Emmaus-Parkland unite to support Red Card for Cancer
Boys soccer games between Emmaus and Parkland have always been intense, and sometimes chippy. The players and coaches know each other well, and each program wants and expects to win, so that makes each game of this rivalry better.
But last Saturday night at Lehigh County Sports Complex, the two teams came together for a good cause.
For the last three years, the two rivals have joined forces in helping to raise money for students with cancer.
Red Card Cancer is a non-profit soccer community committed to raising money and awareness for cancer research. The two teams this year honored Parkland freshman student Mary Dalton. Mary was diagnosed in August with a very rare form of cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma.
“I’m excited when two rivals come together for one cause,” said Parkland Coach Patrick Birns. “This shows the boys from both schools the power of sport. It shows a lot about these two communities and how close they are. We come together with Emmaus and help raise money for a good cause.
“Last year was t-shirts, this year was just donations at the door. It’s at both venues this year, and it’s just such a great atmosphere with both teams. We’ve raised about $1100 each year. Next year there is talk about doing a Red Card Cancer Cup.”
The Red Card event wouldn’t be possible without the support of sponsors like FreySmiles Orthodontics. FreySmiles will also be part of the next meeting of the two teams on Oct. 8 at Emmaus when the teams will once again raise money for Red Card for Cancer.
Emmaus head coach John Cari had similar feelings on the event.
“It’s always a competitive game between the two of us, but there’s so much respect there from coaches and players,” Cari said. “We have a good relationship with each other and we are able to do something like this together, which is great. We’re helping others, and that’s what is really important. I know both teams, along with most people, have been directly affected by cancer. One of our former captains (Andrew Schaeffer) has spent most of his college years fighting off this awful disease. It is great to see both teams come together to unite in such a worthwhile cause. Hopefully, this is a step to help create awareness and find a cure.”
The two teams finished in a 0-0 draw in an exciting match played in front of hundreds of fans surrounding the field on all sides. It was a statement to not only the big game and rivalry between the two programs, but what the night meant to each community.