On Saturday, April 29th, Special Olympics Philadelphia held our 40th Annual Philadelphia Spring Games at William Penn Charter (3000 West School House Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19144) and it was an absolute success! We had a record-breaking event on numerous levels, including the number of counties hosted (six), the number of athletes competing,  and celebrity and political representatives! It looked like it would be a cloudy day when it started, but as we were about to start the sun came out.Click to View Full-Screen Image

The day started at 8:00 am at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Flame of Hope was escorted by law enforcement from the Upper Gwynedd Township Police Department, Philadelphia Police Department, lead by Deputy Commissioner Dennis Wilson. Members carried the Flame of Hope from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to William Penn Charter. At 9:00 am, Opening Ceremonies began enthusiastically as athlete Allie Rutizer, and Sports Anchor for Comcast SportsNet, John Boruk emceed the morning. To lead the parade of athletes, West Powelton Drum Squad lead the way before we introduced athletes from  Bethlehem City, Chester County, Delaware County,  Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and of course, Philadelphia County. Besides athletic teams, basketball teams, and tennis teams, we also welcomed our Young Athletes, Gymnastics Team, and athletes from School of the Future and some of our bocce athletes. Athletes in the parade were escorted by members of the Temple University Football Team. After the athletes took their seats, a remarkable edition of the National Anthem was sung by a parent, Denine Aversa as Frankford High Schools Junior ROTC Color Guard lead by Cadet Kevin Olsen presented the colors. 

Click to View Full-Screen ImageAfterward, Director of Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia, Britt Kleine, spoke and introduced Mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, who gave words of his support of Special Olympics, appreciation for everyone involved, and encouragement for the athletes about to compete. After Mayor Kenney spoke, Councilman Derek Green spoke and presented Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia with a Citation from the City of Philadelphia to honor the 40th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Spring Games. Opening Ceremony ended with the Flame of Hope being brought in by the Law Enforcement Torch Run and escorted by, retired professional boxer, Bernard Hopkins. After the excitement of the Flame of Hope arriving at the 40th Annual Philadelphia Spring Games, Allie and John kept the energy high by proclaiming the Games Open!Click to View Full-Screen Image

Athletes parted ways to partake in athletics (track and field), basketball, and tennis competition. As competition started, our VIP guests got to participate in a Unified Bocce Experience with some of our community bocce athletes as well as athletes from our Interscholastic Unified School, School of the Future. Two courts were set up and after a brief training for our VIP guests, the experience was on its way! Everyone who participated had a great time and athletes played alongside our VIP guests. Our Young Athletes who are not old enough to compete as an official Special Olympics athlete, showed off their skills at William Penn Charter’s playground as they completed an obstacle course that was set up especially to show off their skills.

Click to View Full-Screen ImageBesides competition, the Olympic Village offered a place for athletes to relax and do some fun activities while waiting for their turn to compete. In addition, sponsor PriceWaterhouseCoopers was at the grill, firing up some burgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches for spectators as well as selling some beverages and souvenirs. The day ended with athletes being awarded medals in order of their finish at their respective competition site. Everyone left happy, and for those athletics and tennis athletes – a little tanner!

Thank you to the coaches, assistant coaches, and families who helped all of our athletes prepare for the 40th Annual Philadelphia Spring Games! A huge thank you to all of the volunteers who made this day possible!



Coming Soon!


Team Athletes Place
Bad News Bears    



Coming Soon!


Via Kristen Applegate YouTube channel on behalf of Temple University


Photos by Dane


PHOTOS: Special Olympics holds annual Philadelphia Spring Games at Penn Charter in East Falls


Thank you to our sponsors:

for making this event a celebration!

                       PECO Logo 


Legacy Youth Tennis and Education Logo     


Brandywine Realty Trust LogoThe Gish Rockford Family

On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, SOPA Philly hosted a Unified Bocce Demonstration at the School District of Philadelphia Head Quarters (440) in the atrium for all to see! The two winning teams from our Philadelphia Unified Bocce Championship championship that did not advance to Hershey – a team from Thomas Edison and another from George Washington, along with a team from Kensington HS joined us at 440 to take part in this fun day.

There was a small program prior to the demonstration where a partner from the George Washington team who played in Hershey addressed the crowd and shared their experience in Hershey, and then two athletes from Edison.

The Edison and George Washington teams played off against one another to demonstrate a skilled game and teammates from Kensington played alongside administrative personnel from within the school building who came down to experience the magic of Unified firsthand. Not only did administrative personnel come down to play, there was a crowd watching the showcase, including from the balconies above. 

