Women's Soccer Embraces Team IMPACT
(Cleo Hirsch, A12, shares a moment with eight-year-old Joli Talusan Vega on the sidelines before the Tufts Women's Soccer match against Wesleyan.)
"Fan the Fire" seeks to energize the Tufts community to support student athletes and their public service work. One example (of many) of this athletes-to-service connection can be found in the Tufts Women's Soccer team...
What started as a sunny September afternoon of soccer, candy
apples, hot dogs, and T-shirts, quickly turned into a memorable day
of Jumbo spirit as more and more students and alumni took to the
stands to rally around the team. “It felt so great to have
such a large crowd,” says Tufts Women’s Soccer
Co-Captain Olivia Rowse, A12. “It makes the game so
fun—for the players and the fans—when there are a lot
of people watching. As a player, it is so exciting to see that
Tufts students are interested in Tufts sports and have Tufts
From grandparents and classmates to staff and President Monaco himself, the day was filled with smiles and cheer for Tufts Athletics and the charitable organizations it supports—namely Team IMPACT.
Through the organization, the Tufts Women’s Soccer team adopted eight-year-old cancer survivor Joli Telusa Vega of Brockton, Mass., as their littlest teammate this year. Rowse says Joli is a great source of spirit, from joining the team for breakfasts and leading friendship bracelet-making sessions to bringing orange slices to the games. “It reminds us all of the good old youth soccer days!”
Along with a half-time penalty shoot-out for Patriots tickets, fans were eager to check out the Team IMPACT tent to learn more about the daily inspiration a child can give.
“She is really a special girl,” says Rowse. Despite having endured such hardship at a young age—one of Joli’s eyes was removed during emergency surgery for retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer—Rowse says she never sees Joli without an infectious smile on her face. “I know that the goal of Team IMPACT is for us to join Joli’s support network, however, in reality I think Joli is giving just as much to us as we are to her.”