This story is also archived on the men's soccer team pages.
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams College men's soccer team recently welcomed its newest teammate when it drafted Zac Daniels, a Williamstown native, through Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate, Play Against Challenges, Together) in a ceremony at the College. The men's soccer team is the first Williams athletic program to sign a player through Team IMPACT, although men's ice hockey is already preparing a signing day and others are on deck.
Zac, who will turn 11 on October 15th, was born with a rare life threatening birth defect that has left him with multiple chronic health conditions and years of specialists, tests, procedures, medications, as a way of life. Joining the Williams men's soccer team has given him a boost to continue tp rehabilitate and the opportunity to learn what it is like to be a part of a team.
The leadership team of the men's soccer team includes captains Pete Christman and Matt Ratajczak along with Dan Lima, Peter Morrell, Andrew Bravo, Andres Burbank-Crump, Chris Conder, Michael Madding, Nathan Miller and Luke Pierce. The group will help Zac acclimate to his new team and have already started to plan some team activities.
| Zac with Eph captain Matt Ratajczak
"I am incredibly humbled and grateful that this group of young men would come alongside my son and be willing to invest in him, encourage him, inspire him, and simply goof around with him," Zac's mother Melanie, commented. "Just knowing someone has your back in times of trial can be so empowering. Zac now knows he'll have 25 big brothers who have his back."
The team has already given Zac his own Williams jersey (No. 23) and a locker in the team locker room with his name on it, along with a team banner signed by every student-athlete in the program and several Williams' mugs. In the future, Zac will have an opportunity to be a regular on the sidelines at the Ephs' home games, while also attending practices from time-to-time.
On Tuesday, October 2, Zac and the rest of his family, mom Melanie, father Peter and sisters Ava and Quinn, were on the Williams campus for his "signing" day, where he received the signed banner, jersey, mugs, and toured the locker room with captains Ratajczak and Christman.
"Today gave me the best feeling ever to be a part of this team and be on a team with these guys," Zac said.
Team IMPACT is a non-profit organization chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and other chronic illnesses. Across the northeast it creates unparalleled team based support systems. Core to their model is harnessing the power of teamwork by matching these courageous kids with college athletic teams. Team IMPACT children are drafted onto local college athletic teams and become an official member of the team for the duration of their treatment and beyond.
Team IMPACT encourages families of children who might benefit from a relationship with a team to reach out at www.goteamimpact.org.