ABERDEEN, S.D. – The Northern State University women’s soccer team is doing its part to kick cancer by holding its fifth annual Coaches vs. Cancer Pink Out night game.
The Pink Out night game is 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8 at Swisher Field against Minnesota State University Moorhead. The game is an important tradition for the soccer team, which began participating in the Coaches vs. Cancer event when two players’ mothers were diagnosed with breast cancer.
“This is a cause that the team can really connect with and is committed to fighting,” NSU women’s soccer coach Steve Kehm said. “We are hoping to have a great turnout this year.”
Night game's 'intense'
Katie Kippes, a junior soccer player from Somerset, Wis., said the breast cancer awareness game has always been a special game for the team.
“Being under the lights makes it more intense than normal, and we usually draw a larger crowd,” Kippes said. “Being able to get special shirts for our game has always made it more fun as well. Knowing that there are so many fans cheering us on definitely brings us together as a team, working harder to win.”
Having former teammates with mothers with cancer also makes this game more important than the rest, Kippes said.
“Although I have never met these players, knowing they once played for Northern still makes them family,” she said.
Many players affected
Allie Macdonald, a freshman soccer player from Hartford, said all of the players likely have someone they know affected by breast cancer – so all can relate.
“All games bring our team together, but this particular game brings us together on a different level,” Macdonald said.
The team hopes the game will draw a record number of spectators – the current record is 1,086 people.
“Any time the girls get to play under the lights, it is exciting,” Kehm said. “The event is great because it shows our student-athletes the value and importance of philanthropy, which is something that cannot necessarily be taught.”
Game is payback
Kippes said it is incredibly important for student-athletes to give back to the community for all its support.
“Aberdeen has always felt like a giant family community, and I think that's the reason Northern has such a wonderful fan base and support from the community,” she said. “Giving back to them is the least we can do!”
“I believe community service molds a person into who they are and who they will become,” Macdonald said. “Volunteering and community service is essential to better oneself and other people.”
Wear pink, ride shuttle
Spectators are encouraged to show their support for breast cancer awareness by wearing pink to the game. A shuttle bus will take fans from the north parking lot of the Barnett Center to Swisher Field starting at 8:15 p.m. The shuttle is free of charge and will run continuously until the start of the game. It will also return fans to campus after the game.
Run, walk precede game
Before the game, a 5K run and 3K walk will be held at 7:30 p.m. Registration begins at 7 p.m. The cost is $15 and includes a T-shirt. T-shirts will also be sold at the game by the NSU Honors Program. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
The NSU Honors Program is helping to raise awareness for the Pink Out soccer game as part of the NSU common read, which launches this academic year. More than 200 NSU freshmen are reading “Outcasts United” by Warren St. John as part of their freshmen seminars during the fall semester. The book follows the story of Coach Luma Mufleh, who started a soccer program for young refugee boys in Clarkston, Ga.
Reading events coincide
Several common read events are planned this academic year and will be capped by author Warren St. John speaking at NSU at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 18, 2013.
Kippes, an honors student, said she is ecstatic that the honors program is becoming involved in an athletic event – she hopes to see it happen more often. Macdonald, also an honors student, said she loves that she can be part of the Pink Out event on two different levels.
Being in honors and soccer both require teamwork and hard work, Macdonald said. Both, too, are challenging and require extra work throughout one’s college career, Kippes said.
Macdonald said the common read will allow incoming freshman students to better their academic skills while participating in a group/team atmosphere. Kippes said reading and discussing the same book may create a sense of family or class among the freshmen. And, it’s good for all students to read more books.
“They need to be challenged just like the honors students,” she said.