Photos from the Showcase

After finishing first at the 2017 IUS Philadelphia Bocce Championship, two George Washington teams an a team from Thomas Edison were placed into a hat to see who would represent Philadelphia at the 2017 Interscholastic Unified State Bocce Championships.  At the end, one of the teams from George Washington Eagles moved on to represent Philadelphia. Members of the George Washington Team 1 headed to Hershey, PA on Thursday, March 23rd to be there when competition started early on Friday, March 24th. 

George Washington showed up early to the Giant Center in Hershey, PA to go for the gold. In the first round, they went up against the Upper Dauphin Trojans and lost in a 7-8 game. Although the chance of gold slipped through their fingers with just one point, our George Washington Eagles did not lose sight of sportsmanship and congratulated the Trojans with their heads held high. In their final match, the Eagles went for the bronze medal as they went up against the Sun Valley Vanguards. The Eagles gave it their best shot, but in the end lost their second match. Like the first match, they congratulated the Vanguards with a smile on their face. Although the Eagles lost both of their matches, they had a great time spending the night in Hershey, PA and going against teams from across the state.


Gold Division
Blue Division

Elizabeth Forward Warriors

Rochester Rams


Upper Dauphin Trojans

Grove City Eagles 


Sun Valley Vanguards

Souderton Indians


George Washington  Eagles

Strath Haven Panthers

Bracket for 2017 Unified Bocce Championship


Photos by Dane Hilderbrand:

Special Olympics Philadelphia held their 27th Annual Volleyball Tournament this past Saturday, October 22, 2016. Philadelphia welcomed 150 athletes from 11 volleyball teams from Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Clinton County. Teams met at Lincoln High School to engage in cooperative volleyball play. Richard Bailey hosted the Opening Ceremonies along with athlete, Teddy Angerman. Teddy announced each team as they marched in the Parade of Athletes. Teams included the Clinton County Hawks, Philadelphia Angelic Stars, Philadelphia Green Diamonds, Montgomery Hawks, Montgomery Warriors, Philadelphia Wildcats 1, Philadelphia Wildcats 2, Montgomery County Blue Barracudas, Montgomery County Key Limes, Montgomery County Teal Seals, Philadelphia Phlash. After the Parade of Athlete, the Abraham Lincoln High School Junior ROTC presented the colors. When the colors were presented, Denine Latanzo Aversa sang the national anthem, as everyone in the audience joined in and sang with her. As the national anthem concluded, you could feel the excitement growing as Joseph Barut carried the torch. As Joseph came down the aisle, he received an enthusiastic fanfare from the athletes, coaches and spectators. Jennifer Wetzel led athletes in the Special Olympics Athlete Oath of, “Let me win. If I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” After the Athlete Oath, Special Olympics Philadelphia Director, Britt Kleine, said a few words before Teddy Angerman officially declared the games open!
Thank you to all of the coaches, Officials and volunteers who helped make this day possible!
View Photos on our Facebook Page


Group 1: 

1st Place: Clinton Hawks
2nd Place: Montgomery Warriors
3rd Place: Philadelphia Phlash
4th Place: Philadelphia Green Diamonds
Clinton Hawks vs. Montgomery Warriors
Philadelphia Green Diamonds vs. Philadelphia Phlash
Clinton Hawks vs. Philadelphia Green Diamonds
Montgomery Warriors vs. Philadelphia Phlash
Clinton Hawks vs. Philadelphia Phlash
Montgomery Warriors vs. Philadelphia Green Diamonds


1st Place: Montgomery Teal Seals
2nd Place: Montgomery Blue Barracudas
3rd Place: Philadelphia Wildcats 1
Montgomery Blue Barracudas vs. Philadelphia Wildcats 1
Montgomery Blue Barracudas vs. Montgomery Teal Seals
Philadelphia Wildcats 1 vs. Montgomery Teal Seals


1st Place: Montgomery Key Limes
2nd Place: Montgomery Hawks
3rd Place: Philadelphia Angelic Stars
4th Place: Philadelphia Wildcats 2
Philadelphia Angelic Stars vs. Montgomery Hawks
Montgomery Key Limes vs. Philadelphia Wildcats 2
Philadelphia Angelic Stars vs. Montgomery Key Limes
Montgomery Hawks vs. Philadelphia Wildcats 2
Philadelphia Angelic Stars vs. Philadelphia Wildcats 2
Montgomery Hawks vs. Montgomery Key Limes

AREA M Fall Classic Logo

This past Sunday, October 9th, 700 Special Olympics Pennsylvania athletes met in Hershey, PA for Area M’s 2016 Fall Classic. 22 of these athletes were Philadelphia soccer players on the 7v7 team, Philly Strykers, and 5v5 team, Stars and Stripes. Other sports offered at this competition were Long Distance Running/Walking, Powerlifting, and Volleyball.

