For the fifth season, the Houston Dynamo and Special Olympics Texas will work together to create the Houston Dynamo Unified Team, presented by 76®.
Nineteen individuals with and without disabilities participated in the Unified Team tryouts today from 1-3 p.m. at Houston Sports Park. Led by Houston Dynamo Academy coaches, the event provided participants with an opportunity to engage in various training drills, competitions, and social experiences.
To get the event started, all the participants were treated to a special video. Dynamo goalkeeper Cody Cropper sent a message to the athletes wishing them good luck with the tryouts, telling them to give it their best effort and to make sure and have fun.
“We were very excited to see so many athletes and partners out here today. Watching this program grow from a team of eight in the first year to now having 19 athletes and partners vying for a spot on the team is amazing,” said Valerie Holland, Director of Community Relations and Dynamo Charities for the Houston Dynamo.
In the coming days, coaches will be reviewing the tryouts to select the 15 athletes who will make up the Dynamo Unified Team throughout the 2020 season. The players selected will be announced later in the spring at a special signing day press conference held at BBVA Stadium. Athletes selected to the Dynamo Unified team will get a true professional experience, including traveling to take on FC Dallas Unified on May 16, and visiting the New York Red Bulls Unified team on July 11.
“It has been great to see the commitment to this program from both the Dynamo and 76® over the last five years,” said Joe Dyson, Dynamo Unified Team Manager. “We are grateful to both of these organizations for supporting Special Olympics and our athletes and partners by providing this once in a lifetime experience. This team helps to encourage and inspire our players and really make them feel a part of the Dynamo family.”
The Dynamo, Special Olympics Texas and 76® are collaborating in hopes of leveraging 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.
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.
ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS TEXAS
Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) is a privately funded non-profit organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect. SOTX provides continuing opportunities for more than 55,200 children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the Lone Star State to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. To learn more, visit www.specialolympicstexas.org or call (800) 876-5646. Special Olympics Texas can also be engaged on: Twitter at @SOTexas, Facebook at fb.com/SpecialOlympicsTX, and Youtube at youtube.com/specialolympicstexas.