Soccer Skills — Sara and Martin Sommerville (

Soccer Player Development – Pat Wheeler (

Soccer Unified: Dan Vidmar (

Training Locations: Cedar Lane Park, EastCentennial Park

Soccer Skills: Cedar Lane Park Field #8; Wednesday 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Player Development: Cedar Lane Park, East - Wednesdays – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Cedar Lane Park, East – Saturdays – 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Traditional and Unified:
Soccer is considered the world’s most popular sport for children and adults around the world. Similarly, it is one of the most popular sports for Special Olympics athletes. Athletes are able to improve their overall physical fitness through training and competition and can be played by boys, girls, men and women of just about any physical build and ability.

In Special Olympics 7-a-side football matches, there are a few rules variations from those seen in FIFA. Some of them include: kick-ins from the touch line, throw-ins by the goalie, throw-ins by goalies cannot touch the other side of the half field until touched by a player first, and there are no off-sides.

Soccer programs offered by Special Olympics Howard County are: Individual Skills, 7-a-side Player Development Team, 7 a-side Traditional Team, and 7 a-side Unified Team.

The Unified 7-a-side soccer format features the Special Olympics Unified Sport concept which brings together athletes of similar ages and abilities both with and without intellectual disabilities. This format allows these athletes to train and play together. it also fosters friendships and understanding. Teams consist of 4 SO Athletes and 3 Unified Partners. 

The Special Olympics MD Player Development Unified format assures the best competitive experience for athletes who are learning the fundamentals of team play. Soccer games are played in 7-a-side format consisting of 5 SO athletes and 2 Unified “mentor coaches”. The mentors facilitate game play and provide on-field coaching while the game is progressing. 

In addition to offering traditional soccer, Special Olympics soccer offers individual skills competition to allow athletes to train and compete in basic soccer skills. The development of these key skills is necessary prior to advancing to team competition. These skills include dribbling, shooting, and the run and kick. A player’s final score is determined by adding together the scores achieved in each of the events.

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