ROCHESTER, Mich. – Head Coach Eric Pogue and the Oakland men’s soccer team are proud to announce the signing of Alex VanHolder as an honorary team member in conjunction with Draft Day and Team IMPACT. VanHolder has been participating in team activities such as practice, coaching, warm ups and has already traveled to the cheer on the Golden Grizzlies to wins over No. 20 Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. and Belmont in Nashville, Tenn. in addition to watching the team against UIC in Chicago last weekend.
“We are really excited to have Alex VanHolder join the Oakland men's soccer family," said Pogue. "He is a huge signing for the Golden Grizzlies and a great addition to our team. Alex is an amazingly strong and courageous young boy that is an inspiration to us all as his new teammates and coaches. We are a better program because of his involvement and look forward to having him and his family involved throughout all of our activities on and off the field."
The Golden Grizzlies welcomed Alex and his parents Matt and Stephanie to an honorary Draft Day press conference where he signed a NLI to officially become a part of the team and was presented with his own neon Oakland soccer kit.
In May of 2016, Alex had difficulty seeing pitches at baseball practice. During one game in particular earlier this spring, he had a lot of trouble seeing which led his parents to take him to the hospital. The doctors discovered a Medulloblastoma tumor on Alex’s brain stem.
He went through an extensive surgery to remove most of the tumor but part of it is still on his brain stem. He is currently getting regular treatments of chemo and radiation at Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Alex VanHolder File:
Hometown: Mayville, Mich.
Parents: Matt and Stephanie
Siblings: Sisters-Kylynn, McKayla, Janelle and Ellieanna, Brothers-Drew and Parker
Pets: Chocolate Lab named Cody
Favorite sports: Baseball, Soccer
Favorite pro sports team: Detroit Tigers
Favorite athlete: James McCann
Favorite colors: Orange
Favorite food: Cheddar Cheese Pringles
Favorite song: “Favorite Song” by Toby Mac
Favorite book: Big Nate
Favorite movie: Ed
About Team IMPACT and Draft Day:
Draft Day has been facilitated by the 501(c)(3) non-profit, Team IMPACT, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team.
Team IMPACT children are drafted onto college athletic teams, local to where they live, and to the greatest extent possible, become a member of the team from Draft Day through to Graduation.
Team IMPACT is national organization, based in Boston, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team.
Established in 2011, Team IMPACT has already matched over 800 children with collegiate teams at over 300 institutions in 43 states, improving the quality of life of hundreds of courageous children and touching the lives of over 25,000 student athletes.