Soccer teams lose to Menlo High School on Kicks Against Cancer

February 6, 2016

The junior varsity boys, varsity girls and varsity boys soccer teams lost to the Menlo Knights 0-2, 0-3 and 1-4 respectively yesterday during the annual Kicks Against Cancer event.

Preceded by Cantilena singing the national anthem, the JV boys started their game at 3 p.m.

Following their 0-2 loss, the varsity girls team presented four visiting Camp Okizu families with a check of $1,500 to support children with cancer before beginning their game.

While Menlo was able to score three goals the first half, the girls were able to strengthen their defense the second half, not allowing the Knights to score a single goal.

“I thought the second half was considerably better, we were much more organized, a little more resilient, a little more physical, and matched up a little better with the other team, hence the score being 0-0,” coach Iman Siadat said. “I thought In the first half we gave up all three goals off corner kicks, defensive set plays and we really need to work on that.”

After the girls’ game, the varsity boys faced off against the Knights’ varsity team after another round of the Butts Up game.

Sparsh Chauhan (10), a member of the varsity boys team, scored the only goal of the night in the first half of their game, which ended with a score of 1-2. The boys allowed two more goals in the second half to end the game and triple-header against Menlo.

The girls now prepare to play against King’s Academy on Feb. 9 as the boys face Crystal Springs on Feb. 10.

The tradition continues

The upper school soccer teams hosted the annual Kicks Against Cancer event on Davis field yesterday after school.

Money fundraised by and donated to the event will send five families to Camp Okizu, an organization that provides support and activities for children with cancer and their families. This year, the girls varsity soccer team presented the families with a check for 1500 dollars before their game.

“I think it’s great to see somebody at the high school level supporting the cause for cancer, because cancer is something that a lot of families don’t experience firsthand,” Louie Leu, a parent in the Camp Okizu program, said. “We’re really grateful that you guys do this. It’s really for the kids.”

Members of the soccer team met with the families from Camp Okizu last month for dinner.

“Seeing all these children [and] the fact that they’ve had cancer and they’re persevering through and they always have a smile on their face really inspired me,” Anuva Mittal (11), co-captain of the girls varsity team, said. “I’m really excited for them to watch our game and to have them in the stands cheering us on.”

Five students from the class of 2010 founded Kicks Against Cancer event in their senior year as a fundraiser for breast cancer programs at the South Bay American Red Cross.

“[The students] knew I wanted our team and our program to do something related to community service,” Troy Thiele, math teacher and former girls’ soccer coach said. “I shared [an] idea [my college had done] with this group of students, and they thought that they wanted to do something like that at Harker.”

In 2011, the soccer teams decided to donate profits to Camp Okizu by sponsoring specific children and families, an annual tradition which has continued until today. The students running the event heard of Camp Okizu through the middle school’s annual Cancer Walk, founded by computer science teacher Michael Schmidt.

“We were able to see the benefit for specific young children, so that made a world of difference too, when you could show a video to the student body of a specific kid who was either suffering from cancer or had a sibling suffering from cancer and how they really wanted to go to Camp Okizu,” Troy Thiele said.

Students on the soccer team played, especially team captains, a more significant role in preparing for the event than in previous years.

“Last year there was a lot of student-run events within Kicks such as the pizza party, but that was about it. Everything else went through the adults,” Maile Chung (11), co-captain of the girls varsity team, said. “This year it was more of all the captains of the soccer teams working together and trying to reach out to as many people as we could. It was a new experience for all of us just to take on that new leadership role, and it was a great experience.”

As in previous years, the soccer teams sold t-shirts and baked goods to fundraise. They also held raffles for gift cards, a Neiman Marcus handbag, Sharks tickets, candy and more, where each raffle ticket cost one dollar.

“I think the biggest challenge was trying to get donations from people because we have a raffle but not as many people were willing to donate some things,” Maile said. “It was kind of hard, so we had to talk to a lot of outside Harker people and [try] to get sports tickets and everything.”

Maile said one of her goals for next year’s event is expanding their merchandising base to include scarves, socks and more of everyday clothing.

Another fundraising activity, Butts Up, gave anyone who donated $1.50 the opportunity to kick a soccer ball at teachers during halftime. The faculty who volunteered included Dr. Victor Adler, Dr. Miriam Allersma, Dr. David Casso, Juston Glass, Dr. Matthew Harley, Eric Kallbrier, Robbie Korin, Diana Moss and Jaron Olson.

“I had a plan, and that was to stand next to Dr. Koodanjeri, and as the ball came towards me, I would hide behind her,” Casso said. “But she got sick, and I am really scared because I have no one to hide behind. Since Dr. Koodanjeri is out, my backup plan is to stand next to Mr. Korin and hide by him.”

In the first Butts Up opportunity, during the break between the boys JV and the girls varsity game, the teachers escaped relatively unscathed with only a few being hit softly in the legs.

“[Taking the shot] was fun, but I made a field goal, not a soccer goal,” Sumer Kohli (10) said. Sumer, a member of the boys JV soccer team, and several his teammates took shots at the teachers, but the shots went over the crossbar, outside the goal or through teachers’ legs.

Camp Okizu’s first session for campers will be held from June 13-19, and the first session for siblings will take place from June 20-26. Visit for more information.

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