Karl Bender- Founder and President

Growing up in New York and Connecticut with his brother Mikey, Karl had the opportunity to see how sports positively impacted children with disabilities.  The bender family frequently drove several hours and crossed state lines for the opportunity to attend adapted sports games.  Following high school at Dobson, in Mesa (where he lettered in several varsity sports and participated in the Best Buddies program), Karl joined the army.  While on tour in Iraq, his unit participated in building soccer fields and setting up 12 youth soccer leagues.  After retiring from the Army, Karl finished his education and obtained a BS in Finance and Accounting.  He then began working with a youth wrestling league in Colorado where he had the opportunity to partner with Olympic athletes to give kids amazing experiences as they hosted weekly tournaments for hundreds of athletes.  As the Director of Relations, he was hands on in ensuring the success of events for the 5 years he spent there.  Now, having returned to Arizona, Karl is utilizing his expertise to found Mikey’s League to give everyone who participates the same experience that he and his brother were able to share while growing up.

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Coach Karl
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Karl Bender- Founder and President

Growing up in New York and Connecticut with his brother Mikey, Karl had the opportunity to see how sports positively impacted children with disabilities.  The bender family frequently drove several hours and crossed state lines for the opportunity to attend adapted sports games.  Following high school at Dobson, in Mesa (where he lettered in several varsity sports and participated in the Best Buddies program), Karl joined the army.  While on tour in Iraq, his unit participated in building soccer fields and setting up 12 youth soccer leagues.  After retiring from the Army, Karl finished his education and obtained a BS in Finance and Accounting.  He then began working with a youth wrestling league in Colorado where he had the opportunity to partner with Olympic athletes to give kids amazing experiences as they hosted weekly tournaments for hundreds of athletes.  As the Director of Relations, he was hands on in ensuring the success of events for the 5 years he spent there.  Now, having returned to Arizona, Karl is utilizing his expertise to found Mikey’s League to give everyone who participates the same experience that he and his brother were able to share while growing up.

Karl with General Petraeus

Scott Freeman- Founder and Executive Director

Scott was raised in Mesa as part of a family that encouraged community action and teaching people skills that can change their lives.  He attended high school with Karl where he was also a multi-sport athlete.  He experienced first hand the power of sports to instill confidence and promote social inclusion.

Following college at ASU Scott entered the children’s behavioral health field where he would spend the next 13 years working his way up through the system to oversee the operations of a large public children’s behavioral health clinic.  Along that journey he obtained a Master of Arts in Education Degree, spent 3 years working in a co-location with a Department of Developmental Disabilities team, and coached high school lacrosse for two years.

Impacted by Karl’s vision of a future in which all kids can play together and in which everyone can be an athlete, Scott has dedicated himself to the success of Mikey’s League.

Coach Scott

Scott Freeman- Founder and Executive Director

Scott was raised in Mesa as part of a family that encouraged community action and teaching people skills that can change their lives.  He attended high school with Karl where he was also a multi-sport athlete.  He experienced first hand the power of sports to instill confidence and promote social inclusion.

Following college at ASU Scott entered the children’s behavioral health field where he would spend the next 13 years working his way up through the system to oversee the operations of a large public children’s behavioral health clinic.  Along that journey he obtained a Master of Arts in Education Degree, spent 3 years working in a co-location with a Department of Developmental Disabilities team, and coached high school lacrosse for two years.

Impacted by Karl’s vision of a future in which all kids can play together and in which everyone can be an athlete, Scott has dedicated himself to the success of Mikey’s League.

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