College coaches will take attitude over talent any day of the week.
“He came with soccer cleared to the last game, he had his soccer cleats on and he was ready to go,” Oakland men's soccer coach Eric Pogue said.
10-year old Alex VanHolder signed his letter on intent to join the Golden Grizzlies soccer team but he’s already been with this team throughout the season, inspiring along the way.
“He’s like our battle cry, we’ll do it for Alex," senior goal tender Zach Walker said. "We know he’s been dealt a bad hand and it’s unfortunate, nobody should have to go through that so we just try to go out there and perform our best for him.”
Alex had a cancerous tumor partially removed from his brain stem and still fights the battle with the disease on a daily basis.
But when he’s with his teammates, the fight, is a bit less painful and while it helps him deal with the unimaginable, everyone else is learning too.
“It’s very tough to sit and watch him when he can’t go do anything, when you can’t go to school, when I can’t be out of the hospital so when the days that he can he come watch soccer players and be with them it’s just tremendous to see his attitude his spirit changes in a hurry and that’s what really helped us,” Alex's father Matt VanHolder said.
“I thought this was a good opportunity for our guys to see something that’s a little bit bigger than themselves,” Pogue added.
“I don’t think they understand what exactly it does for him but it’s pretty cool to see the interaction with the older guys,” Alex’s mother, Stephanie VanHolder said.