HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo and Special Olympics Texas will once again work together to create the Houston Dynamo Unified Team, presented by 76®. However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the format and competitions for the team will look a little different this year.
With the COVID-19 pandemic making it unsafe for teams to travel and play typical games, the Dynamo and seven other MLS Unified Teams will compete virtually in the Unified We Play Challenge. This virtual competition will include both physical activities and soccer skills challenges that athletes and partners will compete in each week. The competition is set to run from June 29 through July 31 and is organized by MLS WORKS through Major League Soccer’s partnership with Special Olympics.
The unique experience began earlier this month when the Club held a Virtual Signing Day for the Unified Team members. Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash players visited each Dynamo Unified Team member at home to deliver their jersey and official Club contract to the doorstep. Each team member signed his or her contract once back inside their home.
Each Dynamo Unified athlete received an authentic Dynamo jersey with the player’s name and number on the back, a Dynamo training top featuring the iconic 76 , a Dynamo soccer ball, water bottle, sport sack and team scarf.
All eight Unified Teams will have Special Olympics athletes and partners compete in three divisions with points earned from head-to-head matchups to take place over a five-week period. At the end of the competition, the Unified Team with the most points at the top of the overall standings will be crowned champion.
MLS UNIFIED TEAMS
New England Revolution
New York City FC
New York Red Bulls
Real Salt Lake
The Unified We Play competition is designed to provide a fun, inclusive and unique competition for MLS Unified Teams, who traditionally travel to play exchange matches inside MLS stadiums however will be unable to enjoy those experiences this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. For more information on the United We Play Challenge visit https://www.houstondynamo.com/specialolympics.
This is the fifth year that the Dynamo and Special Olympics Texas have 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.
ABOUT THE HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo are a Major League Soccer club that has won two MLS Cup championships, one Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and four conference championships in its first 14 seasons and has qualified to represent the United States in international competition seven times. The Dynamo have advanced to the Conference Championship series seven times in 14 years, the most of any Major League Soccer team since 2006; and the club’s four appearances in the MLS Cup Final are tied for the most in the league during that time span. The team trains on the Memorial Hermann Championship Field at Houston Sports Park (HSP), the premier training facility in Southeast Texas, and plays at BBVA Stadium in downtown Houston. For more information, log on to www.HoustonDynamo.com or call (713) 276-7500.
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. Engage with us on: Twitter @SOTexas; fb.com/SpecialOlympicsTX; youtube.com/specialolympicstexas
ABOUT MOTIVA’S LICENSE OF THE 76®
76® is a registered trademark owned by Phillips 66 Company and licensed for exclusive use by Motiva Enterprises LLC in 26 gulf and eastern states. Motiva has launched a marketing program to support its new 76-branded wholesalers, bringing a localized approach to the Houston market through media, sponsorships and on-site retail activation support. Motiva will be launching an internal fundraising campaign to support Special Olympics as a part of a larger organizational effort to invest in the communities where they operate and market their fuels.