This past Saturday, the women’s soccer team hosted Huntington University in their season finale. However, this was no ordinary game—GC players wore specially made pink jerseys to support breast cancer awareness.
The team held a silent auction for the jerseys during the game and the proceeds along with the gate earnings will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Huntington and the referees also joined in—Huntington sported pink headbands and the referees wore pink socks.
Goshen went on to win the game 1-0 behind the efforts of Molly Zook and Natalie Thorne, both juniors, in goal. The duo combined for the team’s fifth clean sheet of the season. Lena Charles, a sophomore, accounted for the lone goal on a corner kick from Katelyn Venderly, a senior, with 33 minutes remaining in the match. The goal was Charles’ second of the season and the assist was Venderly’s fourth of the season and 13th of her career, putting her in sole possession of fourth place in Goshen’s career assist leaders.
Scott Golden, head coach, was extremely happy that the team was able to support the cause. “It means a lot to myself personally, as my mother-in-law is a survivor,” he said. “It also means a lot as a coach of women, as one in eight women will have breast cancer in their lifetime.”
The players were also excited for the opportunity to play for more than just themselves. Charles explained that this reminded her of how lucky she is. “Playing for a bigger cause is always motivating. I am blessed to be healthy enough and able to play the sport I am passionate about, and I recognize that there are people who cannot always do the things they are passionate about due to unfavorable circumstances, so I will continue to appreciate and utilize that privilege for as long as possible,” she said.
Maddie Birky, a junior, agreed. “During my time at Goshen, we’ve never been able to do any kind of cancer awareness theme. I have a close family friend who is still dealing with the lasting effects of breast cancer. I felt blessed to be able to play in that game specifically, because I often take my health and my ability to play the game I love for granted,” she said.
For Venderly, it was an experience that she will remember for a lifetime. “Right before the game we came together with Huntington and the referees to take a picture of us all wearing pink. It was a special moment where even though we were playing against each other, we all came together in support of this cause. For me, the impact of cancer is very real so it was really special to play in a game that helped promote awareness and raise funds for cancer support and research. It was extremely humbling to think about what the funds raised could do for people whose lives are affected by cancer and how a small event like this can help to make a difference. This game was a great example of how playing a sport you love can help make an impact on something bigger than yourself.”