Coach O’s Off-Field Battle with Cancer
Soccer unites our planet with a shared passion for the beautiful game, and now is the time to show that unity as a community comes together to support a former World Cup player turned beloved youth soccer coach who is battling lung cancer. Cancer is a terrifying disease and hard for anyone to battle but especially an athlete who is used to being at their best physically. Here is your chance to make a difference and help someone fight cancer.
Youth Soccer News: As you might have heard, one of San Diego’s most beloved youth soccer coaches, Coach O, is battling cancer. A few of her colleagues at San Diego Soccer Club (SDSC) started a Go Fund Me page a month ago and have raised $150,000 to date, but the fundraising efforts are far from over. Coach O was recently diagnosed with cancer in both lungs and treatment is very expensive.
“It’s amazing — the support is coming from everywhere but we need more,” said Raffi Ruotolo, SDSC Director of Coaching: Older Girls.
“Coach O has given so much to the game and every little donation will help,” said Brian Quinn, former San Diego Sockers star player and SDSC Director of Coaching – Younger Boys.
“$5 will go a long way as she has accumulated so many medical bills.”
“I remember when she played for the San Diego Spirit and was one of the top players back when the team played in WUSA, the Women’s United Soccer Association. The team played at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego back in the early 2000’s,” said Quinn.
Born Zhang Ouying, Coach O is a highly accomplished world-class soccer player who played for her Chinese National Team in the 1999, 2003, and 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. A former Olympian, Coach O also played in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.
Coach O’s disease is very serious, and she is determined to fight but needs everyone’s help.
The community rallied on June 7 at Cathedral Catholic High School at a match between San Diego SeaLions and So Cal Union. Nearly 2,000 people attended the match and at halftime, there was a special Friends of Coach O game to raise awareness.
The community support has been strong but the goal of raising funds continues.
Coach O has a lot of reasons to fight — besides her family, she has thousands of youth soccer players as part of her extended family.
Since coming to the United States in 2006, she has been a devoted coach and mentor in assisting kids and young adults at Poway High School, Mesa College, San Diego Futbol Academy and beginning in 2010 at San Diego Soccer Club.
Coach O and her family require everyone’s assistance to mount the strongest possible struggle and gain remission.
The medical bills are mounting already and we all know that fighting this disease can be overwhelming. Her husband, Edde Iott, and their two children Flynn and Elynn need our help to easing of the financial pain of the fight.
Even a small donation will go a long way in letting them focus solely on aiding mom in her battle. Please help. GoFundMe.
This article has been updated.