EASTLAKE—The defending Division III state champion Kirtland Hornets opened the 2021 season at Eastlake North on Friday, but that contest was overshadowed by what occurred after Kirtland sealed its 10-1 win.
As part of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Friday Night Futbol initiative, the boys’ and girls’ teams from Kirtland and North teamed up to provide a soccer clinic to participants of the Empower Sports program.
The clinic took place after the girls’ game but was cut short due to inclement weather, which also forced a postponement of the boys’ game between the Hornets and Rangers.
“One of our team core values is ‘the truly extraordinary do something every day,’” said Kirtland girls’ coach Ed Bradac. “Having the opportunity to have our athletes work with Empower Sports athletes checks that core value for us. It was great to see our women’s team interact with Empower athletes and the teams from North tonight; it was fun to watch.”
Empower Sports is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to providing sports and exercise programs for children and adults with various physical and cognitive disabilities.
The clinic consisted of six different stations for Empower Sports athletes to hone their soccer skills. Each Empower Sports participant was paired up with a player from Kirtland and North. Other high school players served as coaches at the six stations.
Most importantly, the experience provided the high school players with an opportunity to share their passion for the sport with others.
“Working with the Empower Sports kids was a new experience for a lot of us I think,” said Kirtland senior Macy McIntosh. “As a team at Kirtland, we have had a little kids camp in the past but we’ve never had the opportunity to work with kids with disabilities like we did tonight with Empower Sports. It was super nice to have our teams come together to give back to those kids and it’s definitely something I hope other people can see and want to take part in with the program they have at Empower. It’s nice to know the love of the sport can bring us all together.”
North senior captain Sally Dempsey shared a similar sentiment.
“The service project today was a really great experience for both the girls and myself,” Dempsey said. “So many of us were really excited to help out the various participants who showed up today. We were looking forward to hopefully helping fester an appreciation for the sport we all dedicate so much time and effort towards. While the clinic was unfortunately cut short, I really hope that all the participants had a great time learning different skills from all the teams present today and that the players had fun helping these individuals out. This was a great opportunity for us and I am glad that our team was able to partake in this event.”
Click here to learn more about Empower Sports.