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Chicago Fire Unified Soccer All Stars

by Jeremy Davidson.

Created with the goal of bringing people together, Special Olympics Unified Sports teams have more than half a million participants worldwide who work together to break down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities. Unified Sports joins athletes both with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team to promote social inclusion through shared training and competition exercises with the principle that training and playing together is the quickest path to friendship and understanding.

The All Star team will be coached by David Dore (Homewood Flossmoor High School), Kelly O’Reilly (School District 54), Paul Caldwell (Chicago Fire) and Caleb Steffens (Chicago Fire), with support from Jessica Yavitz (Chicago Fire) and Jennifer Marcello (Special Olympics Illinois).

The Chicago Fire Unified Soccer All-Star Team will practice monthly at Fire training facilities. They will also travel with the Chicago Fire to play a road game in addition to hosting a match in Chicago. The game schedule includes:

Saturday, June 17 at New England Revolution (Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, MA)
Saturday, Aug. 5 vs. New England Revolution (Toyota Park – Bridgeview, IL)

Team Bios

Athletes

Unified Partners

Supporting Documents

Chicago Corporate Cup Success

by Jeremy Davidson.

Playing on a sports team can be fun AND instructive! Just ask the folks from PwC, Baxter, Deloitte, Resolution Life and Accenture. Together with their host, Capital One and their CapAbilities Network, professionals from all of these companies recently got a “taste of” Unified Basketball with our athletes.

Each team was composed of three corporate and two SOILL athletes who played in a round robin Basketball tournament at DePaul’s Ray Meyer Fitness & Recreation Center. Capital One came out victorious in a nail-biter against last year’s tournament champion, Resolution Life Insurance, while Accenture earned the prize for highest fan attendance, “our teams and fans had a wonderful time!” says Accenture team captain, Brynne Miller.

The athletes had an equally fantastic time playing basketball and teaching their corporate teammates that determination, skill and good sportsmanship are universal. Live music, an impromptu dance party and the antics of the Sky Guy from the WNBA team, Chicago Sky, added to the festive atmosphere of an incredible friend-and-fundraiser.

The event was a true demonstration of what our athletes can do on and off the court and we are grateful to Jennafer Palumbo of Capital One for creating the opportunity for them to shine. Jenna confirms the philosophy of her company and the event, “We are thrilled to support the mission of the Chicago Corporate Cup, and hope to continue to support Special Olympics initiatives dedicated to promoting a more inclusive society, specifically as it relates to the workplace.”  Yes!

 

 

Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Special Olympics Illinois Announce 2017 Chicago Fire Unified Soccer All-Star Team

by Jeremy Davidson.

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Special Olympics Illinois are proud to announce the members of the 2017 Chicago Fire Unified Soccer All-Star Team.

Athletes

Guillermo Antolin – Thornton High School, Samuel Devereux – Hoffman Estates High School, Mark Jerabek – District 204 Alumni Eagles, Thomas Kuhn – Metea Valley High School, Ryan McDonough – District 204 Alumni Eagles, Billy Pierce – District 204 Alumni Eagles, and Daequan Wilson – Homewood-Flossmoor High School.

Unified Partners

Ethan Harvey – DVSA, Cori Hoekstra – Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Jared Hoekstra – Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Bryant Holdman – Kankakee High School, Colin Iverson – DVSA, Kaileen Phillips – Kankakee High School, and Illuvia Ramirez – Kankakee High School.

Coaches

The All Star team will be coached by David Dore (Homewood Flossmoor High School), Kelly O’Reilly (School District 54), Paul Caldwell (Chicago Fire) and Caleb Steffens (Chicago Fire), with support from Jessica Yavitz (Chicago Fire) and Jennifer Marcello (Special Olympics Illinois).

Mission

Created with the goal of bringing people together, Special Olympics Unified Sports teams have more than half a million participants worldwide who work together to break down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities. Unified Sports joins athletes both with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team to promote social inclusion through shared training and competition exercises with the principle that training and playing together is the quickest path to friendship and understanding.

The Chicago Fire Unified Soccer All-Star Team will practice monthly at Fire training facilities. They will also travel with the Chicago Fire to play a road game in addition to hosting a match in Chicago. The game schedule includes:

  • Saturday, June 17 at New England Revolution (Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, MA)
  • Saturday, Aug. 5 vs. New England Revolution (Toyota Park – Bridgeview, IL)

About Chicago Fire Soccer Club

Founded on the 126th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Chicago Fire Soccer Club enters its 20th Major League Soccer season with six major domestic championship titles including the 1998 MLS Cup and 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups, and 2003 Supporters Shield. Anchoring Chicago’s growing soccer fan base, the Fire play at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., located 15 miles from Chicago’s Loop. www.Chicago-Fire.com.

