Unified Soccer Series Announced for 2023

March 28, 2023 Blog, Events, Featured, Press

MADISON, Wis. – Union Omaha and Forward Madison FC, in conjunction with Special Olympics Nebraska and Special Olympics Wisconsin, announced today the continuation of the Unified Soccer Series. The Unified Soccer Series is the first of its kind within the United Soccer League (USL), consisting of two matches, one in Omaha, Neb. and one in Madison, Wis. featuring Special Olympics Unified teams from both states. The matches, scheduled for June 24 in Omaha and August 12 in Madison, will be played at Werner Park and Breese Stevens Field respectively. Both matches will occur around the USL League One matches those nights.

The Special Olympics Unified Sports program focuses on promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences and joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. Teams will be established through each state’s Special Olympics program in the coming months. The Forward Madison Unified Team will be hosting a tryout on Sunday, April 2nd from 1-4pm at Breese Stevens Field in Madison. The Union Omaha Unified Team will be hosting a tryout on Sunday, April 23rd from 4:30-6:30pm at Papillion Landing in Papillion, NE.

“The enthusiasm and skill on display in the Unified Series last year was inspiring, and we’re thrilled to continue this first-of-its-kind series with Forward Madison,” Union Omaha General Manager Peter Marlette said. “I expect us to put together another talented team and look forward to retaining the trophy.”

“We are looking forward to continuing the Unified Series in 2023,” Forward Madison COO Conor Caloia said. “To see the energy, passion, and overall love for the game that was displayed last year was truly something special and something that we want to build off of for years to come.”

“We are truly blessed to have the opportunity to partner with such a special club in Union Omaha and to continue our rivalry series with Special Olympics Wisconsin and Forward Madison FC,” Special Olympics Nebraska President and CEO Carolyn Chamberlin said. “Our Special Olympics Nebraska athletes have thrived with the opportunity to play on such a stage, and we anticipate an even bigger impact for everyone involved in year two. Unified Sports brings people and communities together in such a way that I know our athletes in both Nebraska and Wisconsin will inspire us all to achieve greatness.”

“Forward Madison has been such an awesome partner to promote inclusive communities on and off the pitch,” Special Olympics Wisconsin President & CEO Chad Hershner said. “This rivalry series with our Nebraska friends bolsters both organizations’ commitment to inclusion across sport, and we are excited to battle for the cup in year two!”

About Union Omaha
Union Omaha, the 2021 USL League One Champion, is the only professional soccer team in the state of Nebraska. USL League One is a United States Soccer Federation-sanctioned professional men’s soccer league that occupies the third tier of the American soccer landscape, below USL Championship (tier two) and Major League Soccer (tier one). The 2022 League One Championship defending campaign is set to begin on April 9 with a visit to Forward Madison FC. The home opener at Werner Park is set for April 23 vs. USL1 newcomer Central Valley Fuego FC. Union Omaha plays its home matches at Werner Park in Sarpy County, also home to the Omaha Storm Chasers of Minor League Baseball. The team is led by General Manager Peter Marlette in the front office and by Head Coach Jay Mims on the field.

About Forward Madison
Forward Madison FC is a charter member of USL League One, launched in the spring of 2019. The Flamingos finished fourth in their inaugural USL League One season, drawing a league-best 4,292 fans per match to Breese Stevens Field. More information and registration for the team’s weekly newsletter is available at www.forwardmadisonfc.com. Follow the team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Special Olympics Nebraska
Special Olympics Nebraska is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, which was founded in 1972. The mission of Special Olympics Nebraska mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendships with their families, and other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

About Special Olympics Wisconsin
Special Olympics Wisconsin is a statewide organization of the Special Olympics movement that unleashes the transformative power and joy of sports everyday around the world. Through work in sports, health, education and community building, Special Olympics has been empowering people with intellectual disabilities for more than 50 years, leading to a more welcoming and inclusive society. With the support of donors, coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics Wisconsin provides year-round sports training and nearly 150 yearly athletic events featuring 19 Olympic-type sports to nearly 9,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities. 

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