The Special Olympics’ 2022 Unified Cup is set to take place in the city of Detroit between 31 July and 6 August, and it promises to be fantastic advertisement for inclusion in the beautiful game.
Brazil, USA and Mexico are among the nations who will be vying to become the second ever Unified Cup champions in Detroit – with the first iteration of the the tournament being played in 2018.
Before kick off at the end of July, here’s everything you need to know about the tournament:
Special Olympics Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team.
The transformational concept was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship. These friendships are critical to community cohesion. When some individuals are left out, we all miss out.
Unified Sports provides a valuable form of bonding: peers offer athletes access to areas of community life in which, alone, they had not been able to access. By taking part in activities on and off the playing field, athletes become more visible in their local communities. This helps break down divisions and challenge negative attitudes. Team sports bring people together. Having sport in common is a powerful way for preconceptions and false ideas to be dispelled.
The tournament is modelled after the FIFA World Cup, and will play host to over 300 footballers and Unified partners from over 20 nations. The goal of the tournament is to showcase the power of inclusion and the joy of sport through soccer.
Detroit won the bid to hold the 2022 Unified Cup. The opening ceremony and preliminary games will be held at the Corner Ballpark, while the championship matches will be played in the Keyworth Stadium.
The men’s and women’s championship matches will be available to watch on ESPN3 from 2pm ET on Saturday 6th August.