Click here to check out photos from the event, courtesy of PennLive! Philadelphia teams are in the teal/black jerseys!


Area M’s 2016 Fall Classic Facebook Event


Team Athletes Head Coach Place
Philly Strykers     7 v 7 Matthew Grabowski, Joseph Rynkiewicz, Ryan Bogan, Charles Zisette, Angel Rodriguez, Brian Stulz, Mitchell Stahl, Samuel Fioravanti Jr, Jason Bixby, Daniel Charlton, Jesse Rose, Matthew Beckman Ryan Milaniak  2nd Place
Stars and Stripes 5 v 5  Ian Capacio, Allison Davidson, Danny Amrick, Jackie Lutts, Emmett Abdo, Lisa Barbour, Kristie Walls, Michael Weinberg, David Brent Williams, Kayla Atkins Charles Abdo  1st Place


Thank you to our two Head Coaches and the Assistant Coaches from the Philly Strykers: Gary Bixby, Walt Beckman, Samuel Fioravanti Sr, Linda Rose and John Rose and the Assistant Coaches from Stars and Stripes: Ronald Atkins and Karen Aviso, who put in long hours to help our athlete prepare for this tournament!

On Sunday, October 2nd, 46 Philadelphia athlete competed at the 2016 Eastern Fall Sectional held at East Stroudsburg University. Athletes competed in Bocce, Soccer, and Volleyball. It was a pretty dreary day, but Philadelphia shone with their bright uniforms. Our soccer athletes wore teal, you couldn’t miss our volleyball athletes in neon green and our bocce athletes wore sunshine yellow. All of our athletes competed with determination to make it to Fall Fest. With their coaches on the sideline, giving support, our athletes gave their best performance on the field/court. With the newly introduced hashtag, #SOPAFallEast, athletes, volunteers, coaches and fans were able to share their experiences of the day with everyone!

Congratulations to our Team 1 in Bocce (Pam Galone and John Kulpa), our 5v5 team, Stars and Stripes, and our 7v7 team, Philadelphia Strikers, for advancing to Fall Festival held next month! 

2016 #SOPAFallEAST Facebook Event



Team 1 Pamela Galone & John Kulpa  
Team 2 Teddy Angerman & Raymond Anderson 4th Place 
Team 3 Christiana DiVergils & Sharon Quarles  3rd Place
Team 4 Bryan Ziegler & Kevin Karcher  2nd Place
Unified Team 1 Carole Angerman & Irwin Fox  

Thank you to Head Coach Carole Canady and Assistant Coaches Michelle Angerman, Carolyn Driscoll who put in long hours to help our athlete prepare for this tournament!

Team Athletes Head Coach Place
Philly Strykers   (7 v 7) Matthew Grabowski, Joseph Rynkiewicz, Ryan Bogan, Charles Zisette, Angel Rodriguez, Brian Stulz, Mitchell Stahl, Samuel Fioravanti Jr, Jason Bixby, Daniel Charlton, Jesse Rose, Matthew Beckman Ryan Milaniak  2nd Place
Stars and Stripes (5 v 5) Ian Capacio, Allison Davidson, Danny Amrick, Jackie Lutts, Emmett Abdo, Kristie Walls, Michael Weinberg, David Brent Williams Charles Abdo  3rd Place

Thank you to our two Head Coaches and the Assistant Coaches from the Philly Strykers: Gary Bixby, Walt Beckman, Samuel Fioravanti Sr, Linda Rose and John Rose and the Assistant Coaches from Stars and Stripes: Ronald Atkins and Karen Aviso, who put in long hours to help our athlete prepare for this tournament!

Team Athletes Head Coach Place

Philadelphia Warriors

Lavar Gladden, Demetrius LeFlore, Benjamin Liken, Davon Clements, Abdul Muhammed, Michael Henderson, Anthony Flanigan, Nicole Stanley, Kenneth Lamont, Denzel McFadden William Holman  

Thank you to the Head Coach, William, and Assistant Coaches Tamika Holman and Beverly Liken who put in long hours to help our athlete prepare for this tournament!

Volleyball Individual Skills
Joseph Barut  
James Shelton  

Thank you to Head Coach, Jon Garvey, who put in long hours to help our athlete prepare for this tournament!


Volunteer at the Philadelphia Marathon and be a part of Team Special Olympics PA without hitting the pavement!

