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" below). Athlete Applications are valid for three years based on the earlier date of the physical exam or release signature. 
  2. Complete the Communicable Disease Waiver. This form only needs to be completed ONCE. If an athlete previously completed the COVID-19 Waiver and Participant Code of Conduct Form, they do NOT need to complete the Communicable Disease Waiver.
  3. If you are unsure of your Athlete Application and/or Waiver status, please check your application status, before submitting an Athlete Application or Communicable Disease Waiver.
  4. Register for available sports using our Athlete Sports Registration Process

The coach of the team for which you registered will contact you within 10 business days of the close of registration.



Sports Offered

Winter (January – March)


Register between November 15 – December 10 of the previous year


Spring (March – June)

Bocce, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field

Register between February 1 – 28



Softball (June – August)

Golf (July – September)

Register between May 15 – June 10



Unified Flag Football, Soccer (August - November)

Register between July 15 – August 15

Bowling (September – December)

Register between July 15 – August 15

Floor Hockey (October – December)

Register between August 1 – 31