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.
I have all the respect in the world for the Timbers in doing this for Atticus. Anybody, but especially a kid his age, that fights Cancer is a courageous hero in my book. If anybody deserves a day this special, this young man does. My hats off to Portland. Both the community for coming out in force to support this brave, unselfish young man, and the team for making his wish come true. I don’t tear up very often, but Im not ashamed to admit that this whole story brought tears to my eyes. A+ to Atticus, and A+ to the Timbers.
I went there to support Atticus, but I have not been able to stop thinking about what an awesome event it was all day. First, the unselfish gesture by Atticus to ask for something that would include his teammates, and then by the community for coming out, literally, in droves to show their support. When I arrived at Jeld Wen the line was around the corner and it had every bit the enthusiasm of a Timbers game. Once we got inside it was just insane! The Timbers Army, excuse me, Green Machine Army, was in full effect with drums, horns, flags and, of course, full throated support of the Green Machine. From the color guard to the National Anthem to the presentation of the slabs at the end, it was a fantastic day! One that I will not soon forget.
Over 3000 people attended today’s game. I can’t be any prouder of my team, my town and the Timbers Army. A spectacular thing to be a part of. It’s why we (I mean the collective “we” as football supporters) support. It’s more than just the a club…isn’t it?
See pictures and learn more at the Timbers facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151578699502236&set=a.10151578698377236.1073741840.182844932235&type=1&relevant_count=3
Cheers for all the support!
From a New England Revolution fan … major major credit to the Timbers org and their fans. This is a phenomenal story. I see he even scored four goals today, so great for Atticus (and Green Machine, of course).
Makes me prouder to be an MLS fan.
I am a HUGE Sounders fan…Portland is a bunch of rivals that I have been raised to look at with a competitive attitude…But this event. I have nothing but respect for the Timbers for performing such an act. Scarves up for Atticus! Do some work against those timbers buddy!
This is one on the best stories I have read in a long time. As a Sounders fan I poke fun at the Timbers when I can, but I have to give credit where credit is due. And the fact that the Timbers Army will be there to give the kids a true MLS experience in even better. Well done Timbers and well done Timbers Army!
Headed out there soon. Why not, I’ve got the time and want to cheer on a kiddo that loves footy as much as I do.
Very nice and heartwarming indeed.
Heard from a cousin who works near the stadium that the Army is already lining up – At 6:55 AM.
I’m taking a long lunch and kids out of school for this event. Make-A-Wish is such a great organization, and can’t wait to cheer on GMFC. They are going all out with this. Scarves made for the Green Machine… Tifo from the TA… Impressive efforts by all involved. As a supporter of Make-A-Wish, and a STH, I humbly and sincerely thank you.
“Heard from a cousin who works near the stadium that the Army is already lining up – At 6:55 AM.”
That… is just too much. lol
Hope they provide video or highlights! What a fantastic gesture by Portland!
Merritt Paulson already has stated there will be highlights posted on the Timbers’s website
I stand up and applaud. What an amazing gesture and a top class organization.
Excellent, The young lads will have a blast, good on the Portland Timbers and the Timbers Army to make this wish come trua and have a ‘Stellar Event’
Cheers from Toronto
We hope the Green Machine game is all Atticus wishes it will be. Conall’s wish back in 2011 to take his friends to a Timbers’ game touched more people than he could ever have imagined and now we all are RCID. Go Green Machine! Go Timbers! Thank you Make A Wish and Timbers!
And we are skipping work and school to cheer on the teams. Shhhhhh ….. don’t tell anyone … Seriously, it’s all good – who wouldn’t let kids out of school and employees out of work for this!
Sorry – RCTID!!
As others have said, this is pure class on the part of the Timbers and the Army, and presumably also the city if they are the stadium owners. Not to be opportunistic about what seems to be a genuinely altruistic act, but it would be great if the team and the league get some major PR out of it too.
This is heartwarming and amazing—just another reason Portland is the best.
yes when it comes to soccer, all other cities must bow in respect to Portland. The best in the biz – no doubt
Give ’em hell Green Machine.
I’m a member of the Green Machine. I’m excited to shake Nagbe’s hand tomorrow. Atticus is a really awesome player. I hope he has fun.
That’s awesome, Oscar! I wish you all the best. Give Atticus a high five for me.
Portland always seems to get it right.
Be honest, all is going good for them this year. Not so much the past 2 years. Very classy gesture this is though.
Expect the Timbers Army to bring it’s A-game just like we do for league matches with all the same passion…except we are Atticus’s Army for a day.
Atticus’s Army— dang you keep making this better and better!
I don’t know exactly what to expect tomorrow at Jeld-Wen, but I’m really hoping that the number of fans in the stadium is shockingly high.
Awesome stuff. Reminds me of the cooperation between teams to make this happen for a retiring player – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29-yhzCcutc
Dude. Thanks for the link Chris. Watching that may have made my eyes well up like a school girl with a lost puppy while sitting here eating lunch at my office desk (in a manly way of course). I was just hoping no one would stop by.
Cheers to the love being shown by the Timbers organization and supporters, Well done from up the road in Seattle!
Hahaha, our lunches sound way too similar.
Someone stop cutting onions in here.
This is really impressive.
Obviously when make-a-wish comes calling, you grant the wish, but the way that the Timbers and seemingly the supporters groups have gone above and beyond what was expected.
Granting not just his wish, but also the wish for his teammates to be there. Having it at Jeld-Wen instead of the practice facility, and the attempts to bring a crowd out is just awesome.
I don’t have a “favorite” MLS team, but it’s great to see the league go to such lengths to really be a part of the community.
Bravo Timbers (both organization and fans)
Tifo and signs, and we will be out in force. No seemingly about it, TA is all in.
Wow awesome for those kids
From an ECS member to your north, much Props!
“El futbol es del pueblo”–Futbol belongs to the people, great job on taking care of one of your precious own!
So how many Sounder’s fans are making the trip down just to root against Portland?
Oh, man! I wish I were a retired person! I would totally do that drive.
Great job, Timbers + army. Scarves up!
Well done Timbers…very classy.
I hope they don’t take it easy on the kid. I want them to go at a 100%. Slide tackling, diving, muscleing off the ball, etc.
Ha! I took some flack on Twitter when that kid scored a touchdown against Nebraska and I tweeted “They’re not even TRYING to tackle him!” so I appreciate this bit of snark.
But what an awesome thing for the Timbers and their fans to do. Seriously classy, the rest of the league tips its hat to you.
Perhaps they can raze him in a chant or song.
Or really “razz”.
Maybe they can bring back Dema Kovalenko for this one game.
Or Vinnie Jones.
Fantastic! Go Timber’s Army – sing loud and proud for this young man.
Pure class. This kind of true community spirit differentiates us from the other major leagues that phone it in.
I hope fans come out in droves.
Over 1000 people have indicated on the Facebook event page that they are attending, so the turnout should be pretty good.
My guess is that they will get about 2-3k people. The Timbers Army is throwing a lot of support behind this.