Cancer may have sidelined Atticus Lane-Dupre from youth soccer last season, but it couldn’t stop the eager 8-year-old from taking the field against a Major League Soccer club this week. In fact, Atticus scored the winning goal, topping the Portland Timbers 10-9.
Make-A-Wish Oregon set up the match between the Timbers and Atticus’s team, The Green Machine. More than 3,000 fans crowded into Jeld-Wen Field to watch. Commemorative scarves were handed out and members of The Green Machine received personalized jerseys
“Atticus wanted to involve his entire team because they have been so supportive of him throughout his treatment,” Make-A-Wish Oregon spokeswoman Tracey Lam told The Huffington Post. “That touched our hearts, and the Timbers really stepped up and made it magical for him.”
The young athlete found out he had cancer last year, after taking a soccer ball to the stomach during recess. When the pain didn’t go away after several days, his parents took him to the doctor. They discovered Atticus had a cancerous tumor on one of his kidneys. Doctors removed the kidney and the 8-year-old went through several rounds of chemotherapy — sidelining him for part of The Green Machine’s season.
Atticus proved he was back in fighting shape against the Timbers though. His big score — off a corner kick in the game’s last 60 seconds — brought the crowd to its feet. You can see more photos of it here. Timbers coach Caleb Porter hoisted him into the air to celebrate and Timbers team captain Will Johnson swapped jerseys with him. Atticus’s end-of-day verdict? “I had lots of fun!”
Watch the goal in the video below: