UMBC men’s soccer team came from behind to trump American University 4-1 in a great game during the fifth installment of the ‘Kicks for Chase’ charity event to benefit children with Down Syndrome. The game was played at Retriever Soccer Park on April 8, and organized by the Arc Northern Chesapeake Region. The quality of soccer on display, outstanding crowd turnout, an epic halftime show and game souvenirs however did not overshadow the main reason for the event: honoring Chase Bugarin, who passed away at birth five years ago.
Chase Bugarin was well represented at this event. Before the game, souvenirs including Kicks for Chase T-shirts (all of which were sold) and notebooks were available for sale at concession stands.
Chase’s parents, UMBC alums Amy and Brian ’95, could not attend the event, but Sean Cross, the CEO of the Arc NCR, was in attendance. She exclaimed pride in running a company that helps all people with disabilities live the best lives they can and her gratitude to UMBC for their ‘tremendous’ support. Cross said of the event:
“I am [surprised by the turnout]. We’ve had a great turnout,” said Cross.” “The crowd has doubled and I think the proceeds have doubled from last year. The Arc NCR helps children and adults live, work and play in the community. [We help them through] foster care programs, employment programs and our supported living program.”
As for the game, UMBC had the better of the chances in the early stages of the game but it was American who broke the deadlock against the run of play. American junior Jack Dickens got free and slotted a strike into the bottom right corner in the 26th minute to give his team the lead.
But UMBC’s Retrievers barked back and tied the game only two minutes later with a cool finish from freshman Colin Weyant. UMBC could not make their dominance count before halftime though.
In the second half, UMBC took total control of the game and in the 50th minute, a cross from junior Sammy Kasai found sophomore James Gielen at the back post to score. They then extended their lead to 4-1 with a brace from freshman Tre Pulliam. At the full time whistle, American trudged off the pitch to their team coach, soundly beaten.
“I thought we played much better in the second half, more like UMBC teams of the past,” said Pete Caringi, head coach of the men’s soccer team. First half, I was disappointed, but it’s still a young group and I think it’s a good result for us.”
“[The growth of the team] is a long process and spring games are all about evaluating players… and correcting mistakes. They have to feel good about getting four goals on this field. [Kicks for Chase] is a great event … a great crowd, one of our former players Bryan Bugarin, it’s his son Chase, but more important that we are all here for a good cause, …the sportsmanship between both teams was tremendous. Bryan is always part of our family and we felt like we had to do this for him.”
No doubt young Chase is looking down from heaven smiling at the success of this event.