Time to give back
Published: December 20, 2012
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PINE GROVE - Children's laughter echoed throughout the gym while soccer balls zipped around every which way.
Pine Grove alumnus David Horst made his way through the controlled chaos in the Pine Grove Middle School gym, helping children with soccer techniques where and when he could.
A year ago, Horst, a member of Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers, came to Pine Grove to put on a free soccer clinic for area children.
He returned again Saturday, Dec. 15 to do much of the same, but this time it was also in support of a cause that will provide future scholarship money to several of the youngsters in attendance.
Horst, a 2004 Pine Grove graduate, paired up again with Team Works Sports Academy to run a soccer clinic for Pine Grove children ages 7-14.
The $15 donation for admission went to support the "Inspire 23" Ryan Collins Scholarship Fund, which annually awards college scholarship money to a male and female student-athlete who has played four years of varsity soccer at Pine Grove and are closest to No. 23 in their graduating class.
Collins played soccer with Horst growing up and for three years in high school, as well as with Team Works CEO Andrew Haas, a 2002 Pine Grove graduate.
Collins tragically died in a hunting accident in 2005, and the scholarship was created in 2006.
"It's always special to come back to the area and give back, but this one means a little bit more. It hits a little closer to home," Horst said. "Anything I could do for the scholarship, for his family, is an honor for me. Anything to give back to my community is an honor and it's special, because I'm not here that much throughout the year.
"I'd love to see soccer grow not just in Pine Grove but in Schuylkill County as well," Horst said. "If this helps that in any way, that's great. It's just a great time to give back to some of these kids, to get them out and learn some new skills."
After graduation from Pine Grove, Horst went on to complete a college career at Old Dominion before being selected 14th overall in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft by Real Salt Lake.
In November 2010, Horst was selected by Portland in the MLS Expansion Draft.
He missed some time with two hip surgeries, but Horst returned part-way through the 2012 season and locked up a starting position on the Timbers' back line.
He appeared in 21 games and started a career-high 20 times while also adding a goal.
Horst has two years left on his contract and has nursed his health back to 100 percent ahead of the 2013 season.
"This is the best I've felt in years," Horst said. "Hopefully I can continue that into next season and hit the ground running and be ready to play from the start."
Horst will have to prove himself to a new coach as the Timbers hired Caleb Porter, one of the most successful college coaches in recent history. Porter guided Akron to six straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a national title in 2010.
"In the next couple weeks I'll be talking to (Porter) and the new guys that have come in," Horst said. "I'll go from there and work my hardest to keep a starting position.
"I love the city, I love the people, I love the organization,'' he added. "I solidified my spot this year and made a name for myself around Portland. It's a place I want to stay at in the years moving forward, and I hope it works out that way."