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It was a hot and muggy evening for a soccer game, but that did not slow down our Unified Team or the Philadelphia Union. On July 31, 2016 prior to the Philadelphia Union vs Real Salt Lake match, our George Washington High School Unified Soccer Team was honored for their win against the Colorado Rapids earlier in May. The George Washington Unified Soccer Team competed as the Philadelphia Union during an exchange game made possible by the collaboration of Special Olympics, MLS Works and ESPN. Each year, 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. Special Olympics Philadelphia has had the amazing opportunity to represent the Philadelphia Union. In the last three years as our Unified Team has taken on a Unified D.C. United, Unified NJ Red Bulls, and this year, a Unified Colorado Rapids.
As the Philadelphia Union warmed up, our Unified Team watched from the sidelines as they also prepared to walk on another MLS Field. As they entered the field, the journey of their trip to Denver to played on the jumbo screen. The video, which originally aired on The State of the Union on June 17, 2016 can be viewed here. Our athletes, partners, coaches, and some lucky supporters made their way onto the field with huge smiles on their faces to be recognized. As they stood midfield, they waved to a roaring crowd. As our Unified Team exited the field, the Sons of Ben, the Philadelphia Union Fan Club, gave each member of the team a Sons of Ben Membership Pin to officially integrate them into the pack. After an amazing experience on the field, our Unified Team took to the stands to cheer on the Philadelphia Union as they took on rivals Real Salt Lake. During halftime, our Unified Team met up with Marisa Pilla, Host/Sideline Reporter for Philadelphia Union Pregame Live, to grab a quick picture on set!