Courtesy of Trinity Sports Information
HARTFORD, Conn. - On Friday, January 26, the Trinity College men's soccer team signed Nathaniel, a brave 14-year-old boy battling acute leukemia, to the program during a special Team IMPACT Draft Day Ceremony at the Ferris Athletic Center. Head Coach Mike Pilger shared the values of the Trinity men's moccer team with Nathaniel and presented him with official team apparel. With the team present at the ceremony, Nathaniel signed his official contract to uphold the values of the team and shared his excitement for building a relationship with the Bantams. After the signing, Nathaniel and his family attended the Trinity men's basketball game with his new teammates in Ray Oosting Gymnasium.
Current senior captain Tim Peng emphasized that Team IMPACT provides perspective and opportunity for the team in the upcoming seasons. He explained, "We are very fortunate to be able to sign Nathaniel to our team. It is easy in our busy lives for us to forget how lucky we all are to be at this school. Teaming up with Nathaniel, who cherishes every day and lives life with such strength, reminds us to be grateful for our blessings. Helping those who are less fortunate than us is the best way to give back to the community and be thankful for what we have. Following Coach Pilger's lead, our team also participates in charitable events, such as raising money every holiday season to sponsor Thanksgiving meals for families less fortunate than ours."
Coach Pilger believes that this event will begin a valuable partnership for Nathaniel and Trinity men's soccer. He not only believes it is essential to recruit talented soccer players, but also a respectful group of young men to enhance the Trinity community. Despite numerous members of the junior class studying abroad this spring, Coach Pilger is confident that the leadership among the underclassmen will take the lead. Sophomore Michael Burns and a few of his teammates have already taken initiative to support Nathaniel at his treatment.
"Nathaniel provides motivation to be a better player on and off the field," said Burns. "He is a reminder to not take our athletic ability for granted, and to work hard everyday. It is also essential for our team to be apart of something greater than ourselves and to give back".
Team IMPACT matches children who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness to collegiate sports team. As a member of the team, not only will Nathaniel have the opportunity to attend games, practices, and other team events, but the team will also be visiting him at medical treatments to show their support. Team IMPACT, a nonprofit organization based in Boston Mass., has matched children with over 450 colleges in 46 states. Seven children are currently matched with Trinity College athletic teams while the remaining teams are currently on the wait list to be involved with the program.