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!


ESPN and MLS WORKS hosted the 3rd Annual Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Match on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, CA at 5:30 PM PT, just two days before the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. Justin Sherlock and Tariq Fontroy, two students from School of the Future represented the Philadelphia Union as they participated on the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. 

For the third year in a row, the match featured athletes representing 18 MLS clubs from the U.S. and Canada. The teams will take the pitch in an East vs. West match up immediately following the MLS All-Star open training session at Avaya Stadium. The Unified Sports All-Star soccer teams are comprised of players with and without intellectual disabilities, and will play an 11 v. 11 match consisting of two 35-minute halves. The team uniforms for the game will be provided by adidas.
ESPN soccer analyst and commentator Taylor Twellman will served as the sideline reporter, providing color commentary and interviews with players and coaches throughout the match. MLS All-Stars will be on hand greeting the athletes as they take the field, and San Jose Earthquakes players will serve as celebrity coaches for both teams, as well as presenting the Unified athletes with medals following the game.
The game will showcased the Special Olympics Unified Sports exchange program, the cornerstone of the ongoing partnership between MLS and Special Olympics North America. Through the Unified Sports soccer exchange program, Unified soccer teams from MLS cities travel to other MLS markets to compete in exhibition matches with their Special Olympics counterparts. Unified matches are scheduled in conjunction with MLS club matches, providing MLS fans with an opportunity to witness first-hand the talents and abilities of Special Olympics athletes. Supporting the matches is ESPN, media partner to both MLS and Special Olympics International and the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports.
After the All-Star Game, the Unified Teams participated in an All-Star day of service hosted by MLS WORKS and Wells Fargo. Unified Athletes, Partners and MLS All-Stars got hands on as they painted basketball courts, four square courts and more at a San Jose school. Later taht evening, all players were recognized at the MLS All-Star game during halftime! 
Eastern Conference All-Stars Roster:
Number Player Position Team Representing
1 James Day Keith F New England Revolution
2 Julia Marie Keith M New England Revolution
3 Aaron B Elman F Columbus Crew SC
4 Emily Schultz M Columbus Crew SC
5 Ahmed Wague D NYC FC
6 Andeano Sewell F NYC FC
7 Ethan Harvey F Chicago Fire
8 Mark Jerabek F Chicago Fire
9 Peter H Poole F New York Red Bulls
10 Jason Poole M New York Red Bulls
11 Justin Sherlock D Philadelphia Union
12 Tariq Fontroy F Philadelphia Union
13 Kevin Guzman M DC United
14 Dennis Mendizabal M DC United
15 Brandon Groave D Toronto FC
16 Brianna Cuzzolino D Toronto FC
17 Cesar Barreto   Orlando City SC
18 DAniel Huertas   Orlando City SC


The Eastern Conference All-Stars faced the Western Conference All-Stars whose team included:

Athletes and Partners Team Representing
Matthew Weiser & Hayden Dyson Houston Dynamo
Scott & Jonathan Stephens Colorado Rapids
Laurence Fairchild & Douglas Sullivan FC Dallas
Tyler C Melhorn & Walter Hayes Sporting Kansas City
Malik Amir Franks & Rafael Lopez LA Galaxy
Raymond Morrow & Matthew McMillens Portland Timbers
Boston Iacobazzi & Ivan Yin Real Salt Lake
Cody Peterson & Nikole Cruz Seattle Sounders FC
Eli Thorton & Joel Aguado San Jose Earthquakes







MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, is dedicated to addressing important social issues and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs. MLS WORKS seeks to establish Major League Soccer as a leader for improving the lives of people through sport. MLS WORKS has helped to improve the communities where we live and play our games by executing programs and campaigns that focus on cancer research and treatment, anti-discrimination, community service, health and wellness, environmental sustainability and accessibility to soccer. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram@MLSWORKS.
About ESPN and Special Olympics
ESPN is proud of its relationship with the Special Olympics, which spans more than 30 years. It is the global media partner for the 2017 Special Olympics World Games, the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games and the 2019 Special Olympics World Games, and previously provided multi-platform coverage of Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles (LA2015) as well as coverage of the 2011 World Games in Athens on ESPN3. Since 2013, ESPN has been the Global Presenting Sponsor and Official Media Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports, which bring athletes with and without intellectual disabilities together as teammates.