MILTON, Mass. – On Tuesday, October 30, the Curry College men's soccer team could be found traversing through the Student Center dressed head to toe in pirate garb, with their newest team member Mateo Sodano. Mateo joined the men's soccer team this fall through Team IMPACT, a national non-profit that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes.
Mateo is 15 years old and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy shortly after he was born. Mateo's family turned his wheelchair into the SS Mateo, a pirate ship complete with a soccer skeleton flag, cannons shooting soccer balls, and of course the Colonel logo.
Members of the men's soccer team dressed as pirates aboard Captain Mateo's vessel. A national Halloween photo contest, put on by Team IMPACT, inspired the members to take pictures for the contest, and even did a few laps through the Student Center handing out candy in the Halloween spirit.
On Friday, the team received the Team IMPACT "Staff's Choice" award. One of only two awards, with the other going to the University of Oregon baseball team winning "Most Likes on Social Media".
Senior Captain Brandon Duhaime said, "It's unbelievable to win the Team IMPACT Photo Contest, but even better was seeing the smile on Mateo's face throughout the night. Having Mateo and the entire Sodano family join our Soccer family this fall is much bigger than college soccer, it's an absolute honor."
With a record number of participants, and competing against much larger Colleges and Universities, the Colonels did not expect to be in the position to win. "We wanted to do something fun for Mateo and just submit something we thought was creative," junior Brandon Rinaldi (Watertown, Conn.) said. "To win is such cool honor for Mateo and the squad."