Soccer comes together in support of head coach

Kris Long, Staff Writer

Hashtags, fundraisers and playing for a purpose were tributes the Manhattan High soccer team and their families used to support head coach Frank Alonso in his battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer.  Many players and fans were very disheartened by the discovery but the soccer team took the tragic news under their wing and ran with it.

The boys began coming up with different hashtags to remind themselves of what they were now fighting for. They began using the phrases “Fight for Frank”  and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with the hashtag #YNWA. They wore purple warm ups themed their games purple to signify the fight for cancer.

“We’re sad for the tragedy, but also, in a way it’s been motivating us more, giving us a bigger reason to fight than just winning state,” senior Logan Englehorn said.

They immediately started doing many different things to fundraise for Alonso’s cause.

Mitzi Frieling, mother of sophomore player Colton Frieling, set up a GoFundMe account, where many soccer players and their families were quick to pitch in. They retweeted and posted on their Snapchat stories to spread the word for funding. The page raised $45,155 for Alonso in just 21 days, as well as getting many comments showing the multitude of people who were supporting him.

The soccer team also decided to contribute on their own. They quickly made bracelets that said “DO IT FOR FRANK” and sold them for $3 during the week.

Even more than selling bracelets, the team assisted senior Rafael Cuevas and his family set up an a stand where they sold homemade Mexican food.

“… My family is really good at is making food, authentic Mexican food,” Cuevas said. “We sold all the food we can make and whatever we made…goes straight on to Frank.”

People could also buy $5 raffle tickets to win a seven-day resort vacation and other smaller prizes. All proceeds made that day, regardless of how the team made it, were all sent to aid Alonso and his family.

Soccer wasn’t the only sport donating though. At Friday’s football game senior Haleigh Harper’s family and 2018 graduate Jalin Harper sold hot chocolate at a booth.

Other teams around the area also helped out, some even donated gate fees from their games. Shawnee Heights gave the soccer team bracelets and Garden City posed for a picture even after being beat 4-0 to show their support.

“I think it shows how the soccer communities and communities around here are like, everyone’s helpful. If there’s a bigger cause, then we’ll just put away arguments like rivalries,” Englehorn said. “I mean, it just gives us more support and motivates us further as well knowing we have more teams behind us.”

The boys said they used their struggles as motivation to succeed through the season, which they dedicated to their coach.

“[I’d tell him] that I love him,” senior Cole Herpich said, “and that we did this for him.”