Q: What is Sidekick Sports Academy's experience with the special needs community?
A: Since its inception in 2012, Sidekick has consistently hosted programming and events that support the inclusion of the athletes and families in the special needs community. This specific UNIFIED SOCCER Tournament continues the legacy created by Sidekick's Northeast Futsal Association division, which hosted an annual Unified Futsal Tournament prior to the pandemic. Watch Video Of That Event Here!
Q: Where is the tournament?
A: The Unified Soccer Tournament will be held at Brandeis University's Gordon Field, which is located at 415 South St. Waltham, MA 02453
Q: How do I register for the tournament?
A: All registrations will be done online prior to the event. You can register as an individual athlete, though full teams are preferred. Email Us!
Q: When is the tournament happening?
A: The Unified Soccer Tournament will take place on Sunday, November 13, 2022. In-Person Check-in for the Unified Soccer Tournament will start at 8:30 AM. Play will begin at 9:00 AM and finish at 12:00 PM.
Q: Who can participate in this event?
A: This tournament will combine athletes with and without intellectual disabilities. Youth and adult players are welcome to participate. Players with disabilities will be placed on the same team as members of Brandeis Football Club, which consists of men's and women's college players who compete in NIRSA.
Q: What is the tournament format?
A: The tournament format will consist of teams playing 7v7 through a series of 25 minute matches on a field size reduced to an estimated 45 yards by 75 yards. Equal playing time is encouraged.
Q: If I am a captain or coach of a team made up of players with disabilities, can I sign up my entire team?
A: Absolutely! We encourage teams to register. Email Us firstname.lastname@example.org or Call Us 508-264-1372 to help with the process.
Q: Why is this event taking place?
A: Here at Sidekick Sports Academy, our mission is to improve the life of every player, coach, and family we meet. The Unified Soccer Tournament gives us a chance to do just that through a friendly soccer tournament!
Q: Do players need to bring any equipment for this event?
A: Players attending just need to bring themselves! Game jerseys, soccer balls, etc. will be provided on the day of the event. Players are encouraged to dress warm and in athletic clothing. Shin pads are encouraged.
Q: Is there a waiver that needs to be signed prior to the event?
A: Yes, all waivers must be completed prior to the event, which can be found online when signing up. Email Us!
Q: What makes the Unified Soccer Tournament unique?
A: The Unified Soccer Tournament allows for players with disabilities to play alongside players without disabilities, which as the Special Olympics states, increases the opportunity for friendship and understanding. It also makes competition more challenging and fun.
Q: If a player is not seeking a competitive environment for this event, will it still work?
A: Yes! This soccer tournament is meant to be a friendly competition that brings people together in a fun environment. There will be referees. Though while we will keep track of the scores of each match, the only prizes are the growth of a community through a boost in self-esteem, fist bumps and smiles.
Q: What other gameplay rules should I know?
• Games will be 25 minutes in length.
• All FIFA rules apply, with the exception of:
o Each team will field a team of six players and 1 goalkeeper (clearly delineated with a distinct and different jersey).
• Goalkeepers are not permitted to punt or drop kick the ball. Goalkeepers may use their feet to handle the ball only if they gain possession through this (i.e. defensive stop or pass from teammate). All “goal kicks” will be treated in the same vein as Futsal “goal clearances”. (i.e. the goalkeeper may distribute the ball with his hands only)
• Field size is reduced from the standard recommended dimensions to estimated 45 yds by 75 yds.
• Slide tackling is not permitted. Players must remain on their feet in challenging for a ball, (subject to a referee’s discretion). You can slide to challenge the pass. You can slide to keep the ball in play. If you make contact with an opponent during a slide, then that is an automatic foul. A second offense could result in a yellow card.
• Substitutions can be made at will during out of bounds restarts.
• Offside penalty is not enforced.