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The Seattle Sounders Welcome a New Player: Xander

“ It's been a life-changing experience. ”

- Xander, wish recipient

A hospital room is not where Xander feels strong. In fact, it’s not where any of the 400 children currently awaiting their wishes feel strong.

Wearing a machine vest that shakes his chest twice a day and taking enzymes every time he eats helps to prolong his life, but it’s not what gets him out of bed in the morning. Xander is battling cystic fibrosis, but his condition does not define his life.

Soccer is his life

For the past 10 years, Xander has played, lived and dreamed about soccer. Above all else, Xander loves the Seattle Sounders.

So, Xander made a wish to be a Seattle Sounders FC player for a day.

Xander watch: welcome the new draftee

With help from Seattle Sounders FC,thousands of Sounders fans and Make-A-Wish supporters, Xander’s wish came true during a whirlwind two days in Seattle.

After being officially signed as a midfielder, Xander spent the first day training with his new teammates and fielding questions from the media. Xander even had his own locker with his name right next to his hero’s, Clint Dempsey. 

A moment can last a lifetime

Every step of his wish was a surprise to Xander, but nothing compared to the Sounders’ game day against Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League. 

As Xander walked out onto CenturyLink Field with his teammates, he heard the roar of the crowd echo his name. More than 50,000 people waved his number in the air and called out to the new player. He took his place in the starting line-up as cheers from the green-and-blue crowd grew louder and louder. Moments after the starting whistle, he was already making his way up the field for the first shot on goal.

“Xan-der! Xan-der!” the crowd chanted, rising into a standing ovation. The new midfielder subbed off as the other Sounders players and coaches crowded around to congratulate him, and the big screens in the arena flashed his name and number. 

This is where Xander felt strong. This is where Xander felt happy, loved and celebrated. In this moment—made possible by tens of thousands of fans, a few generous teammates and countless donors and supporters like you.

“I just want to say thank you,” said Xander. “It’s really meant a lot to me, and it’s been a life-changing experience.”

Every day, we work to create unique, unforgettable wishes for seriously-ill children like Xander, but we can’t do it alone. Your support will help create a lifetime of magical memories for these children and their families. Right now, about 400 children are waiting for a wish and that's just the beginning. Every year, one in four seriously-ill children in our community does not receive a wish because of a lack of funding. In other words, we can't grant a wish to all the children who qualify because we don't have the money or the capacity.

Donate in honor of Xander's wish

  • Xander has lived, dreamed and breathed soccer his entire life.
    © Photo courtesy of Hero Creative.

  • The Sounders FC made Xander a part of the team.
    © Photo courtesy of Hero Creative.

  • Xander spends quality time with his hero, Clint Dempsey.

  • You can help wishes like Xander's come true by donating today.
    © Photo courtesy of Hero Creative.

I just want to say thank you. It's really meant a lot to me. ”

— Xander, 18

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