PITTSBURGH (April 28, 2019) – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC partnered with the Watson Institute to host the seventh annual Special Kick Clinic, presented by PJ Dick, today at Highmark Stadium.
This event benefited children with special needs and their families, allowing for an afternoon of fun on the soccer field with Riverhounds SC staff and players.
“The clinic has continued to grow, and the children and the families seem to have a tremendous time,” said Jeffrey Flick, chairman of the board of trustees for the Watson Institute. “It’s very fun for them to come out and partner with professional athletes and have a fun day here. The Riverhounds do a great job of interacting with the children.”
At the clinic, participants had the opportunity to participate in drills and stations that safely and carefully accommodated each child. Some of the stations included weaving through slalom-type poles, bowling with soccer balls and shooting soccer balls into the net.
“They have so much fun being out here, being around us,” Riverhounds SC professional player Noah Franke said. “It’s not them seeing us, it’s them just getting out here and kicking a ball around for two hours with no one to tell them what else to do. So that’s the best part – just seeing them have so much fun.”
Hounds players work one-on-one with the children to make sure the personal needs of each child are met. In addition, each child and their families had a volunteer who accompanied them throughout the day.
“I love giving back to the community,” Riverhounds SC professional player Caleb Smith said. “I’ve been playing soccer so much, and it’s given me so much. So just to give back to the game in general and to help kids who are less fortunate is what I want to do in life because it’s so much bigger than soccer itself. Seeing them smile makes me smile.”
Since 1917, the Watson Institute, a nonprofit organization, has provided services to children with special needs. This includes educational, evaluation and diagnostic services to more than 1,300 children from 12 counties and nearly 70 school districts in Pennsylvania.
“It comes back to our mission,” Watson Institute CEO Barry Bohn said, “fulfilling children with special needs in all aspects of their lives. We’re a special education facility, but giving them the opportunity to experience something wonderful like soccer and how much fun it can be with a professional soccer team is just wonderful.”
For more information about the Watson Institute and its mission, visit thewatsoninstitute.org.