Xander Bailey is a 18-year-old cystic fibrosis patient who accomplished his dream last weekend thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The teen was added to the Seattle Sounders soccer team’s lineup and even started a friendly match against Tottenham Hotspur.
The Make-A-Wish recipient from Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia was given a one-game contract from the Seattle Sounders, which included an official press conference to announce the signing, and on Friday he trained with team, which made sure that Bailey was having the experience of a lifetime. He was given the team’s official equipment and a place in the locker room, beside team star Clint Dempsey, just like a real professional player.
After arriving in a limousine, during the match with Tottenham on Saturday, Bailey was part of the pre game ceremonies with the team, was introduced as part of the starting lineup, and accompanied Clint Dempsey for the kickoff. When the referee blew the whistle, Dempsey passed the ball to Bailey, who dribbled down the center of the field and took a strong shot on goal in front of the former U.S. national goalkeeper Brad Friedel.
The stadium boasted 55,349 people who were supportive of the cause and led a rousing ovation during Xander’s brief but exciting time on the field. The Emerald City Supporter, Seattle’s largest fan group, designed a tifo in honor of Bailey, as well as green cards with Bailey’s name and the number 45.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization committed to granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, also made it possible last year for an 8 year-old cancer survivor to be a part of a game with the Timbers, in front of 3,000 fans.