The New York Red Bulls, in partnership with Prudential Financial, Inc., have signed 12 athletes from Special Olympics New Jersey to two-game contracts, the club announced. Prudential Financial is the proud presenting partner of the Red Bulls Special Olympics Unified Team.
The New York Red Bulls Unified Team will be at Red Bull Arena for two matches, starting with a game before the New York Red Bulls/FC Dallas match on June 23 and then a second match before the Red Bulls/D.C. United game on August 26.
On Tuesday, the players met with Red Bulls Sporting Director Denis Hamlett before signing their contracts, got their headshots taken for the Red Bulls roster page, and then warmed up with the Red Bulls first team before holding a training session at Red Bulls Training Facility.
“This is always one of the best days of the year,” said Hamlett. “We are pleased to be continuing our relationship with Special Olympics New Jersey and are honored to have our club represented by these players. We look forward to cheering on our team at Red Bull Arena and sharing our love of soccer with the community.”
“We are excited to bring together players from two amazing organizations, the Red Bulls and Special Olympics, and have them play together right in our own backyard,” said Niharika Shah, vice president and head of Brand Marketing & Advertising, Prudential Financial, Inc. “This program promotes wellness in our community—physical, social, emotional—inspiring us to find ways to overcome challenges and become powerful forces for change.”
This is the fifth season in which New York has been a part of the Unified program. Last season, the Red Bulls Unified team traveled alongside the Red Bulls MLS team for a match in Dallas. The Unified team connected with Special Olympics Dallas for a night of socializing and bowling before facing off the next day at FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium.
The New York Red Bulls are one of several MLS teams to partner with their local Special Olympics chapters to create teams and host matches in their stadiums. The New York Red Bulls also host two weeks of soccer camp each summer at the Special Olympics Sports Complex in Lawrenceville, N.J.