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:
What is Unified sports?
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.
What is the Unified Cup?
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.
Where is the Unified Cup being played?
Detroit won the bid to hold the 2022 Unified Cup. The opening ceremony will be hosted by Corner Ballpark, as will the women's competition preliminary matches. Men's preliminary games will be played at Schoolcraft College, and then the Division 1 men’s and women’s finals will be held at Keyworth Stadium.
Teams competing in the Unified Cup
- Saudi Arabia
- Burkina Faso
- Caribbean (Haiti, Aruba, Bahamas)
- Costa Rica
- Bharat (India)
- Serindib (Sri Lanka)
Unified Cup schedule
- USA vs Costa Rica (women's competition)
- Serindib vs Egypt (women's competition)
- Namibia vs Guatemala (women's competition)
- Slovakia vs Caribbean (women's competition)
- Burkina Faso vs Mexico (women's competition)
- Bharat vs UAE (women's competition)
- USA vs Brazil (men's competition)
- Korea vs Morocco (men's competition)
- Romania vs Paraguay (men's competition)
- Singapore vs Saudi Arabia (men's competition)
- Nippon vs Nigeria (men's competition)
- Jamaica vs Nigeria (men's competition)
- Championship matches
How to watch the Unified Cup on TV
The men's and women's championship matches will be available to watch on ESPN3 from 2pm ET on Saturday 6th August.