September 28, 2016 | Updated: January 29, 2019

By Heather Crabill

Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) has officially announced the winners of its statewide 2016 Outstanding Service awards. Among the four recipients to receive the honor, FC Dallas was recognized for Outstanding Service from a Business-Corporation. 

The Major League Soccer (MLS) organization will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony on Friday, Oct. 14 in Bryan/College Station during the 2016 SOTX Fall Classic competition. FC Dallas will be honored along with the Houston Bar Association, San Antonio ABC affiliate KSAT sports director Greg Simmons and San Antonio’s Gwenda Taggart, who also received Outstanding Service Awards from the non-profit organization.  

FC Dallas got involved with Special Olympics in 2013 when MLSWORKS formed a partnership with Special Olympics MLS WORKS is Major League Soccer's community outreach initiative dedicated to addressing important social issues and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs. MLS teams were challenged to promote Unified Sports and adopt a community-based team in their market. FC Dallas adopted the Spirit of Flower Mound delegation during the first two years of the partnership. In an effort to give all SOTX athletes in the Dallas area a chance to make the team, FC Dallas transitioned from adopting one particular team to hosting an open tryout for the previous two seasons In addition, professional soccer club contributes at least $15,000 a year to SOTX through in-kind donations. 

“FC Dallas has been a wonderful partner with Special Olympics,” said Tom Black, a SOTX coach. “They have treated our athletes as superstars and have done many wonderful things for our athletes and coaches." 

This year, FC Dallas allowed the Flower Mound team to use their training facility for practice once a week free of charge. The SOTX athletes were given the professional athlete treatment, as they were provided with official FC Dallas uniforms and equipment. They also took part in photo shoots, signed contracts, practiced and scrimmaged with the professional athletes and coaches, and got to play on the field of Toyota Stadium, where they were cheered on by fans. As the partnership has grown, FC Dallas has taken its SOTX team on an all-expense paid trips to Los Angeles and Denver to play matches against the Los Angeles Galaxy and Colorado Rapids Special Olympics Unified teams.  

“Since I’ve been with Special Olympics Texas, I have yet to come across a more generous or more compassionate organization,” SOTX program director Alex Hubbard said about FC Dallas.

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