Timbers representatives Brescia, Chen head to 2023 Special Olympics Unified Sports® All-Star Game in Washington, D.C.


As the 2023 MLS All-Star Game, presented by Target, kicks off Wednesday in Washington, D.C. with the league's best taking on Arsenal FC (7:30pm PT, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV), a number of other events are occurring across the city. Of special note for Rose City fans, two Portland players will be participating in the 2023 Special Olympics Unified Sports® All-Star Game presented by MLS WORKS, Coke Zero Sugar.

Nicholas "Niko" Brescia, a 16 year-old sophomore at Southridge High School in Beaverton, Oregon and Jayce Chen, an 18 year-old senior at Westview High School in Beaverton, Oregon will take part in the match. Along with being a stellar soccer player, Brescia is a second-degree black belt in taekwondo and a volunteer for a local adaptive soccer program mentoring developing players. Chen has played for his school's soccer program and is a lion dancer – a traditional dance in Chinese culture. Chen has a passion for working with youth and volunteers frequently in his school community and beyond.

Before heading east, Brescia and Chen visited the Timbers training center to chat with head coach Giovanni Savarese, meet with some of the players and receive a special package of Timbers gear to take with them to Washington.

Check out an album and video of their visit:

On Wednesday, at 3pm ET at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Unified team members representing 26 MLS clubs, comprised of players with intellectual disabilities (Special Olympics athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (Unified partners), will play a competitive match, outfitted in authentic uniforms provided by adidas. MLS Greats will serve as celebrity coaches for the game. The Unified Sports® All-Star teams will also be recognized on-field during the League’s All-Star Game that same evening.

The Unified Sports® All-Star Game is part of the season-long Special Olympics Unified Soccer Exchange program that provides opportunities for Unified soccer teams to participate in a first-team MLS experience.