Beloit, WI -- Isla Lentz, a six-year-old from Rockton, Illinois, who is battling cystic fibrosis, officially joined the Beloit College Women’s Soccer team Wednesday during a special Signing Day, initiated by Team IMPACT, in the lobby of the Sports Center.
Lentz was joined at the front table by her parents, Pete and Amanda, Women’s Soccer player Courtney Ceurvorst, and Buccaneer Soccer Head Coach Nick Chapman. A large crowd, including the entire Women’s Soccer team, was in attendance in the front rows in addition to many other Beloit Athletics student-athletes, coaches and staff members and numerous college executives and staff.
"It's a privilege for our team to welcome Isla," said Chapman, who completed his third season last Fall. "The team has fallen in love with her. She was shy early on but as time went by she really came out of her shell. I think she’ll have an even bigger impact in 2016. It’s been great for everyone to get to know her.”
"She's an eye-opener for the team,” continued Chapman. “It’s so good for the players to learn and understand what kids like her have to deal with, day in and day out. It’s a whole different world. But they’ve welcomed her like one of their own. As a team we always talk about doing things for others. I’m proud of the team accepting her like they have.”
The Bucs were introduced to Isla through Team IMPACT, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team. Team IMPACT children are drafted onto college athletic teams, local to where they live, and to the greatest extent possible, become a member of the team from Signing Day through to Graduation.
"It’s great having Isla as a member of our team,” said Ceurvorst, a freshman from Arvada, Colorado, who’ll begin her second season with the Bucs in the Fall. “We all look at the team as a network of support. Now Isla will be a part of that network, both giving and receiving support. She's brought so much light and joy to us throughout the last season and we always enjoy seeing and getting to know her and her family better."
Isla enjoys not only Soccer but also Dance and Gymnastics. She loves dance music and her favorite food is pizza. She also prefers dogs to cats, evidenced by having two dogs at home.
Pete and Amanda are thrilled with the connection to the Women’s Soccer team. "The whole thing is great,” said Pete. “It means a lot to Isla and to us too.”
“She was so nervous for today,” said Amanda. “Actually it is a little overwhelming. But she loosened up when she saw the team. I can’t thank them enough.”
Isla, presented with a small team jersey plus other team-wear, will have her headshot on the Women’s Soccer team web page and will also be listed in game programs.
Established in 2011, Team IMPACT has already matched over 850 children with collegiate teams at over 300 institutions in 45 states, improving the quality of life of hundreds of courageous children and touching the lives of over 25,000 student athletes.
For more information go to GoTeamImpact.org.