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: 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: 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: 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.