Friends of Football has shown its support for a special group of footballers — Auckland’s Special Olympics squad.
The team competes at the Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games, wearing kit and using practice gear provided by Friends of Football in association with apparel supplier Kappa.
The squad was presented (see main photo) with its kit by Friends of Football’s Earle Thomas and Alan Yates at half-time of Auckland City’s ISPS Handa Premiership match against Canterbury United at Kiwitea St, Sandringham, in early 2018.
Presenting the kit to the squad, former All White Thomas, and the chair of Friends of Football at the time, said his members could feel proud of their support for a group of footballers who fully deserved the chance to enjoy the thrill of taking part at a national event.
“Friends of Football are pleased to be able to support the Special Olympics Auckland football team and wish them well at the National Summer Games”. Thomas said he was grateful to Kappa for recognising the importance of providing football uniforms that would lift players’ spirits.
He also thanked FoF committee member and former Northern Football president Alan Yates for putting together the sponsorship.
Alice Black, the head coach of the Special Olympics Auckland Football Team, said: “The athletes and coaches very much appreciate the support of Friends of Football and the uniforms will look awesome.
“For the first time this millennium, we will be bringing a football team to the National Summer Games, which we are very excited about.
“All of the athletes and volunteers are eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to compete with and meet athletes, especially from other regions,” said Mike Ringrose, Chair for Special Olympics Auckland.
Held every four years, the Games is New Zealand’s largest event for people with intellectual disabilities and will see athletes of all ages compete in football, swimming, athletics, basketball, bocce, equestrian, golf, indoor bowls, powerlifting, and tenpin bowling.
Special Olympics Auckland athletes will compete in athletics, basketball, ten-pin bowling, football, indoor bowls and swimming.
Special Olympics New Zealand is a year-round programme of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
More than 7,000 athletes throughout the country train and compete in 13 different Olympic-type summer and winter sports.
Special Olympics New Zealand also offers athletes leadership development through its Athlete Leadership Programme, health screening via Healthy Athletes®, and encourages social inclusion through Unified Sports®, where intellectually disabled athletes are combined in teams with unified partners (without intellectual disabilities).
Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides athletes continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with other athletes, their families and the community.
For more about Special Olympics New Zealand, click here >>>>