Women’s soccer wears gold for childhood cancer awareness

Women's soccer team putting on gold socks

Women’s soccer players get their gold laces ready for Friday’s game. Photo: Richard Van Hees

 

The women’s soccer team will wear gold laces at Friday’s game for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

The Flames are partnering with Lace Up 4 Pediatric Cancer — part of Go4theGoal, a foundation that helps kids with cancer achieve their goals — by wearing the gold laces during their game against Cleveland State at 7 p.m. at Flames Field. The team also has a fundraising page with Go4theGoal, aiming to raise $500.

On Sept. 11, the Flames welcomed Nina, a 7-year-old who has a brain tumor, to their game against Northern Iowa. As UIC’s honorary guest, she walked onto the field during player introductions and stayed to cheer the Flames. She ended her night hanging out and eating pizza with the players in the team’s locker room.

“It was a great experience having her be a part of the team for a night,” sophomore Olivia Everin said. “She was very inspirational, as she was so little yet so strong and mature.”

“Having Nina with us was a really feel-good moment for us as a team,” sophomore Emily Wauer said. “It truly was a humbling experience to see her so happy just being a part of our pregame. I was brought to tears multiple times seeing her smile at the small things we could do for her.”

The team,with head coach Brian Rigby and assistant coaches Julie Colhoff and Jamie Forbes, recently visited the pediatric hematology/oncology center at Children’s Hospital University of Illinois. They met doctors and spent time with some of the children receiving treatment.

“Any time you have a chance to give back to the community, we would never hesitate twice to do so,” Rigby said. “It was amazing to go to the hospital to meet the doctors and see the clinic.”

Senior Ana Hernandez was inspired by meeting the young patients.

“The ability to walk and run, even enjoy basic daily activities, doesn’t come easy to everyone,” she said. “Being a fighter comes in all shapes and sizes and those kids are the strongest people I know.”

Friday’s game against Cleveland State begins the team’s Horizon League schedule. The Vikings have scored 18 goals to lead the conference.