Want to be part of our Philadelphia Marathon team, but hate running? Good news for you! Volunteer at the Philadelphia Marathon to ensure the event runs smoothly for all participants. Sign up as an individual or a group, and don’t forget to mention that you are volunteering on Team Special Olympics Pennsylvania!
Volunteer positions are on Friday, November 18th, Saturday, November 19th, and Sunday, November 20th. Volunteer times range from morning to evening, so you will be sure to find a position that suits your schedule. Volunteer positions include bag stuffing, assisting with bib and t-shirt pick up, fun zone assistant, helping in the official merchandise area, gear check, volunteer check-in, people moving, start and finish line assistant, awards ceremonies, clothing collection, handing out Gatorade and water, handing out heat sheets, handing our refreshments, and more!
Register to Volunteer at the Philadelphia Marathon
When you register, you will see a drop down menu for the question “Are registering on behalf of a team? If so, select from list below:”, please select “Special Olympics Pennsylvania” to support our cause!
2016 Marathon Volunteer Screenshot
Forgot to register for the race? Join Team Special Olympics PA here!
Questions concerning volunteering or running on behalf of Special Olympics PA
Kristin Craven| kcraven@specialolympicspa.org | 610.630.9450 x 252

Between May 21st and June 22nd the 2016 TD Tour took place. Twelve Philadelphia athletes toured the twenty-two TD bank branches in Philadelphia as well as visited corporate TD in Center City. The TD Tour is when Special Olympics athletes visit various TD Banks to thank them for their support and sponsorship throughout the year. The athletes who participated in the 2016 TD Tour are Megan Murphy, Cory Jenkins, Ryan Bogan, Daniel Amrik, Sharon Quarles, Ian Capacio, Allison “Allie” Rutizer, Craig Lawson, Joseph Yerkes, Lisa Barber, Tyreek Perkins and Adrienna Nieves.

These athletes had the opportunity to go behind the scenes of almost every TD bank they visited and see things the public cannot see.  They were given the royal treatment and they could not contain their excitement.  Athletes were able to talk to customers through the drive through window using a microphone, see where TD’s clients’ valuables are kept in the vault, learn what tellers do on a daily basis, assist tellers with deposits, withdrawals and other transactions, and some even got “locked” in the vault! 

Each bank was extremely welcoming to our athletes providing snacks and small TD Bank themed items. Our Philadelphia athletes had a lot of fun getting to know our new TD friends and touring where they work!  The smiles on their faces were contagious and the athletes had every TD worker laughing and smiling. Thank you to all of the TD Banks who hosted us and we cannot wait for next year!


Photos 2016 TD TOUR


Our Unified Soccer Team from George Washington High School came back from Denver Colorado as the winners of the Philadelphia Union vs. Colorado Rapids Exchange Game. This makes our Philadelphia team the three-peat MLS Exchange Game Winners! 

Our George Washington team left Philadelphia on Friday, May 27th. When they arrived at the hotel, they were surprised by a meet and greet with the Philadelphia Union! Later that evening, they joined the Unified team from Special Olympics Colorado for a baseball game at the Coors Field where the Colorado Rockies took on the San Francisco Giants. The home team came away with the win (5-2), would this be a sign for scores to come?

On Saturday morning, our team took a stroll through Denver, Colorado to take in their surroundings. They stopped by a park to partake in a pre-workout. Later on, our team once again joined the Unified Colorado Rapids Team to watch the Philadelphia Union play against the Colorado Rapids. After an intense game, the game ended in a tie. Then both Unified teams took the field. As a bonus for our Unified Philadelphia Union, after their game, the Philadelphia Union players quickly showered, put on their suits and took to the field again to cheer on our team! At the end of both twenty minute halves, our Unified Philadelphia Union  team was victorious with a final score of 7-5. 

After the match, both teams were presented their medals at the awards ceremony featuring head coach Jim Curtin to conclud the evening. Our athletes and partners left the filed with smiles from ear to ear. The memories they all made during this trip will remain in their hearts forever.



Special Olympics Unified Sports® creates an opportunity for people without intellectual disabilities to join in the sports experience by playing on a team with athletes with intellectual disabilities. Not only do the players all have fun, but attitude change and transformation happens on the playing field and the experiences create lifelong friendships.

About MLS Works & Special Olympics:

In 2013, MLS and Special Olympics created a Unified Sports exchange program that is the cornerstone of the ongoing partnership between MLS and Special Olympics North America. Unique to this partnership is an exchange program for Special Olympics Unified Sports soccer teams, which are comprised of players with and without intellectual disabilities. 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. 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 and unified partners. The exchange program not only provides Special Olympics athletes with top-level training and competitive experiences, but also excellent life experiences that they might not otherwise otherwise engage in.

