The Seattle Sounders and the Make-A-Wish Foundation have teamed up to give us one of the more heartwarming stories of the weekend.
Eighteen-year-old Xander Bailey, of Bluefield, West Virginia, got his wish granted when the Seattle Sounders flew him out to the West Coast for a few days with the team.
He got to practice with the Sounders–whose ranks include US National Team members Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin–and to start as an honorary team member in the Sounders’ friendly against English club Tottenham.
Then, to the delight of the 55,349 fans in attendance, he took a pass from Dempsey, dribbled downfield, and got to take a shot on goal, before being subbed out amid general applause and goodwill.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid was kind in his remarks, saying,
To give him this opportunity is just fantastic. I saw the look in his eyes and you could just tell he was overwhelmed and he was so appreciative. It makes for a day I know he will never forget. Our guys wont’ forget it either because it impacts us. We see what it means to him and being able to help in that regard and be part of that sort of situation is unique and special for us as well.
Bailey, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, is a midfielder for the King’s Warriors PDL Reserve team of southern West Virginia.