In its essence, goalkeeping is about sacrifice. You give up your body for the greater good, willingly diving into the path of a screaming shot to keep your team in the game and give it a fighting chance to win.
Is it any wonder, then, that FC Dallas backup goalkeeper Chris Seitz agreed in August to give up the rest of his MLS season in order to under a delicate surgery and donate marrow to an anonymous leukemia patient?
For his selfless act of sacrifice, Seitz was voted the 2012 MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year.
Seitz originally registered with DKMS, the world’s largest bone-marrow center, to become a bone-marrow donor in 2009. At the time, he was with Real Salt Lake, and, like many in the US soccer scene, he wanted to support RSL midfielder Andy Williams, whose wife, Marcia, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.
In August, Seitz was contacted by DKMS and told he was a possible match for a leukemia patient. Once it was confirmed that he was the best match, he spoke with his fiancée, Kate, who had just found out she was pregnant, his family, including his Uncle John, who was diagnosed with leukemia in January, and his coach, Schellas Hyndman. Finally, he decided to undergo surgery in September to have bone marrow extracted from his pelvic bone.
"I would look back at it and shoot myself in the foot if I didn't do it," Seitz told ESPN.com in October. "I'd always have questions about myself, about who I am. It just would have bothered me. If someone had the chance to do it to help me or Kate, I'd beg them to do it. And it had just happened in my family. I saw it as my chance to give something back."
Seitz, who has also played for the Philadelphia Union, does not have a guaranteed contract with FCD for 2013. But whether or not he remains in Frisco next year, his actions will be remembered for a very long time.
"It's not like we don't know him and haven't seen him," Hyndman told ESPN.com. "But his value as a person has gone off the charts. If it gets to a point where we are thinking, 'Do we bring back Chris, or do we not bring back Chris?' the one thing we will always say is his character and commitment is A-level."
MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year voting
|Player (Club)||% of Club Votes||% of Media Votes||% of Player Votes||Weighted Total|
|Chris Seitz (DAL)||38.89||60||21.35||120.24|
|Kei Kamara (SKC)||9.26||8.33||7.87||25.46|
|Michael Lahoud (PHI)||11.11||0||7.87||18.98|
|Kenny Cooper (NY)||5.56||3.33||7.87||16.76|
|Dan Kennedy (CHV)||1.85||8.33||5.61||15.79|
MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year winners
2012: Chris Seitz – FC Dallas
2011: Zak Boggs – New England Revolution
2010: Seth Stammler – New York Red Bulls
2009: Jimmy Conrad – Kansas City Wizards; Logan Pause – Chicago Fire
2008: Jose Burciaga Jr. – Colorado Rapids
2007: Diego Gutierrez – Chicago Fire
2006: Michael Parkhurst – New England Revolution
2005: Brian Kamler – Real Salt Lake
2004: Chris Henderson – Colorado Rapids
2003: Ben Olsen – D.C. United
2002: Steve Jolley – MetroStars
2001: Tim Howard – MetroStars
2000: Abdul T. Conteh – San Jose Earthquakes
About MLS W.O.R.K.S.
MLS W.O.R.K.S. is Major League Soccer's community outreach initiative dedicated to addressing important social issues and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs. MLS W.O.R.K.S. seeks to establish Major League Soccer as a leader for improving the lives of people through sport. For more information visit the website at www.MLSsoccer.com/mlsworks or follow us on Twitter (@MLSWORKS).