West Virginia's indoor practice facility was turned into a soccer pitch Saturday as the Mountaineers women's team hosted a four-versus-four fundraiser in Morgantown.
The event lasted just about the entire day as teams of all ages came out to test their skills for a good cause.
Money raised Saturday will benefit the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at WVU and in nearly 10 years of hosting it, the university has collected over $72,000 for breast cancer awareness.
"Obviously everybody's been touched by breast cancer. My aunt was, my mother-in-law is fighting, so it's a huge concern, especially being a female," says head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown.
Each team consists of up to four players with the addition of a member of the Big East champion WVU team. Izzo-Brown played in a number of games and was joined by players like Blake Miller, Bry McCarthy and Meghan Lewis in guiding the young athletes in each match.
As much as this event is for breast cancer awareness, it also benefits the people who sign up and get to play alongside collegiate athletes, especially considering the success WVU has had in recent years.
"I think it's always important that when you're given something – and these girls have been given a lot through soccer – that you give back," says Izzo-Brown. "I think through the university and the accomplishments that this team has done, I thought that we could raise some money and for a good cause.
"You want to do everything you can for everybody, but this really hits home because one our of eight of my players will be hit by [cancer], whether with a friend or family member or themselves."
It isn't just the kids having fun, either. Those WVU athletes who have played in the event over the years are equally impacted.
"The girls always look forward to it," says Izzo-Brown. "I was talking to Megan Mischler who's an alum, she's in Sweden playing professionally and she just said, ‘I wish I could come back and play. It was one of my most favorite events to play in.'"
Participants ranged from fourth grade to eighth grade, but there was also an open group where anyone college age and older could get in on the action.