LA Galaxy Special Olympics Unified Team kick off 2017 season with a win

On Tuesday, May 9, the LA Galaxy, with support from Herbalife Nutrition, made a historically-ambitious move with the signing of 20 new players at once for the club’s LA Galaxy Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) Unified Team. Returning for a third-straight season, the team will compete against other MLS-affiliated Special Olympics Unified Teams throughout the year. This year, each athlete on the LA Galaxy SOSC Unified Team will be paired with an LA Galaxy, who will offer support, guidance and encouragement throughout the season.

Click here to view the roster

“The entire organization is excited to be able to sign so much talent to the Galaxy’s 2017 Special Olympics Southern California Unified Team,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Pete Vagenas. “These are some of the best players in the country, and they represent the Galaxy in every way. They are a very dedicated group, who work hard and never quit. We are excited to see them kick off their 2017 season on May 27 in San Jose.”

The players were officially announced in a signing ceremony that featured Vagenas, LA Galaxy Head Coach Curt Onalfo and LA Galaxy Captain Jelle Van Damme addressing the group. Additionally, the entire LA Galaxy roster greeted their new counterparts and provided them with their official team shoes following the ceremony provided by Adidas. Each LA Galaxy first-team player will serve as a mentor, guide and supporter to a specific unified teammate throughout the season. 

On May 27th, the LA Galaxy Special Olympics Unified squad opened their 2017 season with a convincing win over their counterparts from the San Jose Earthquakes with a 5-2 victory on Saturday at Avaya Stadium.

Carlos Arriaza tallied a hat trick for the Galaxy, while Dauda Opejin and Jose Gomez rounded out the scoring. Los Angeles dominated the match from start to finish, building off the Galaxy’s 4-2 first team win over the Quakes which took place earlier in the evening.  

The Galaxy’s Unified squad return to action in August when they take on the Portland Timbers Special Olympics Unified team in Oregon. 

This year, each athlete on the LA Galaxy Special Olympics Unified Team was paired with an LA Galaxy player, who will offer support, guidance and encouragement throughout the season. Immediately, a special bond was formed between midfielder João Pedro and Oliver Fiust because they have similar and fantastic hair.

Before the LA Galaxy SOSC Unified Team's 5-2 win over San Jose Earthquakes, Oliver left a little note for João wishing him good luck and hoping he finds the back of the net. Little did Oliver know that that is exactly what happened as the the midfielder scored his first goal for the LA Galaxy, leading his side to an emphatic win.

Following the match, João uploaded a copy of the note to his Insta Story letting Oliver know that he scored the goal: "I did it Oliver."

Check out the touching post below!

Soccer is truly bringing people together.

Here's the full schedule for the LA Galaxy Special Olympics Southern California's Unified schedule!

2017 LA Galaxy Special Olympics Southern California Unified Schedule

Date/Time

Opponent

Location

Saturday, May 27

9 p.m. PT

San Jose Earthquakes Special Olympics Unified Team

Avaya Stadium – San Jose, Calif.

Saturday, Aug. 5

Time TBA

Portland Timbers Special Olympics Unified Team

Adidas Village – Portland, Calif.

Sunday, Aug. 27

6 p.m. PT

San Jose Earthquakes Special Olympics Unified Team

StubHub Center – Los Angeles, Calif.