SADDLE BROOK, N.J. — Saddle Brook will soon have more sports "angels" in its ranks as a non-profit expanded to include lacrosse and cheerleading.
Saddle Brook Angels started in 2012 to give special-needs children a chance to play soccer. The group will soon add lacrosse and cheerleading.
"They kept asking for it," co-founder James Maniscalco said. "We get more and more kids every year."
James and Monica Maniscalco started the league four years ago, inspired by their special-needs daughter Samantha.
The Maniscalcos wanted to give children like 11-year-old Samantha the chance to take the field in a way that helps them.
"It's given her and other children that social outlet which is something these kids neeed above anything else, to have a friend," Monica Maniscalco said.
Volunteers from the high school teams often come to help run the program. For soccer, the league plays in the fall for eight weeks on the weekend.
"It's not competitive," James Maniscalco said. "We teach them, give them an opportunity to learn where we don't really push them. It's a litlte bit more fundamentals."
The founder said he hopes to start the new programs in April. They gathered some donated cheerleading uniforms to prepare.
The league is open to kids ages 5 to 16.
TO JOIN: Email the Maniscalcos at email@example.com.