Special Olympics Illinois Area 3/Chicago Basketball Competitions

by Jeremy Davidson.

Athletes from across the city of Chicago competed in a variety of both Basketball Teams and Individual Basketball Skills competitions for the chance to win the Gold Medal and advance to the State Basketball Tournament in March!

Area 3/Chicago hosted 8 days of basketball competitions, which allowed approximately 2,000 Chicago athletes to compete.  Athletes were divided by both age group and regional location to accommodate the growing participation numbers in the sport and allow for quality competition at all events.

These events would not have been possible without the substantial support of volunteers!  The facilities that hosted these various events were also beyond accommodating and welcoming to our athletes, coaches, volunteers, and fans!  Thank you to University of Chicago, Quest MultiSport, DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, The Kroc Center, and Northeastern Illinois University for the continued support and generosity. And thank you to Jackson National Life Insurance for their contribution to support Special Olympics Illinois Area 3/Chicago basketball competitions!

Congratulations to all Chicago athletes who competed in Basketball this year!  Approximately 300 athletes from 30 different Chicago delegations will be heading to Normal, Illinois in March to compete in 2017 State Basketball!  Best of luck at the State Basketball Tournament!

Chicagoland Residents, Law Enforcement Officials to Participate in Plane Pull at O’Hare Airport

by Jeremy Davidson.

Participants Test ‘Tug-of-War’ Skills by Pulling 90-Ton Plane to Benefit Special Olympics Illinois

CHICAGO, Ill.  – Teams of local law enforcement agencies and the general public will participate in a larger than life tug-of-war challenge at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10. They will face off with either a UPS Airbus A300 or United Airlines 737 aircraft at O’Hare International Airport for the benefit of Special Olympics Illinois. The Law Enforcement Torch Run Plane Pull includes teams from law enforcement agencies, fire departments, private companies, high schools, colleges, fraternal groups and teams of friends and family. The Opening Ceremony is at 8 a.m.

“It’s great to see people supporting Special Olympics programs in Illinois and we’re excited to see them test their strength against a 90-ton airplane,” said Matt Johnson, Special Olympics Illinois Vice President – Development & Donor Relations. “In addition to those participating in the Plane Pull, we encourage family and friends to join in the spirit by supporting their loved ones and Special Olympics programs by making a donation to Special Olympics Illinois by visiting www.illinoisplanepull.com.”

Registration is now open online at www.illinoisplanepull.com.

Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10., when team captains can turn in their donations and pick up their T-shirts and other materials. New teams can still sign up that morning.

The event will be held on the tarmac next to the United Airlines Cargo Facility located on the south airfield of O’Hare International Airport. The area is located in between two East-West parallel runways – offering a unique perspective of planes arriving and taking off on one of the world’s busiest airfields.

Teams will be divided into three different divisions – Open Division is ideal for companies, school teams, church groups, clubs, friends and families; Public Safety Division is for law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, DNR, DOC and military personnel; and the Hotel Division created by popular demand. Each team of 20 will attempt to pull the plane a distance of 12 feet, with the top finisher from each division facing off for one final pull to determine the Grand Champion. To participate, each team is asked to raise a minimum of $1,000 ($50 per person) for Special Olympics Illinois. Teams raising more will be eligible for incentive prizes at the $2,500, $4,000 and $6,000 levels.

UPS and United Airlines are Presenting Sponsors of the 2016 Law Enforcement Torch Run Plane Pull. Other sponsors are Chicago Department of Aviation, City of Chicago, HMS Host, Durham School Services, Barilla Pasta, IlliniCare Health, FOX 32 Chicago, TD Ameritrade and Home Run Inn.  Because Special Olympics athletes compete free of charge, all money raised by the Plane Pull will directly assist in their training and competition.

“The Chicago Department of Aviation is honored and proud to once again partner with Special Olympics Illinois, UPS and United Airlines to host this unique and exciting community event at O’Hare International Airport,” said Ginger S. Evans, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation. “I want to thank all of the volunteers and participants who come out each year to support this event and help raise funds for Special Olympics.”

All media must RSVP in advance by contacting Gregg Cunningham by phone at 773-686-3700 or by email via cdamedia@cityofchicago.org.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single largest year-round fundraising vehicle benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The annual intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and to gain awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics Illinois. The Law Enforcement Torch Run has raised $40 million over 30 years while increasing awareness of Special Olympics Illinois athletes and their accomplishments.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 20,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics changes lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support.  If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org.

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Contacts:

Alexandra McMillin, Special Olympics Illinois, 630-942-5621

Michele Evans, Special Olympics Illinois, 309-660-8497

Chicago Department of Aviation, cdamedia@cityofchicago.org, 773-686-3700