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keeper diving for the ball before it makes it into the net.
Coaching guide, rules, and other materials for coaches.
Special Olympics Football
Football is considered the world’s most popular sport. Introduced to Special Olympics in 1986, it is currently the second largest Special Olympics sport by athlete number, with participants rapidly growing. Special Olympics offers a number of different football codes, training, and competition opportunities for athletes and unified partners to participate in. Watch this video to find out more.

Coaching Guides 2021

Warm-Up and Cool-Down Guides and Videos

Warm-Up (PDF)

Cool-Down (PDF)

Warm-Up and Cool-Down Videos

Dynamic Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs are an important part of every workout, training session, or competition. Follow along with these videos to learn how to perform the different exercises in the sport-specific warm-up and cool-down guides. Questions? Please email


Sport Impact Standards

The Sport Impact Standards are enhanced processes of both written and implemented protocols that produce high quality sports competition. At Special Olympics World Games and International Single Sport Invitational events, the optimum athlete experience is driven by unprecedented standards of quality across four essential pillars: Optimum Performance Environment, Presentation of Competition, Quota Allocation Refinement, and General Sport Operations.

Sports Essentials


  • Divisioning The fundamental difference between Special Olympics competitions and those of other sports organizations is that athletes of all ability levels are encouraged to participate, and every athlete is recognized for his/her performance.


  • Overview of the Coach Development Model This video is an overview in English of the coach development model. It is about 4 minutes long. DOWNLOAD MP4
  • Coach Development Model Our volunteer coaches help Special Olympics athletes reach their best level of skill and performance. These resources can be used by Program sport directors to recruit and train coaches to reach their own heights of achievement.

Sport Rules

  • Sport Rules The heart of Special Olympics is competitions, the races, matches, tournaments and games for people with intellectual disabilities. In many ways, these competitions are like sports run by any other organization, but there are some key differences.
  • Sport Rules Article 1 The Official Special Olympics Sport Rules (“Sport Rules”) provide standards for Special Olympics training and competition. Sport Rules Article I provides general principles established by the Special Olympics Official General Rules (“General Rules”) that are not found in the sport-specific rules.
Coaching a Special Olympics Unified Team
Hear from Special Olympics Unified Football coaches about their reasons for being involved in Special Olympics, what makes it so special, what they try to teach athletes and what the athletes teach them.
Football Lead Image


Football (Americans call it soccer) is possibly the world's most popular team sport. It's also Special Olympics' most popular sport. This page draws together football-related information for all of Special Olympics, including news, stories, calendar events and competition results.