TFC Special Olympics 2018

Toronto FC and Special Olympics Ontario Unveil Unified Exchange Roster

Toronto FC and Special Olympics Ontario announced today the 12-player roster that will compete in the 2018 Special Olympics Unified Sports Soccer Exchange Program at Toyota Park in Chicago, Illinois on Friday, July 20. The team will face off against a roster of Special Olympics athletes from the Chicago area, chosen by the Chicago Fire and Special Olympics Illinois.

“It has become a tradition that Toronto FC play a big part in this initiative led by Special Olympics,” said Bill Manning, President, Toronto FC. “Through sport, we can help spread the message of inclusion. We are proud to give these athletes competitive and positive experiences and increase the accessibility of soccer to encourage healthy, active lifestyles.”

The Unified Exchange Program is the cornerstone of the Special Olympics Unified Sports initiative in partnership with Major League Soccer and ESPN that leverages the power of sport to promote an environment of social inclusion. Unified soccer teams, comprised of players with and without intellectual disabilities, travel from their home city to other MLS markets to compete in exhibition matches with their Special Olympics counterparts. Unified matches are scheduled in conjunction with MLS club matches, providing MLS fans with an opportunity to witness first-hand the talents and abilities of Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners. Following the roster announcement, the Toronto FC Unified players were treated to a jersey unveil and training session with former Toronto FC captain Dwayne De Rosario.

“Special Olympics Ontario is thrilled to take part in this incredible opportunity,” said Glenn MacDonell, President & CEO, Special Olympics Ontario. “Through our partnership with Toronto FC, we are able to provide our athletes with a competitive and meaningful experience, while spreading our message of inclusion and acceptance. Our athletes are very eager to share their love of the game and showcase their abilities on the pitch.”

For more information about Unified Sport, click here


2018 SPECIAL OLYMPICS UNIFIED EXCHANGE MATCH ROSTER (TORONTO)

No.

Name

Position

 

 

Birthdate

Hometown

12

Keeley Aird

Defender

 

 

7/12/2001

Unionville

7

Prakash Bhandari

Forward/Midfielder

 

 

07/29/1999

Scarborough

28

Mackenzie de Jonge

Forward

 

 

08/10/2001

Guelph

17

Shabaana Mohamed

Defender

 

 

04/10/2000

Ajax

22

Sam Windross

Forward

 

 

09/11/1996

Barrie

21

Ruby Lappin

Midfielder

 

 

06/05/1997

Newmarket

10

Ahsan Musavi

Defender

 

 

08/02/1996

Scarborough

20

Emily Panousis

Forward/Midfielder

 

 

01/09/1999

North York

9

Abdullah Mohamed

Forward/Midfielder

 

 

12/29/1998

East York

31

Justin Williams

Goalkeeper

 

 

03/01/2001

Ajax

18

Bailey Francis

Defender

 

 

11/07/1996

Toronto

14

Jonathan Knott

Forward/Midfielder

   

11/03/1998

Ajax


About Toronto FC

The first Canadian soccer club to compete in Major League Soccer, Toronto FC began play in 2007. The club is owned and operated by the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and plays its home matches at BMO Field on the Exhibition Place grounds. Toronto FC are the reigning champions of Major League Soccer and are coming off a 2017 season that saw them become the first team in Major League Soccer history to capture a domestic “Treble” (winners of the MLS Cup, the MLS Supporters Shield and the Canadian Championship). Toronto FC were the 2018 Concacaf Champions League finalists. The club works out of the state of the art BMO Training Ground, which is also home to the TFC Academy.

About Special Olympics Ontario

Special Olympics Ontario is part of a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become

accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all.  Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Special Olympics encourages sports and fun, bringing people together and breaks down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities through a unified sports approach. This year, Special Olympics celebrates its 50th anniversary with 12 months of festivities planned around the world, from July, 2018 to June, 2019. Canada has an honoured place within the movement, through the tireless work and efforts of Dr. Frank Hayden, who pioneered the research and the structure that we now know as Special Olympics. For more information, visit specialolympicsontario.com

Media contact:

Nikk Kadbet, MLSE, Nikk.Kadbet@mlse.com, 647-919-6455
Brock Robinson, Special Olympics Ontario, brockr@specialolympicsontario.com, 416-447-8326 ext. 264