SAN JOSE, Calif. – As part of Major League Soccer’s Kick Childhood Cancer campaign during the month of September, the San Jose Earthquakes will virtually recognize an honorary captain at two home matches. Each honorary captain is currently fighting pediatric cancer.
Honorary captains were selected with program partner Austen Everett Foundation, and were chosen for each of the next two home matches: Saturday, Sept. 5 vs. the Colorado Rapids and Sunday, Sept. 13 vs. the LA Galaxy. Each captain will have a custom player card created and shared on Instagram on matchday. They will also receive goody bags with a customized Earthquakes jersey, plush toys and soccer balls, with gear given to their siblings as well. The club will also capture and send video messages to the kids from their favorite Quakes player and both have been invited to join a live video chat on matchday hosted by supporters’ group, The Faultline.
On Sept. 5, the Earthquakes’ honorary captain will be 10-year-old Santiago Lopez from San Jose. He was diagnosed on Thanksgiving 2019 with a rare form of brain cancer called DIPG. He loves soccer, swimming, golf, dinosaurs and the Food Network. His favorite Quakes player is forward Andres Rios, in part because his middle name is Rio.
The Earthquakes’ honorary captain for Sept. 13 will be nine-year-old Luicen Thies from Ukiah. Lucien’s entire family are big soccer and Quakes fans and his favorite player is defender Florian Jungwirth. He was diagnosed with a Peripheral Sheathe Tumor in September 2017, which has no known chemo, radiation or surgery to help him get better. Lucien was recently accepted into a new binimetnib met chemo trial and will be the first pediatric patient in California to receive this medication.
“While COVID-19 has impacted many of our usual matchday plans, we’re excited to be able to continue our Honorary Captain program in collaboration with the Austen Everett Foundation,” said Earthquakes Director of Community Relations Rahul Devaskar. “Santiago and Lucien, among too many others, are fighting an important battle and having an opportunity to put smiles on their faces is of the utmost importance to us.”
Additionally, Continental Tire – a league partner – has created fun packs for children in hospitals that contain various puzzles and games. The Earthquakes will distribute these fun packs to the local chapter of the American Cancer Society’s Courageous Kids program.