshow »



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