Flying the flag at UEFA EURO 2012™
Eight Special Olympics Unified® footballers will represent their country as flag bearers at England’s first UEFA EURO 2012™ game
Liverpool and England legend John Barnes has unveiled the bright young Special Olympics Great Britain Unified® footballers who will live out their greatest dream by representing the nation at England’s first UEFA EURO 2012™ game this summer.
Did you know? Unified Football® is a unique programme where players with and without learning disabilities practice and play together on seven-a-side football teams to encourage inclusion and friendship, and confound preconceptions and prejudices about learning disabilities.
Thanks to Coca-Cola, official partner of UEFA EURO 2012™ and long-term supporter of Special Olympics Great Britain, eight youngsters will follow in their football heroes’ footsteps in Ukraine, leading the England team onto the pitch as flag bearers at the England vs France match at the Donbass Arena, Donetsk, on 11th June.
Flying the flag for England
- Aidan Lee, 14
- Les Dwomoh, 15
- Nicholas Greening, 14
- Shaun Green, 15
- Coby Rowe, 16
- Ethan Wallbank, 13
- Fergus Morgan, 15
- Jay Denniston, 13.
John Barnes has helped prepare the boys for their international debut by sharing his own experiences of tournament football. He said: “When I was growing up, I wanted to play football all the time and I’d play with anyone who wanted to play with me!
“Coca-Cola is supporting the Special Olympics Unified Sport programme, which is a brilliant way to encourage young people with learning disabilities to play in the same teams as able-bodied teens and break down barriers through sport. The opportunity to lead the England team onto the pitch at their opening game of UEFA EURO 2012™ is the chance of a lifetime and the boys will have a fantastic time.”
Aidan, Les, Nicholas and Shaun are Unified Football® players with learning disabilities and will be teaming up with Unified Football® Partners Coby, Ethan, Fergus and Jay.
The boys, who play for Special Olympics Unified Football® clubs in the Milton Keynes and Enfield areas, are excited about their upcoming role in UEFA EURO 2012™.
" I can’t wait to walk out in front of all of the crowd and the players. I might be a bit nervous but going to the Euros will be amazing. Getting to walk out onto the pitch to hold the England flag is a dream come true! It will be something that I never forget.” – Aidan Lee
Liz Lowe, Citizenship Manager at Coca-Cola Great Britain, said: “Unified Football® is such an inspirational programme and shows that football really does bring people from all walks of life together. The boys that play Unified Football® are fantastic ambassadors for the sport. We’re proud of our long-standing partnership with Special Olympics Great Britain and are honoured to give these athletes and partners the once-in-a-lifetime chance to be flag bearers at UEFA EURO 2012™.”