Matt Besler and Graham Zusi with cancer patient Kalen Ricketson — Sept. 26, 2018
Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas city sign 18-year-old battling osteosarcoma to contract


Sporting Kansas City are doing what they can to boost the spirits of a fan in need.

On Wednesday, SKC announced the signing of Kalen Ricketson, an 18-year-old batting osteosarcoma, to an honorary contract ahead of Sunday’s match vs. Real Salt Lake at Children’s Mercy Park (5 pm ET, FS1 — Full TV & streaming info).

“We are very excited for Kalen to join our team as we prepare to face Real Salt Lake,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a statement. “His tremendous courage and fighting spirit make him a great addition to our roster, and we look forward to sharing this great experience with him and all of our fans.”

Ricketson has undergone 13 surgeries over the last three years after being diagnosed with bone cancer in December 2015. After the cancer spread to his left wrist last year, he was a special guest at Children's Mercy Park, along with his family, on July 29, 2017 as part of the club’s Victory Project initiative, which was launched in 2013 to help children battling cancer.

Ricketon’s left arm was amputated between the shoulder and the elbow this year, with the Victory Project helping to cover the costs of the procedure. In July, he learned his cancer had returned, requiring two lung surgeries this summer.

Earlier this month, Ricketson recovered to attend his first U.S. men’s national team game, a 1-0 victory over Mexico in Nashville. For Sunday’s match in Kansas City, which is part of MLS WORKS’ league-wide Kick Childhood Cancer campaign, he will wear the No. 24.

The Victory Project, which has granted “Sporting Wishes” and vacations to several other children battling cancer, will also welcome more than 50 families the foundation has assisted for a special halftime ceremony.

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