Game On: Learn about the divisioning process that differentiates Special Olympics from other sport organizations.

SONC offers three types of soccer competition: individual skills, 5-a-side team and 7-a-side team.

Individual skills competition allows Special Olympics athletes to develop sports skills in a competitive format designed to serve as a stepping stone to team competition. The individual skills offered for soccer are dribbling, shooting, and run-kick.

5-a-side team competition allows athletes who have mastered individual skills to compete on a team in a traditional soccer match. This type of competition is the most popular type of play for soccer in SONC.

7-a-side competition is new to SONC in 2018. This type of competition is for teams that have a good understanding of the game and can play on a larger field with a larger goal.

Athletes participating in traditional team play on a modified soccer field with a size 5 soccer ball.

Always communicate with your local coordinator if you are interested in submitting registration for an event.

Fall Tournament/Invitational Registration Forms

  • Soccer Individual Skills Competition Form
  • Soccer Team Registration and Rating Form

Local program coordinators should submit entries along with the remainder of the Fall Tournament registration.  Click here for a full list of Fall Tournament registration forms. These forms will be available closer to the event date.

Assessment Forms

For coaches’ use only – do NOT submit with event registration.

SONC Fall Tournament will be held November 1-3, 2019 in Charlotte.


Athletes and partners also have the opportunity and are encouraged to participate in various local invitationals. Check the soccer sport calendar for upcoming invitationals being hosted by local programs.

Local programs are also encouraged to host and invite neighboring counties to participate in invitationals, scrimmages, or leagues.  Click here for some basic steps on how to get started.  If you are interested in hosting an invitational you can also contact the sports department at

About Soccer: Played in just about every country, the sport’s success is due to the fact that it can be played by boys, girls, men, and women of just about any physical build and ability. Soccer requires little in the way of specialized equipment and is organized using simple, intuitive rules.  

Differences of Special Olympics Soccer: The length of halves, substitution, and overtime rules are defined by each Special Olympics Program organization.   

History: Soccer has emerged as one of the fastest growing sports in the Special Olympics North Carolina program, since its first demonstration at the 1984 Special Olympics North Carolina Summer Games.  

By the Numbers:   

  • In 1989, numbers for soccer grew to such an extent that soccer moved from Summer Games to Fall Games. 
  • Special Olympics North Carolina started offering regional competition in 1991 as an additional opportunity.  The regional events were held in Elizabeth City, Fayetteville, Greensboro, and Charlotte. 

Sport Development Teams (SDT) are responsible for assisting with local and state-level programs and competition, educating coaches and officials, and promoting active engagement among athletes throughout the year. Click here for more information.

John Gillan

Ian Gillan

Certified Clinicians receive additional training in presentational skills to conduct training schools in their community.  In order to become a Certified Clinician one must have a Special Olympics North Carolina level 2 sport certification in this sport.

For more information on becoming an SDT member or a Certified Clinician, contact

Become an Athlete or Unified Partner

Special Olympics North Carolina offers sports training and competition in 19 Olympic-type sports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  Learn more on how to become an athlete.

Become a Unified partner and play on a team alongside athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Become a Coach

Combine knowledge and passion for a sport by becoming a Special Olympics North Carolina coach to lead athletes in preparing for local and state-level competition.

Become a Volunteer

Serve a crucial role at Special Olympics North Carolina by volunteering at our office or one of our many events throughout the year. Check out our home page for these volunteer opportunities.

Share Your Sport Knowledge

Officiate for Special Olympics North Carolina by donating your time as a sports official.  Contact for more information.

Sport Development Team members (SDT) are active volunteers who channel their passion and knowledge for a sport into effective leadership for local and state programs.  

Certified clinicians supplement the SDT by providing coaches training in their community.  Click here for trainers.

For more information on getting involved, contact