The Houston Dynamo and Special Olympics Texas will once again work together to create the Houston Dynamo Unified Team, presented by 76®.
The Dynamo Unified Team was introduced today at BBVA Compass Stadium during a very special press conference. The Dynamo Unified athletes signed player contracts with the Houston Dynamo and took part in various media day activities. The 76® brand is the title sponsor for the Houston Dynamo Unified Team. Players will receive team uniforms and training gear compliments of 76®.
Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Unified teams join people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. Teams are made up of people of similar age and ability, which makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away.
The team will practice every Wednesday from 6:30-8:30pm at 2700 E. Pasadena Blvd in Deer Park. Once a month, the team will host a special practice at Houston Sports Park, during which time Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash players and coaches will help the athletes perfect their skills.
This year the team will take part in a home-and-away series with Minnesota United Unified on Wednesday, July 19 in Minneapolis and again on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Houston. The team will also have the opportunity to play the Colorado Rapids Unified team on Saturday, Sept. 9 in Houston. These matches are free and open to the public, and fans are encouraged to come out and support both teams.
This is the second year that the Dynamo and Special Olympics Texas joined together as part of a larger partnership with MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, and Special Olympics North America. The Dynamo and Special Olympics Texas are collaborating to leverage the power of sports to promote an environment of social inclusion and acceptance by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics Unified Sports.
The matches between these teams will showcase the Unified Sports exchange program that is the cornerstone of the ongoing partnership between MLS and Special Olympics North America. Through the Unified Sports soccer exchange program, Unified soccer teams from MLS cities travel to other MLS markets to receive training from MLS players and coaches, as well as compete in exhibition matches with their Special Olympics counterparts in that MLS market. Unified matches are scheduled in conjunction with MLS club matches.