Special Olympics Ohio's Lynn Delong and Hayden Miller have been named to the Unified Sports East All-Star team ahead of the sixth annual Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Showcase, presented by MLS WORKS and ESPN, as part of Major League Soccer's All-Star Week festivities from July 27-31 in Orlando, Fla.
Delong and Miller, who will represent Crew SC, will play in an East-versus-West, 11-versus-11 match featuring Unified players from other MLS clubs on July 31 at 9:30 a.m. ET at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex prior to the MLS All-Stars' match vs. Atlético Madrid, which is scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. ET from Exploria Stadium [FS1, UniMas].
Recently, the Special Olympics Ohio team competed against the Special Olympics Kansas/Missouri team on June 23 at MAPFRE Stadium as part of the first of two Unified Matches this season for Crew SC's representatives. The match, presented by Acura, was part of the 2019 Special Olympics Unified Sports Soccer Exchange Program, which is a collaboration between ESPN, Special Olympics and MLS WORKS, the League's social responsibility platform. The event was also part of Crew SC's Give Forward initiative, presented by MAPFRE Insurance.
Along with playing on the pitch at MAPFRE Stadium, both Unified teams got the opportunity to walk onto the field before the game and be introduced to the fans. Additionally, after the Unified match, participants received a medal from Crew President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko and interacted with First Team players. | PHOTOS
As part of the Unified Exchange program, Crew SC is dedicated to providing Unified athletes with unique experiences, such as a jersey unveiling, a professional photoshoot, flights and hotel accommodation alongside the First Team, recreational activities, and matchday recognition. Additionally, Special Olympics Ohio athletes are outfitted in authentic uniforms provided by adidas.
The goal of the Unified Exchange program is not only to provide Special Olympic athletes with top-level training and competitive experiences, but also excellent life experiences that they might not otherwise engage in.
June 23rd's contest marked the fifth consecutive year that the Black & Gold has participated in the Special Olympics Unified Match and the third consecutive year that Acura has partnered with the Club for the event.