Soccer ‘special’ for local youths
Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012 12:00 pm
By RANDY CAVIN
The popularity of soccer has quickly risen in the Martin area over the last few years, but not every child and young adult has had the opportunity to play in the sport.
Confined to the sidelines to watch a sport is no fun for any child who desperately wants to play.
Special needs children and young adults do not have to watch from the sidelines anymore, thanks to Nathan Tidwell.
Tidwell took it upon himself to get a team of special needs kids started.
They range in age from four to 14 with different disabilities. Some have Autism, Down’s Syndrome, one child who is partially blind and young boy has had both of his legs amputated.
“I basically wanted to start this up because I come to the games with my oldest child and we are seeing kids sitting on the sidelines that you could tell they wanted to play,” Tidwell said. “They just did not have to opportunity to play because they could not keep up with the regular soccer games. So we wanted to start something where they could be part of it.”
Tidwell says he believes all children should be able to participate and be part of a team. Now these very special kids will be able to feel what it is like to get out on a soccer field.
“They now are able to know what it feels like to score a goal, win a game and to feel like they are part of something just like everybody else deserves to be,” he said. “That is why we want to be able to do this.”
Tidwell has named his team of players the Most Valuable People, or MVP for short. The great group of kids who make up the team are Micah Warren, Isaac and Luke Ivy, Garrett Dinning, Rebecca Henderson, Matteo Hathcoat, Jeremy Edwards and Colton Tidwell.
It was not easy for Tidwell to get this set up, but he says everybody in the city of Martin has been very receptive to the idea.
“Everybody I have talked to has been very helpful with this,” Tidwell said of the cooperation he has received. “It was a little difficult getting some of the paperwork done with it. Everybody I called was very helpful. I just had to do quite a bit of research on it.”
The most difficult part of setting this up was getting the insurance because there has never been a special needs league here for soccer before. There is a special needs league in baseball.
“It was something new for us on the board of directors,” Tidwell said. “I had to do a lot of research on it and make a lot phone calls, but was finally able to get it set up.”
Tidwell’s son, Carson, is his assistant coach and Brent Coleman is making the jerseys for the team. Coleman is also the team’s primary sponsor.
The team will be playing on Mondays at 6 p.m. and will be playing against members of the Westview boys’ soccer team. Charger players are also helping Tidwell with team practices.
“It is going to be played like a scrimmage,” Tidwell said. “It is a very loose form of soccer. To them it is soccer. Every time they kick the ball into the goal their faces light up like a Christmas tree.”
To see the kids smile when they make a goal is what it is all about for Tidwell.
“I feel blessed to be able to do this,” the soccer coach said.
“You have parents thanking me and really it is me telling them thank you because I feel completely honored to be able to do this. It is amazing. I love it and it is the best hour of my week.”
Tidwell said if anyone would like to get in contact with him about the league with questions or for any reason to call him at (731) 514-8585.
“We want as many people as possible to come out and cheer them on and to make them feel like they are part of a team just like anybody else,” he said. “No matter the disability, the beautiful part is that when they are on the field they are soccer players.” Published in The WCP 9.13.12