COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Tuesday, June 26, 2012) – The Colorado Rapids and Special Olympics Colorado (SOCO) have formed a partnership for a series of events throughout the summer, culminating with the 2012 Championship Cup Series, a two-game competition involving Special Olympics soccer teams from the Denver and Seattle areas. The first match takes place in Seattle on July 8, and will be followed on July 28, immediately after the Rapids match against Seattle Sounders FC at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“Our athletes and coaches are very excited to represent Colorado,” says Mindy Watrous, President and CEO of Special Olympics Colorado. “This is a wonderful opportunity for them to develop new friendships, enhance their soccer skills, and experience world-class soccer both in Colorado and the Northwest. The Rapids have welcomed this concept with great enthusiasm and have helped us develop a very unique experience that our athletes will always remember.”
“We are thrilled to join with Special Olympics Colorado to provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to these athletes and staff,” said Tim Hinchey, President of the Colorado Rapids. “The passion and skill of these athletes is an inspiration to everyone at our club, and we are very proud that they will be wearing our colors and representing the Rapids. We look forward to establishing a tradition between our organizations in the future, and we can’t wait to see them in action here at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on July 28.”
The 2012 Special Olympics Rapids team received their uniforms and travel equipment at the team’s practice last night, with Colorado Rapids players Conor Casey and Brian Mullan lending a hand.
The Special Olympics Rapids team began practicing in early June, and the 11-member All-Star team is comprised of six SOCO athletes and five partner athletes under the direction of coaches Ilima Kane and Philip Knight of Denver. The team will travel to Seattle on July 6, and trip will include a UNITY Match with Sounders FC development players, on-field introduction during the Rapids-Sounders game at XBOX Pitch at CenturyLink Field, and the first game, a 5v5 match between the two Special Olympics teams at the Sounders Training Facility in Tukwila, Washington on Sunday, July 8 at 11:00 a.m. PT.
The second game of the series will take place on Saturday, July 28, immediately following the Rapids match against the Seattle Sounders at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The teams will play a traditional 11v11 style of play in two, 20-minute halves. On Sunday, July 29, the All-Star teams will participate in a skills clinic at the Rapids Practice Fields with Colorado’s Technical Staff.
Each team is co-ed and its players range in age from 16 to 21. The Colorado Rapids, in partnership with adidas, will outfit each athlete with authentic Colorado Rapids uniforms, travel apparel, cleats and a team travel bag. Dick’s Sporting Goods, sponsor of the Colorado Rapids and Special Olympics Colorado, is supporting the official travel team headed to Seattle.
The partnership between the Rapids and Special Olympics Colorado will also include other events, with more information available in the coming days.