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Professional athletes add ‘Sidekicks’ to the team

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OKLAHOMA CITY -The Dickinson family is a beautiful assemble of love and passion.

God lead the Moore family to Ukraine, embracing international special needs adoption.

Macey Dickinson, who has Down syndrome, has been in Oklahoma for seven years now.

She has discovered her own passion on the soccer field.

Her mom, Meaghan, said the 'Sidekicks' program allows for inclusion.

"That's really important for us and for her - to be able to participate in a pro sport and be like having another family is a great experience for every one of us," she said.

For the second consecutive year, Energy FC is partnering with Special Olympics Oklahoma.

The Sidekicks program connects kids with mental or physical disabilities alongside Energy players.

"Not a lot of people get that chance to spend with a professional athlete so for our special athletes to have that one-on-one time where they are hanging out, talking, eating pizza, doing things like that," said Derek Cain with Special Olympics. "So, when they come out to watch a game, they are going crazy. That's their best friend out on the field."

Energy player, Mike Harris, had a special Sidekick last season.

Harris told us he cherished every single moment.

"He was full of energy, laughing, smiling. His parents were helpful and kind to me," he said. "Being able to put a smile on his face, kicking soccer balls and checking out the scenery wherever we go."

Visiting the Cydesdales in Yukon, bowling and BBQs.

For the Energy players, it is an opportunity not an obligation.

"We had one player, our goal keeper, who had 10 activities with the family outside of the three that we were putting on," said Energy Communications Director Darren Ransley. "That's how close these families and our players get."

For Macey, her giant smile said it all.

"By having that buddy, she just has such a good time, they end up being friends on and off the field," her mom said.

Sidekicks is creating lasting memories and lifelong friendships.

The Energy is taking applications for this season.

The deadline to apply is February 12th.

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