On Wednesday, July 26th, Seattle Sounders FC welcomed 10 athletes and partners from the Special Olympics Unified soccer team from Special Olympics Washington for a contract signing ceremony at Starfire Sports.
Made up of students with intellectual disabilities and students without, the Unified team got the full signing day treatment and were presented with their personalized Sounders jerseys by Garth Lagerwey, Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer. Lagerwey hosted the signing ceremony where he spoke about what it means to be a Sounder, teamwork and never giving up.
The Sounders GM wished them good luck on their match against Portland on Saturday, August 26th at Starfire. This will be the 6th time the Special Olympics Washington and Special Olympics Oregon play each other in their annual Exchange Match, which began in 2012.
The team was then invited out to the First Team's morning training session. Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer welcomed the new Sounders players and had them run a shooting drill with goalkeepers Stefan Frei, Tyler Miller and Bryan Meredith. The First Team signed autographs and took photos with the newly-signed players.
Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Unified Sports joins 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.