UNCW soccer to host annual ‘Harry’s Game’ to benefit TOPS Soccer

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Fresh off an appearance at the NCAA Tournament in 2014, the UNCW men’s soccer team has been working through its spring schedule and will wrap up training with its third annual Harry’s Game, set for April 18, to support special needs children.

The Seahawks will take on Wake Forest at 7 p.m., with all proceeds benefiting the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth TOPS Soccer Program for kids with special needs and Special Olympics of New Hanover County. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 15 and younger. A group rate of $3 each for 10 or more is also available.

The third annual Harry's Game is set for this weekend on campus. Photo courtesy- UNCW Athletics
The third annual Harry’s Game is set for this weekend on campus. Photo courtesy- UNCW Athletics

“We named this event after our son, Harry, who was born with Down syndrome three years ago,” said UNCW Soccer Coach Aidan Heaney. “The idea is to use the vehicle of soccer to bring attention not only to Down syndrome, but to other kids with special needs. Raising awareness and acceptance of kids with special needs is so important since there is still a stigma that goes with your less typical children.”

A variety of events are planned for the night. Free food will be provided, inflatables will be available for all kids, and jerseys will be auctioned during the game.

“The community has really been behind the event,” said Heaney. “We’ve raised close to $10,000 the last two years…It’s not just about Down syndrome. It’s about highlighting children in our community who truly are special. If you spend even a minute with Harry, you know he makes the world a better place.”

UNCW shut out N.C. State 2-0 in last year’s installment of “Harry’s Game” behind goals from seniors Jamie Dell and Jack Ward.

“The beauty of this is to be able to play the game we love against top opposition in front of a supportive home crowd, while raising awareness and money for some very deserving kids,” Heaney said.