Man Utd feels Special

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Special Olympics has partnered with Manchester United for a series of skill–building clinics led by club coaches and star players as the team takes a five–city tour of the United States this summer.

The clinics are part of a growing relationship between Special Olympics and Manchester United, which supports unity through sport amongst all athletes, encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities and promoting acceptance for all. The event is on the heels of Special Olympics Team USA soccer gold–medal victory at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece earlier in July. Players and coaches from the Manchester United Football Club and the Manchester United Soccer School will host Skills and Drills soccer clinics for Special Olympics athletes in each city of the clubs five–city US tour. John Shiels, chief executive of Manchester United Foundation along with Manchester United players and their soccer school coaches will lead Special Olympics athletes in a series of drills and skill–building exercises that help to improve technique and show the transformative and unifying power of sport. The clinics were due to begin on 12 July in Boston at Harvard University, and will progress through four additional markets, each clinic happening locally at 5:30 pm with the exception of DC, including Seattle, which took place yesterday at Seattle University, Chicago (July 22nd) at the University of Chicago, New Jersey (July 26th) at Montclair University and concluding in Washington, DC (at 5:00 pm, July 29th) at American University. In some cities, the clinics will be preceded by Unity Matches (where Special Olympics athletes, regional players and members of Manchester United will join in friendly competition), with both activities leading into Manchester Uniteds official games, including a highly anticipated match–up with the Major League Soccer All–Star team on July 27th at Red Bull Stadium in New Jersey. Special Olympics is proud to be associated with the Manchester United Foundation on its 2011 United States tour. We know that Manchester United represents the best in soccer on a global basis and this partnership will inspire our athletes to achieve their maximum potential. Likewise we know our Special Olympics athletes will inspire their new friends from Manchester United how soccer can help unite the world for people of all backgrounds and abilities, said Bob Gobrecht, Managing Director of Special Olympics North America. Soccer is the world's biggest game and is the fastest growing sport in Special Olympics with more than 435, 000 soccer–playing athletes globally, participating in 206 accredited programmes with 65, 000 of those athletes from Special Olympics North America region in 46 states. Special Olympics hopes to grow to have more than 1m soccer athletes by 2015. Special Olympics Team USA Soccer players recently returned from the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2011 in Athens, Greece as gold medalists in a sport where the United States is often overlooked. The team, hailing from Maryland, will be celebrated at Manchester Uniteds match against FC Barcelona on 30 July in Washington DC . We saw these clinics as a great opportunity to create an event but also leave a legacy, said Shiels of the Manchester United Foundation. All of the clinics are sponsored by Aon Corporation, the principal partner and shirt sponsor of Manchester United, and the Manchester United Foundation. To learn more visit http://www. specialolympics. com or http://www. manutd. com and support through the following social media outlets: http://www. facebook. com/specialolympics or http://www. facebook. com/manchesterunitedfoundation.

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