Admission to the game is $5 for adults and free for children 15 and under. Prior to the game, a free kids’ clinic with current UNCW and HPU players will be held at 4 p.m. Participants are encouraged to bring their own ball.
Proceeds from the exhibit are donated to local initiatives such as Special Olympics, TOPS Soccer, as well as other charities that benefit children with special needs. Additional activities include bouncy houses, face painting, and music. A live auction will take place during the game for special adidas Harry’s Game jerseys worn by UNCW players. Free pizzas for children will also be available during this one.
Harry’s Game is named after UNCW head coach Aidan HeaneHarry’s son, born with Down syndrome. Like many families, the Heaneys weren’t sure what to expect from having a child with Harry’s kind of challenges, but learned that different doesn’t equal worse when it comes to a child with special needs. specials.
Springtime Staple was born out of a desire to get rid of the stigma around a child’s limit to having fun and interacting with others just because they may need a one-time help. It exists to show that every child’s personality and joy exist beyond the obstacles they may face when faced with a disability.
“It’s the highlight of our spring program. We’re thrilled to have him back this year. It’s a great opportunity for our players to show off their abilities,” said Heaney, who is entering his 22nd season at the UNCW. “Most importantly, it’s a chance to reach out to some families and kids in our neighborhoods who may face different challenges.”
“The community turnout has become more and more important every year. We expect many families to bring their children to enjoy a competitive football game and share this feel-good experience with each other. others.”
Harry’s Game returns for the first time since 2019 to benefit children with special needs. The charity game dates back to 2013, the year of Harry’s first birthday, and has featured programs from across the state, including Appalachia State, Charlotte, Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest and Now High Point.
“It started as an idea years ago, but it turned into this amazing community event,” Heaney said. “The message of being aware and including children who may not be your typical child helps create understanding for families. Seeing all of these children interacting together is the most rewarding part of it.”
Everyone in life needs help in one form or another. The game shows that rather than what some kids can’t do, there needs to be more focus on each child’s particular abilities and personalities.
This year’s edition is special because of the UNCW ties of Panthers head coach Zach Haines, who served as assistant and then associate head coach on Heaney’s UNCW staff for six seasons. Haines was instrumental in creating the event and witnessed the benefits for both the community and the players.
“I was fortunate enough to be on staff at UNCW for several Harry’s Game events,” said Haines, who completed his third season with the Panthers last fall. “It’s been an incredible experience on so many levels. It means a lot to me personally and to our program to have the opportunity to support this great cause and to share this experience with High Point and UNCW.”
“Aidan is one of the closest people in my life. I love him and his family. I also owe him a lot in my career. I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now without his mentorship and the chance he took on me in 2012. I’m just incredibly grateful and excited to be able to do this with my guys.”
UNCW is 3-0-4 all-time in Harry’s Game. The event concludes a five-game spring schedule for the Seahawks as they prepare for the 2022 season this fall.
Harry’s game results
April 6, 2013 – UNCW 1, North Carolina 1
April 12, 2014 – UNCW 2, NC State 0
April 18, 2015 – UNCW 0, Wake Forest 0
April 16, 2016 – UNCW 0, Duke 0
April 8, 2017 – UNCW 1, Wake Forest 0
April 8, 2018 – UNCW 4, Appalachian State 1
April 6, 2019 – UNCW 0, Charlotte 0