San Jose Earthquakes name girl battling cancer honorary captain

A 10-year-old California girl’s dream of making a soccer roster came true on Wednesday when the San Jose Earthquakes made her an honorary team captain. Destinee Coronado, who has been battling stage 3 cancer since April after doctors discovered a malignant tumor growing in one of her ovaries, signed her one-day contract and delivered the team’s pep talk before they faced off against Atlanta United FC, KTVU reported.

Coronado, who has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments, was present for the coin toss and kicked the ceremonial first goal before the team lost 4-3 in front of the home crowd. Still, the night meant more to Coronado and her family than stats.

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“It’s a soccer dream come true,” she told KTVU. “It’s really exciting. I’ve never done this before.”

Coronado said the encouragement she heard from the players helped lift her spirits, especially when they called her a “warrior.”

“I don’t think anyone wants to think, ‘Is my daughter going to be here tomorrow?’” Miriam Villanueva, the girl’s mother, told KTVU. “Seeing Destinee recover from a cancer bed to now smiling, dancing, talking and walking out with the Earthquakes – it’s unexplainable.”

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Coronado, whose night was made possible through the Austen Everett Foundation, said that she wants to focus on helping other kids with illnesses find joy.

“I think there’s a couple of lessons that we could learn having met her and understanding the courage it took to stand up against an illness and show how strong she is,” Jesse Fioranelli, the team’s general manager, told the news outlet.