July 18, 2017 | Updated: January 29, 2019

By Steve Helm


HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo and Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) are teaming up to form the Houston Dynamo Unified Team, presented by 76®. The squad, comprised of nine Special Olympics athletes and four Unified Partners, will play the first half of a home-and-away series when it visits Minnesota United’s Special Olympics team at TCF Bank Stadium on Wednesday night, July 19. The Unified Exchange match will take place immediately following the MLS regular season match between the Dynamo and United, which kicks off at 7 p.m. CT.

The backend of the home-and-away series with Minnesota United will be played on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Houston. 

The Special Olympics Unified match has been organized in conjunction with MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, in partnership with Special Olympics in an ongoing effort to bring soccer, the world’s most popular sport, to more athletes with and without intellectual disabilities. The Unified match offers a competitive experience for the athletes while also offering MLS fans an opportunity to witness the talents and abilities of Special Olympics soccer players first-hand.

This is the second year that the Dynamo and Special Olympics Texas joined together as part of a larger partnership with MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, and Special Olympics North America. The Dynamo and Special Olympics Texas are collaborating to leverage the power of sports to promote an environment of social inclusion and acceptance by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics Unified Sports.

The matches between these teams will showcase the Unified Sports exchange program that is the cornerstone of the ongoing partnership between MLS and Special Olympics North America. 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.

For more information on this event, contact Aaron Keith (akeith@sotx.org) or Renee Klovenski (rklovenski@sotx.org) at 713.290.0049.

Houston Dynamo Unified Team Roster:

#

First Name

Last Name

Role

35

Aaron

Graham

Athlete

42

Kail

Graham

Partner

23

O’Nelle

Copeland

Athlete

00

Zach

Copeland

Partner

10

Hayden

Dyson

Partner

13

Jeremey

Fox

Athlete

15

Misha

VanDevender

Athlete

14

Jaime

Otero

Athlete

3

Ivan

Soto Jr

Athlete

11

Tyler

Sims

Athlete

40

Patrick

Hernandez

Partner

25

Matt

Weiser

Athlete

1

Oscar

Chapa

Athlete

31

David

Thibodeaux

Athlete

 

 

 

 

 

Joe

Dyson

Coach

 

Jesse

Baxter

Coach

 

Erica

Mares

Team Admin

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