This is the 19th year that USC soccer players have gathered together to make a difference in the lives of kids with cancer at the children and parents soccer clinic, held at Stone Stadium.
Conor Tucker, of West Columbia, participated on Saturday as a family member who has been affected by cancer, since his sister Catherine recently fought Leukemia.
USC Soccer player Justin Bauer spent time watching, playing, and teaching soccer to Catherine Tucker, a Leukemia survivor.
Approximately 30 kids participated in the children and parents soccer clinic on Saturday, enjoying fresh air and learning from the USC soccer team
This group of players and kids used the white table as a mock goal, they practiced kicking the ball in that direction.
The University of South Carolina soccer team along with Children’s Chance spent Saturday at Stone Stadium helping families kick pediatric cancer.
Children’s Chance is a statewide organization that holds fundraisers and events to help improve the quality of life for children and families battling pediatric cancer. They teamed up with the USC soccer players on Saturday to teach the kids a little bit about soccer, and give them a chance to be active with other kids who have experienced and understand their battle.
“This is our 19th year of doing our CAPS clinic, which stands for Children and Parents Soccer clinic. We are so thankful to Coach Marcus, who is awesome to work with us to keep the CAPS tradition going for this long,” said Neil Boone, the administrative director of Children’s Chance.
With approximately 30 children in attendance, the players had their hands — or should we say feet — full helping all the kids have fun on the field.
“Helping people who have experienced something so hard, and watching them having fun with us after all they have been through, has meant so much to me,” Aleksander Christensson, a Gamecock soccer player, said.
In cleats, shin pads and shorts, all of the kids were excited to spend the day playing soccer. Being fighters, the kids didn’t let their sicknesses hold them back from playing hard. However, the kids weren’t the only ones excited for the clinic, the parents of the children were excited to see their kids get some time outside.
“I have a 6-year-old who was diagnosed when she was two with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and she is here enjoying the soccer program. It does her good to get out and get some exercise,” said Sara Tucker, mother of Catherine Tucker. “Now that she’s been chemo free for two years, it gives us a chance to enjoy these activities.”
“The soccer team is so awesome to get out here every year and teach these kids, who like my own children, don’t have the opportunity to do sports,” said Angela Willis, mother of Aubree Willis. “And it gets us out of the house and around other families to talk to, who know what we are going through.”
Tucker and Willis explained that events like these are important because they not only give their kids the chance to feel normal, but also give families with a common problem the opportunity to bond. Through these events, they meet families that can truly understand what they are going through.
CAPS also gives the soccer players an opportunity to connect with kids that really look up to them.
“This is my third year doing this. It’s really fun, and the kids enjoy being with us,” said player Bjorn Gudjonsson, who then pointed down the field at an excited little boy. “Connor down there, he’s been here all three years, and I’ve gotten to become friends with him; he’s cool, he’s a fighter.”