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November 12, 2012

Power to play

Soccer on wheels lets kids get into the game


Anthony joins Ben and Sam to fill out the line, with the support from veteran goalie Joe Miller, 9, of Haverhill.

Miller, a Pentucket Lake School fourth-grader, has four years experience on the court for the PowerCats. He thrives on the action, but is quick to encourage and praise the defensive efforts of his teammates.

For the calm in Joe, his father Eric Miller has the energy you’d expect from a typical fourth grader. The beaming father boasts of Joe’s successes while articulating every parent’s worries and dreams.

“When you get a diagnosis like this (muscular dystrophy) so many things flash through your mind: Will my son ever drive, go to prom, be able to play a sport? Power Soccer has been pivotal for me. I can actually say I’m a coach. I’m like the Little League dad of Power Soccer. And of course it’s been great for Joe. He’s playing a sport, learning to work as a team, and having a great time.”

While the kids race around the court, the parents are together, sharing in common ground. They talk about their challenges, frustrations, innovations and successes as they face similar expectant hurdles from the disease.

“We can learn from each other, support each other,” says Kim Foote, whose son Josh plays for the PowerCats. “And it’s nice for the kids to be with other kids like them, they already have so much in common. There’s a built-in support network here, and I’m so thankful and grateful to have it.”

Sam scores another goal, his second of the game, this time against his brother, who is filling in at goal for the Sharpshooters after a wheelchair went down with a mechanical failure. Collectively and in unison, the PowerCats parents jokingly wish their mother Lori Safford a pleasant ride home. She’s quick to laugh, and is thankful that her younger boy got the goal.

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