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In just nine days, Team Paraguay will meet Team Colombia for the opening match of the 2011 COPA AMERICA Special Olympics football tournament, the first-ever unified football tournament in Latin America!

Players from 12 Latin American countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela will compete in the tournament, sponsored and organized by CONMEBOL. Teams will compete for the COPA AMERICA Special Olympics Cup, which will be displayed at the CONMEBOL Headquarters in Luque, Paraguay.

The tournament is the brainchild of CONMEBOL President Dr. Nicholas Leoz, who has been a champion Special Olympics Football Ambassador since 2005. Unified partners include football legends and Special Olympics Football Ambassadors Teofilo Cubillos and Romario.  Costa Rica’s Saprissa will also sign on as Team Ambassadors during the Tournament.

Athletes have been training rigorously for the event.  Team Paraguay, for example, practices six times per week to perform their best!  According to Carlos Castillo, Captain of Team Ecuador, “We have a great responsibility, an entire country believes in us and we will not disappoint Ecuador, certainly we will do our best in the field, always with humility, discipline and joy.”

To learn more about the tournament and to read the latest updates (en Español), visit the COPA AMERICA blog.

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