Playing soccer for a cause

| Sports Reporter

Shortly before Jeff LaBoskey arrived at Washington University for his freshman year in Sept. 2001, he was informed that his sister had been diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer known as Ewing’s Sarcoma. Less than a year later, she passed away. When it occurred to LaBoskey that there was, and still is, very little research being done in the field of cancer that caused this tragedy, he decided that he wanted to make a difference.

As a senior, LaBoskey founded The Sunbeam Foundation, an organization that aims to spread hope and find cures for rare childhood bone cancers whose research is underfunded, as stated on the Sunbeam Foundation website.

“The aim is simple: to spread hope and search for cures for this devastating disease. We take pride in being an all volunteer, grassroots organization that gives all that we receive directly to the cause,” LaBoskey said.

To gain support for the organization, LaBoskey decided to use a passion that he and his sister had shared—soccer. As a four-year varsity soccer player during his time at Wash. U., LaBoskey motivated his teammates to get involved with the Sunbeam Foundation.

New generations of Bears have supported the foundation through soccer camps and encouraging donations at occasional games. This year, however, senior captain Alex Neumann decided to take fundraising one step further by creating the first WUSTL World Cup Charity Soccer Tournament.

This Saturday, Oct. 2, the varsity soccer team will play host to a five vs. five soccer tournament on Francis Field. After a week of tabling, the team is enthusiastic about the number of expected participants.

“The number of people signing up for the tournament is a great testimony to how willing students across this campus are to help a good cause,” junior Mac Chamberlin said.

True to its name, the tournament will follow a World Cup format, in which each of a maximum of 32 teams is guaranteed three matches, followed by elimination rounds for the top 16 teams. Though LaBoskey is now several years removed from Wash. U., he is excited to be involved with the school again and the soccer team in particular.

“Spirited events like the WUSTL World Cup allow us to provide seed grants for cutting research and launch new careers that are focused on these pediatric cancers,” LaBoskey said. “Wash. U. was a very special place for me. I played soccer all four years and gained a network of friends that will always be an important part of my life. It is very exciting to be involved with Wash. U. again with an event that embraces so many things that I love.”

Those still interested in signing up for the tournament or who would like to learn more about The Sunbeam Foundation can contact Neumann in the DUC throughout the day today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as well as in Bear’s Den from 7 to 9 p.m.

“It’s important to know that this is not a hyper competitive tournament. It’s a tournament of all skill levels,” Neumann said. “I have a bunch of friends that have barely ever kicked a soccer ball before, but they’re doing it for the charity.”

The tournament will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

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