Join our Team as a Special Olympics Athlete

Special Olympics Northern California provides free year-round sports, health and leadership programs for more than 28,000 children and adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Our program participants are known as Special Olympics athletes.

Activities and events are held locally in 43 counties throughout the year for ages 6 to 65+. Athletes must be at least 8 years old to compete (6 and 7 may train only). Teams practice 1-2 times per week, typically in the evening or on the weekend, for 6-8 weeks before a regional competition, and schedules vary by county and team. All programs are offered at no cost to athletes or their families. Please see below for an Athlete Application and seasonal deadlines, along with information about our four sports seasons and how to register for available sports. Contact us at with any questions.

Athlete Application & Renewals

Apply to Become a NEW Athlete

If you are NEW to Special Olympics OR your application is more than 12 months expired.

RENEW your Athlete Application

If your application will expire in the next four months, OR has expired within the past 12 months, and you have NOT had changes to your health history since your last application.


To join a sport or season, athletes must:

  1. Apply and be approved OR have a current, approved application on file with SONC on or before the season deadline (see "Sports Offered" at the bottom of the page). Athlete Applications are valid for three years based on the earlier date of the physical exam or release signature. 
  2. Complete the COVID-19 Waiver & Participant Code of Conduct Form. This form only needs to be completed ONCE.
  3. Register for available sports using our new Athlete Sports Registration Process
  4. Look for information from the head coach of the team for which you registered.
  5. If you are unsure of your Athlete Application and/or COVID-19 Waiver status, please check your application status.


Sports Offered

Winter (January - March)


Athlete Application Deadline is December 10 of the previous year


Spring (March - June)

Bocce, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field

Athlete Application Deadline is February 28



Softball (June - August)

Golf (July - September)

Athlete Application Deadline is June 10



Unified Flag Football, Soccer (August - November)

Athlete Application Deadline is August 15 (extended from July 15)

Bowling (September - December)

Athlete Application Deadline is August 31 (extended from August 15)

Floor Hockey (October - December)

Athlete Application Deadline is September 15