Josef Martinez and Maylee - Atlanta United - Kick Childhood Cancer month
Courtesy of Atlanta United FC

Kick Childhood Cancer update: Josef Martinez is surprise birthday party guest

The sixth edition of Kick Childhood Cancer, an MLS WORKS initiative, is underway, and teams around the league have been busy in the community. Below you can find the latest efforts from MLS and its teams during childhood cancer awareness month, benefitting Children's Oncology Group.

Previous updates:

Atlanta United

Star striker Josef Martinez came to Maylee's birthday party, and the video recap, complete with hugs, a dance party and glitter galore is a sight to behold.

Columbus Crew SC

The Crew teamed up with NC4K, a nonprofit that provides support for kids fighting cancer, and Rule 3 to host bowling event and pizza party for pediatric cancer patients and their families on Sept. 16.

D.C. United

In conjunction with Children’s Nat’l Hospital and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), D.C. hosted Kick Childhood Cancer night during their game against Seattle on Sept. 22. The match included VIP experiences for LLS Honored Heroes and their immediate families.

In addition, the story of Chris Odoi-Atsem, who returned to the field this season after a battle with cancer, was highlighted during the game.

Houston Dynamo

On Sept. 18, Dynamo players joined MD Anderson staff and kid patients to host a soccer-themed workout for the kids.

Then on Sept. 20, Houston partnered with Austin Everrett foundation to find a Kid Captain. Selected pediatric cancer patient Sebastian Robles met with the team to sign his contract, receive uniform and watch practice, before walking out with the team the following night.

In addition, the Dynamo also selected 11 kids who are currently battling cancer or in remission to be the starting XI. Each child designed custom super hero capes and Dynamo players also had capes ahead of the team's Kick Childhood Cancer game on Sept. 21.


Players visited Kaiser Permanente’s pediatric oncology unit, with goalkeeper Tyler Miller ringing the bell to mark the end of his treatment with honorary falconer Justin Petre.

LA Galaxy

The Galaxy invited 40 Children's Hospital of Los Angeles patients and families to their home match vs. the Montreal Impact on Sept. 18, and on World Marrow Donor Day the club's foundation recognized their community partner Gift of Life by welcoming bone marrow recipients and donors to the game for an on-field presentation. 

New England Revolution

The Revolution held the club’s official Kick Childhood Cancer night as Real Salt Lake hit town over the weekend. As he’s done at five other games this season, goalkeeper Matt Turner hosted a Boston-area childhood cancer patient and their family as part of “Matt’s NEGU Crew” (Never, Ever Give Up) in partnership with the Jessie Rees Foundation. Saturday’s NEGU Crew “Courageous Kid” was Felix Soares, a 9-year-old from Nantucket Island currently battling T-Cell Leukemia.

What made this NEGU Crew extra-special: RSL midfielder Kelyn Rowe made his first trip back to Gillette Stadium as an opponent. Rowe started “Kelyn’s NEGU Crew” while with the Revs and was a four-time Revolution Humanitarian of the Year honoree, due primarily to all of his work with childhood cancer awareness and NEGU Crew. Turner took over for Kelyn after Rowe was traded to SKC in the offseason; both players tweeted about Felix and visited with him on gameday.

Philadelphia Union

The Union last week mourned the passing of 3-year-old Lucy McCabe, a member of the Fearless 43, a group of children fighting childhood cancer that the club have been working with to raise awareness during Kick Childhood Cancer month. Lucy was beloved by Union players and staff and they paid tribute to her by wearing her initials on their pregame warmup jerseys and Alejandro Bedoya's captain's armband at Sunday's road game vs. the New York Red Bulls

Seattle Sounders

On Sept. 18 the Sounders hosted their Kick Childhood Cancer match as FC Dallas visited CenturyLink Field, with a "dream team" that featured 22 kids battling cancer as well as their siblings. The Rave Green welcomed Gabriel, a youth fighting leukemia, as their honorary team captain and gave him an enhanced team training and locker-room experience, while also partnering with jersey sponsor Zulily to host other KCC kids:

The Sounders also continue to support retired defender Zach Scott's blood drive for KCC month:

Sporting Kansas City

Children's Mercy Park became a comic-book-style setting on Sept. 21 as Sporting celebrated their KCC match on the visit of the Colorado Rapids, with special on-field recognition of children battling cancer and a supporters' tifo marking the occasion. Children and families affected by cancer were invited to a tailgate organized by The Victory Project, and Hallmark provided greeting cards for fans to write messages of encouragement.


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