On Thursday March 9th, the Switchbacks and Weidner Field opened their doors to over 150 athletes between the ages of 6 and 16 to join them for an exclusive soccer clinic, run by the Switchbacks Unified Team and players and Coaches from the Switchbacks main roster.
Despite the chilly weather, hundreds of registered Special Olympics athletes turned out for the hour long clinic led by the Switchbacks FC coaching staff and several players. The athletes, ranging in age from 6 to 16, rotated through a series of drills and obstacles created by the volunteers that targeted different elements of play. Shooting drills, running skills, and some fun light hearted competition kept everyone moving and motivated.
The Switchbacks Unified Team, the first of its kind in the USL Championship, is made up of registered Special Olympics athletes aged 16 and up, as well as several peer partners. They have weekly practices and travel across the country competing against other Unified Teams from the MLS and USL Leagues 1 and 2. Their goal, other than an undefeated season of course, is to spread advocacy and awareness on Special Olympics athletes and the Unified Program to other teams across our league and beyond.
Tryouts for the Unified Team for the 2023 season took place immediately following the clinic, and the team had a great turnout with nearly 50 athletes working for a spot on the roster. Results from those tryouts should be posted in the next few weeks, and the team will jump right into training for their first match of the year.
For information on the Unified Team and its program, head HERE.