Teams are composed of athletes with and without intellectual disabilities playing together.
Schoolcraft College will welcome soccer players from around the globe for the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022 presented by Toyota, a competition that will show the world how the power of sport builds and shapes a diverse community that unites and empowers people of all abilities, from all backgrounds.
The event runs from Sunday, July 31, through Saturday, August 6, with more than 300 athletes from over 20 nations competing. Special Olympics Unified Sports® is a uniquely inclusive organization as teams are composed of athletes with and without intellectual disabilities playing together.
“We’re extremely pleased and proud to welcome the athletes, coaches, support staff, families and friends of the Special Olympics Unified Cup to the campus of Schoolcraft College,” said Dr. Glenn Cerny, President of Schoolcraft College. “Hosting great events like this that bring together a wide spectrum of people while breaking down barriers and creating transformational experiences complements the welcoming and inclusive environment we are working to create for every person every day at Schoolcraft College.”
The St. Joe’s Sports Dome and the College’s soccer field will host men’s preliminary matches August 1-5. The women’s preliminary matches are also August 1-5 and will be held at The Corner Ballpark in Detroit.
The Unified Cup is expected to draw 10,000 spectators, 1,000 volunteers and 500 family members and dignitaries with the common mission of celebrating the joy of sport and the power of inclusion through camaraderie, competition and breaking down social barriers.
The men’s and women’s Division One finals will be streamed live from Keyworth Stadium—home of the Detroit City Football Club—to hundreds of millions of viewers across the globe by ESPN.
The combination of excellent facilities and a strong, collaborative attitude and expertise among the College’s Recreation, Conference and Events, Facilities, Campus Police, Culinary Operations and other departments made Schoolcraft College a natural site for this global competition.
Health screenings will be provided for the athletes at the St. Joe’s Mercy Elite Sports Center as part of the “Healthy Athletes” program. Hearing and vision screenings as well as strategies for maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, including nutrition and exercise, will be offered.
Kellie Murphy, Manager of Sports & Wellness for Special Olympics Michigan, said the following will be provided from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, August 3 through Friday, August 5:
- The Opening Eyes program will provide vision screenings and free prescription glasses, goggles, or sunglasses
- Healthy Hearing provides hearing tests, cerumen removal, and Starkey will be fitting athletes for hearing aids and providing those at no cost to the individual
- The FUNfitness program offers physical therapy assessments for balance, flexibility, and functional strength
- Health Promotion will educate athletes on healthy lifestyles topics like nutrition and hydration as well as providing bone density testing
- The Special Smiles program, the dental initiative, will provide a dental screening, fluoride, mouthguard fitting, and education on proper brushing and flossing
“Individuals are welcome to come check it out; volunteer spots are still available,” Murphy said. “We have clinical volunteer roles (health professionals and health professional students) as well as general volunteer roles that don’t require a healthcare background like data entry and athlete guides.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can register online.
In addition, Culinary Operations is preparing a deli fresh lunch every day, feeding up to 500 athletes, coaches and support staff. The Ocelot Market at the Sports Dome and the Elite Market and Smoothie Bar at the Sports Center will be open to service spectators.
Countries with teams participating in the 2022 Unified Cup include the following:
- Burkina Faso
- Caribbean (Haiti, Aruba, Bahamas)
- Costa Rica
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
- United States
- Saudi Arabia
- United States