Articles about the event:

June 8, 2016: Colorado Rapids: Colorado Rapids and Philadelphia Union Special Olympics Athletes take the pitch

May 31, 2015: Marisa Pillar for PhiladelphiaUnion.com:  A once in a lifetime experience with Special Olympics Pennsylvania

May 28, 2016: Alicia Rodriguez for MLS: Colorado Rapids 1, Philadelphia Union 1 | 2016 MLS Match Recap

On Saturday, April 30th, 70 athletes represented Philadelphia at the 2016 Eastern Spring Sectional held at Kutztown University. Opening Ceremonies was filled with many performances including the KutzTones, Kutztown University’s A cappella group, singing the national anthem, Special Stars cheerleading team performing their routine, and Kutztown University Dance Team performing two numbers. During Opening Ceremonies, Fran Moore, Head Coach of Special Olympics Philadelphia Aquatics lead the coaches in the Coaches’ Oath. After the conclusion of Opening Ceremonies, our Philadelphia athletes joined over 1,000 athletes from the eastern part of Pennsylvania to compete in one of the six sports offered at the Eastern Spring Sectional – Athletics, Aquatics, Basketball, Golf, Softball, and Tennis.

Aquatics Results:

Joseph Barut
25 M Freestyle, :34.72 2nd Place
  50 M Backstroke, 1:39.10 1st Place
  25 M Backstroke, :47.81 1st Place
Ian Capacio
100 M Butterfly, 1:47.91 1st Place
  200 M Individual Medley Participation
  800 M Freestyle, 12:20.22 3rd Place
Meghan Garlick
200 M Individual Medley Participation
  100 M Backstroke, 1:48.37 1st Place
  200 M Breaststroke, 4:42.54 1st Place
Kelsey Greenewald
200 M Freestyle, 4:01.81 1st Place
  25 M Backstroke, :28.39 1st Place
  100 M Freestyle, 1:47.92 2nd Place
Katelyn Joyce
50 M Butterfly, 1:37.42 2nd Place
  100 M Freestyle, 2:38.29 2nd Place
  50 M Backstroke, 1:14.96 3rd Place
Heather Lutts
100 M Freestyle, 2:39.53 3rd Place
  50 M Backstroke, 1:18.87 5th Place
  25 M Butterfly, :41.29 1st Place
Jackie Lutts
100 M Freestyle, 1:54.71 4th Place
  50 M Backstroke, 1:06.78 3rd Place
  50 M Freestyle, :51.38 2nd Place
Matthew Malyj
25 M Breaststroke, :31.16 2nd Place
  50 M Breaststroke Participation
  100M Freestyle, 2:13.53 1st Place
Brian Meehan
100 M Backstroke, 2:08.16 4th Place
  400 M Freestyle, 9:26.72 1st Place
  200 M Freestyle, 4:29.90 3rd Place
Katie Moore
800 M Freestyle, 19:33.35 2nd Place
  100 M Individual Medley, 2:13.82 2nd Place
  100 M Butterfly, 2:30.95 2nd Place
Jesse Rose
100 M Butterfly, 2:34.30 3rd Place
  200 M Backstroke, 4:21.59 1st Place
  800M Freestyle, 18:57.97 1st Place


Basketball Results:

Philly Phlames

Matthew Grabowski, Clifford Johnson, Kwante Crummy, Ryan Bogan, Joe Rynkiewicz, Angel Rodriguez, Charlie Zisette, Mitchell Stahl

Northwest Warriors

Lavar Gladden, Devone Clements, Nicole Stnaley, Demetrius LeFlore, Tyrone Durant, Abdul Muhammad, Frank Olevsky, Benjamin Liken, Michael Henderson, Denzel McFadden

Philly Phorce

Andrew Hooks, Matt Beckman, Sam Fioravanti, Ronald Atkins, William Strauser, Emest Swanson, Danny Amrik, Allison Rutizer

Philly Phlash

Lateef Hiller, James Fulton, Felipe Rivera, Kenny Lamont, James Trotman, Nakisha Johnson, Kyle Sheaff, Christopher Ray, Sharod King, Jonathon Watson, James Daly III, James Thorton

Philly Phever

Vernon Mayfield, Matthew Everett, Derrell Sutton, Luis Cotto, Brian Stulz, Carl Irvis, Derrick Jackson, Josh Harris, Danny Charlton, Corey Sweet

Philly Phusion

Emmett Abdo, Michael Castillo, Stanley Dluzniewski, James Shelton, Kelly Dluziewski, Kristie Walls, David Brent Williams, Bianca Pedulla, Anthony Gross, Aida Ortiz, Carlyn Robinson

All Photos