NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) — The Belmont University Men’s soccer team is showing the importance of playing with heart both on and off the field.
They developed a relationship with a young man with health challenges and are not letting COVID-19 get in the way of their goals.
“It’s great to have people like that in my life,” said Josh Miner, who battles epilepsy and immune deficiency.
Head Coach David Costa said when Team Impact reached out for a partnership with Josh they were immediately on board. The organization matches college athletic teams with children facing serious and chronic illnesses through a therapeutic program that compliments their medical treatments.
“Most of the team now has interacted and tried to establish that relationship because in the end I think that’s what’s lasting about this experience,” Coach Costa said.
Before COVID, Josh and his mom Alyssa got a campus tour similar to one for a recruit. The team also planned a “signing day” for Josh before the tornado and COVID-19 shut down everything. But, the partnership did not end.
“People like JP and Chicco (Niccolo Dagnoni) – great guys, I mean.. JP is always setting up Zoom calls no matter what it be,” said Josh.
Team members said they also benefit from the partnership.
“As a result of COVID and everything, our face to face interactions with Josh have been hindered but for me I think there’s definitely been a silver lining in all the madness and I think it’s impacted our team in a positive manner,” said Junior Midfielder JP Armbruster.
The players also helped raised money for Team Impact during a virtual 5K this Fall.
“Just him being able to see the interaction between the guys and what friendship really means,” said Graduate Manager and Director of Operations Robert DeWitt.
It’s an experience Josh’s mom is grateful for as well.
“Just seeing the excitement and the happiness that it brings Josh has just been incredible especially now when he’s so isolated. These guys have been a shining light for him and it’s just been incredible,” said Alyssa Miner.