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Mercer County, New Jersey to Host Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational

Softball Invitational To Be Held in Mercer County Park
In Advance of 2014 USA Games
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ (August 6, 2013) --- In less than one month, 23 teams from across the United States as well as teams from Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico will travel to Mercer County Park for the 2013 Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational. With more than 360 athletes and 96 coaches participating, competition will kick off on Friday, August 23 with medal rounds concluding on Sunday, August 25. The Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational, presented by Moose International, is being hosted by the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, in conjunction with Special Olympics North America, in advance of the 2014 USA Games being held in Mercer County June 14-21, 2014.


“While this tournament is an annual event, bringing together the best Special Olympics softball teams and players from throughout North America, this year is different,” said Bob Gobrecht, President of Special Olympics North America, “Less than one year from now, these same fields at Mercer County Park will host the United States’ best softball players, as part of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games – the most dynamic, innovative, and largest national Games to date. I encourage everyone to volunteer this year as a “warm up” for volunteering at the Games in 2014.”

The 2013 Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational will showcase teams from 14 states including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia as well as the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Ontario and Puerto Rico. Play will commence on Friday morning following an Opening Day celebration that begins at 9:00 am at Mercer County Park. Opening day festivities will include a special parade of athletes, a series of speakers featuring Master of Ceremonies and USA Softball Olympic Gold Medalist Amanda Freed and a ceremonial first pitch.

Both traditional Special Olympics teams and Special Olympics Unified Sports teams (people with and without intellectual disabilities playing on the same team) will be represented throughout the weekend and medals will be awarded for each division. Each of the 23 competing teams qualified for the August event through a series of tournaments throughout the summer. The 2013 Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational is made possible by Moose International and the Mercer County Park Commission.

Scores, updates, and photos from the Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational Tournament will be available by visiting www.2014specialolympics.org. The Opening Day Celebration, all games and the medal ceremonies throughout the weekend are free and open to the public. Media interested in covering the event should apply online at www.2014specialolympics.org.

About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 4 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.

About the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games
The Special Olympics USA Games will be hosted by New Jersey June 14-21, 2014. Nearly 3,500 athletes will compete in 16 Olympic-style team and individual sports, with the support of 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and 50,000 family, friends and spectators. The Special Olympics USA Games will celebrate the Special Olympics movement, promote the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sport and showcase athletes from throughout the U.S. and the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. The 2014 USA Games will also highlight Special Olympics’ work in sport, education, health and communities. Founding partners for the 2014 Special Olympic USA Games include Barnabas Health, HESS, PSE&G, ShopRite, Toys“R”Us and WWE. Learn more about the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games at www.2014specialolympics.org and follow the Games on Facebook at Facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsUSAGames and Twitter @2014USAGames.

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