CONCORD -- At Saturday's Kicks for Cancer event, Wakefield lost to Lexington, 3-1, in a boys' soccer game. But it wasn't the result that mattered most to Warriors coach Matt Angelo.
Angelo's father, Mike, was diagnosed with cancer six years ago. And to the Angelo family, it's the participation in the event that was founded seven years ago to fundraiser for cancer research that matters to Wakefield's coach.
"It's my favorite game of the season," said Angelo, who is in his second year as varsity coach of the Warriors' boys soccer team.
"It's a great event. It's just so special here, and the kids love it. It definitely teaches them those life lessons that you want to teach them as a coach."
Since Angelo took over the reigns as varsity coach, the Warriors have worn the name "Angelo" on the back of their jerseys at the Kicks for Cancer event. Angelo wears "Dad" on the back of his shirt.
"This is the second year in a row our team has decided to wear 'Angelo' on the back, which is so special for me. It's a really nice thing for these guys to do, to honor my father like that.
"You can really see the motivation in the kids. They're playing for something different. They're not just playing for a 'W.' They're playing for everyone who has had a battle with cancer."
With his dad standing next to him, Angelo spoke about how he feels on this day each year.
"It's a super emotional day for me," said Angelo. "It's almost like soccer is secondary at this event. It's my favorite day of the year."
Mike Angelo explained the struggle his family went through after his diagnosis and how much the Kicks for Cancer event means to him.
"When I first was diagnosed six years ago, it was tough," said Mike Angelo. "It was tough for my family and stuff. But when I see things like this -- I've known these kids since they were younger, since I worked in the middle school.
"To see something like this two years in a row, it just takes my breath away. I try that much harder that I'm going to beat it and see them much longer after this is gone. It's a good thing, because I know it's out of respect."
And seeing his son on the sidelines coaching the Warriors makes the day that much more special.
"It's just unbelievable," said Mike Angelo. "I've know he's wanted to coach for a long time, and to see the kids respond to him, and how he responds to them - it just means so much. I'm just so proud of them all.
"It's like they're all my own kids."
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