Men’s Soccer team adds a “team buddy” for the 2019 season


JCU Sports Information

Makayla Clafin (center) holds up her letter of intent to sign with the Blue Streaks for the 2019 season.

Anna Meyer, Staff Reporter

On Monday, Oct. 1, the John Carroll University men’s soccer team partnered with the Max Cure Foundation and Streaks to the Max to welcome Makayla Clafin, a seventh-grade cancer survivor, as their team buddy for the season.

Participating in the team buddy program means a Blue Streaks varsity team signs on a childhood cancer survivor as an honorary member for the season.

Clafin’s mom, Stacy Clafin, shared with the team her daughter’s moving story of what she has has undergone in the past few years. 

Clafin started soccer at age three, playing for Streetsboro recreation teams. While playing in the GASSA league in Akron, she was a part of an undefeated team that won their division. Soon after that memorable season, the Clafin family received the devastating news.

Makayla was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She spent countless days in the hospital and underwent two-and-a-half years of rigorous chemotherapy treatments, starting at age nine.

Her mom stated that the best way she could describe the years of treatment was a “lost childhood.” 

Makayla, now 13, has successfully completed treatment. She is in full remission. She is now able to continue her soccer career and is currently playing for the Streetsboro United Club team. 

“She is still a worry. I can’t say it goes away. It never does, unfortunately,” Makayla’s mom Stacy said during the official signing. “It still requires monthly check ups which require blood draws.”

After signing the contract presented by head coach Hector Marinaro, Makayla received a standing ovation from members of the Blue Streaks athletic department as well as the entire men’s soccer team. 

At the end of the event, Sports Information Director Chris Wenzler recognized how important the team buddy program has been. Makayla is the latest addition.

“She’s our seventh buddy that we have signed at John Carroll,” Wenzler said. “We’re really happy we have now made that connection with the men’s soccer team that we’ve been waiting to [make].”