BY MIKE DONOVAN
When eight-year-old Atticus was given the chance to have any wish granted, all he wanted to do was have a chance to play soccer with his friends.
That wish will come true Wednesday thanks to Make-A-Wish Oregon and the Portland Timbers when Atticus and his team, the Green Machine, will take on the Timbers in a match at Jeld-Wen Field.
Atticus missed the end of his team’s season in the fall due to getting treatment for cancer. The cancer was first discovered after he experienced pain while playing for the team. And when given the opportunity, Atticus wanted to make sure his teammates got to enjoy his wish with him.
“The concept of a scrimmage came about through his love of soccer. When Make-A-Wish wish granters met with the family, they talked about a few options – going on a trip, getting a computer, or meeting a celebrity,” said Tracey Lam, who is the Communications Manager for Make-A-Wish Oregon. “But in the end, Atticus wanted a wish that would include his buddies from his soccer team, The Green Machine, because they were there for him throughout his cancer treatment. This scrimmage allows him to do just that – have his team be part of the wish.”
When the scrimmage does take place, it won’t take place at the Timbers suburban practice facility. Portland’s MLS club has opened the gates of Jeld-Wen Field for the 11:30 a.m. matchup.
The Green Machine will take on Timbers players and coaches in the match which is expected to be played in front of numerous members of the Timbers Army. Commemorative scarfs have been made for the match and will be handed out to the first 100 fans.
“We expect the atmosphere to be magical on Wednesday,” Lam said. “We are looking forward to having so many people be a part of a wish-come-true, and our grateful for the opportunity to share with the community the power of a wish.”
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter and assistant Sean McAuley will be the coaches for the special event.
“It is an honor to team up with Make-A-Wish and to be a part of this special wish for Atticus,” said Porter. “We are excited to see The Green Machine take the field at JELD-WEN Field and help create special memories for this young man.”
According to Lam, this will be the first time Make-A-Wish Oregon the organization has ever granted a wish that involved a game against a professional sports team. The wish also has the largest amount of community involvement and interest that the Oregon chapter has ever had.
Lam credits the Timbers with all their help in making Atticus’ wish come true.
“They’ve gone above and beyond and we are extremely grateful to the Portland Timbers for all they have done to make Atticus’ wish extra special,” Lam said.
In addition to the scrimmage, Atticus and his family will be on hand Thursday when the Timbers take on the New England Revolution at Jeld-Wen Field.
This is not the first time the Portland Timbers have worked with Make-A-Wish Oregon.
In 2011, the club gave 19-year-old Conall McLeod a two-day wish that included the chance to practice with the team, gave him a personalized locker in the locker room and took him on a VIP tour of Jeld-Wen Field. McLeod also received tickets to a match, where he led the Timbers Army in a chant from the capo stand and held up a log slice with Kenny Cooper during the postgame festivities.