Sports Xtra: Grace soccer goes beyond goal to give

Grace soccer.JPG
Posted at 10:49 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 22:49:36-04

Life on the run. RTV6 first brought you the inspiring story of how the Grace College soccer team was raising money for COVID-19 victims during a 48-hour run.

Except, they kept running after 48 hours. And running. It lasted an entire week.

So, why stop now?

"We thought people might be bored with us at this point blowing up their Instagram feed, sending emails and all those things," head coach Aaron Patrick said.

It began with one of their player back in Italy. The grandparents of senior Ivan Santagiuliana both losing their battles with coronavirus. The run began as a simple gesture to raise money for a few around the world, all captured on the team's Instagram page.

The gesture was deeper than just raising money.

"The thing I kept hearing from the guys, they were so happy to be helping other people and running for other people and then it snowballed into inspiring other people," Patrick said.

That included Patrick's 5-year-old son, Oliver.

"People donated $250 just for him," Patrick said.

Donations coming here and there and not just for running.

"And then on donor comes on and says, 'How much to shave your guys' heads?' I'm like, 'What?!' He says, '$500 to shave your heads.'" Cole Voss, a sophomore, said. "Alright. We're in."

A simple gesture with their players doing their part from around the world. A week's worth of work culminating with a big donation from the Dane and Mary Louise Miller Foundation making the final total $20,000.

"This really showed how invested we are in the community and how much the community cares about us and our program," Voss said.

It was a team effort perhaps unlike ever before.

"It all came together because of the negative situation with Ivan's grandparents," Patrick said. "This is a really tight group, the most special group I've ever been a part of. I love that they're a part of my family."