Eagles help bring teen back into the game he loves
SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - July 19, 2010 (WPVI) -- A teenager, who lost his ability to walk and play the game he loved, got a chance of a lifetime, courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Make a Wish Foundation.
As the world now knows, those who love soccer... LOVE soccer.
Fevered fans, packing bars to watch games half a world away - filling stadiums to lend support to the hometown team. But there is one fan neither old enough to get into a bar nor able enough to get into a seat.
"Nico was a huge soccer fan. He played varsity soccer. He played all through school... high school," explained Nico's mother, Audrey Berg Clothier.
16-year-old Nico Clothier of Haverford was a soccer standout until an accident last fall that permanently sidelined him. Jumping into a pile of leaves while on a community service trip, Nico suffered a serious neck injury, then a stroke. Today, he is quadriplegic. He cannot play soccer anymore... but he can still cheer.
"Oh it was great. I loved watching them practice," said Nico.
Today, at the invitation of the Philadelphia Eagles, Nico got to watch one of soccer's most stored teams practice. Manchester United was in town to take on the Philadelphia Union in a game Wednesday night. Organized by the Make a Wish Foundation, Nico was able to go where most fans of the sport can only dream. In fact, he had dreamed about this moment many times, only not quite this way.
"I didn't think I'd get that close, until I joined them," said Nico.
But this surprise wasn't all the Eagles had in store. For this avid soccer fan, whose wheelchair can't contain his smile, they had something even "suiter".
Eagles COO Don Smolenski told Nico, "Wednesday night. Your family, your friends... we're going to provide you with a suite at our cost. We'll entertain you, and host you for a great event."
A great event for what everyone describes as a great kid. He may be paralyzed, but his heart still ticks for this team... which Wednesday night play for him.
"It's tremendous!" said Audrey. "It's certainly, you know, we never expected anything like this. This was really just a lovely, lovely, lovely surprise."
philadelphia eagles, philadelphia union, pennsylvania, philadelphia, local/state, brian taff
- Parking dispute turns violent at Cherry Hill Mall
- Milder Monday
- Get the 6abc StormTracker app
- WATCH: Action News Online
- Mutilated animal found in Brewerytown
- 'Band of Brothers' vet William Guarnere dies at 90
- 1 wounded in daytime shooting in Trenton
- Vietnam says it may have found missing jet's door 14 min ago
- Del. worker hospitalized after pretzel factory accident 20 min ago
- Mom accused of driving into surf goes before judge
- Suspect SUV in deadly hit and run caught on camera
- Man, 22, dies after shooting in Chester
- Video: Annual Phila. Flower Show wraps up
- Photos: $3.25M summer home in Ocean City, NJ
- Vietnam says it may have found missing...
14 min ago