Coaches are role models and character builders. They help athletes realize their worth, ability, courage and their capacity to grow and improve.

Special Olympics is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community. Here in Minnesota, we serve thousands of individuals with intellectual disabilities every year through sports training and competition. Through sports, our athletes find belonging, empowerment, friendship and so much more.

Coaches and team assistants play a crucial role in the Special Olympics movement. The ideal coach isn’t necessarily an all-star athlete or sport guru. In fact, the requirements to be a Special Olympics coach are simple: have a big heart and enjoy having a good time. There is a great network of people at Special Olympics Minnesota who will help you along the way.


Need to update your sport-specific Level 2 certification? Visit the HOD/Admin Portal

  • All coaches and Unified partners who work with athletes need to be Level 1 certified.
  • Level 1 certified coaches can coach any sport within SOMN, just as Unified partners can participate in any sport within SOMN that offers Unified.
  • Level 1 certification and passed background checks are valid for 3 years.
  • Before beginning your training, please note the different processes between the two trainings available below.

Training for coaches under age 18

Step 1: Complete the online Level 1 Training (for ages 8-17).

This training is designed for Unified partners who are under the age of 18 who need to complete or renew their Level 1 certification.

Individuals that complete this training are ONLY eligible to be registered as Unified partners at competitions. Individuals who are 16-17 years old and want to be registered as a coach must complete the traditional (18+) training.

There is no background check required by SOMN until the age of 18.

Questions? Contact [email protected].

Training for coaches age 18+

Step 1: Complete the online Level 1 Training (for ages 18+).

This training is designed for coaches or Unified partners who are 18 or older who need to complete or renew their Level 1 certification.

Step 2: Complete background check.

After completion of the Level 1, you will receive an email from Sterling Volunteers ([email protected]) to complete your background check. You may not receive an email if your background check is current and not expired yet.

Current coaches who have questions regarding their background check can contact their head of delegation or email [email protected].