UFV men’s soccer set for summer

The first weekend of June is shaping up to be a big one for the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team.

On Saturday, June 4, the Cascades are hosting their annual fundraising dinner at The Rancho (35110 DeLair Road, Abbotsford). The event will feature a buffet, cash bar, raffle, toonie toss and silent auction. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the buffet will be served at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person and must be purchased in advance from a Cascade player or from head coach Tom Lowndes (Thomas.Lowndes@ufv.ca). All proceeds go towards student-athlete scholarships.

The next day (Sunday, June 5), the UFV men’s soccer team reconvenes for the Abbotsford Gutsy Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis. It’s the third straight year they’ve been involved in the event, and they do so in support of teammate James Najman.

Najman was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 11, and overcame long odds to play university soccer. The fourth-year Cascades forward has long been active in raising funds to help find a cure for inflammatory bowel diseases, and in 2014, he served as honourary chair of the Abbotsford Gutsy Walk.

The UFV men’s soccer team supports Najman’s efforts by fundraising for and participating in the walk, and by volunteering to lead the warm-up and help with set-up and tear-down on the day of the event. They’re encouraging the public to donate online to their “UFV Athletics” team at gutsywalk.ca, and to consider registering or volunteering for the local event.

Abbotsford is one of 60-plus cities across Canada which will host a Gutsy Walk on June 5. The local event is a 2.5-kilometre walk around Mill Lake, convening at Trethewey House (2313 Ware St.). Registration opens at 9 a.m., with warm-up set for 9:45 a.m. and the walk beginning at 10 a.m. Money raised will go to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada to fund the continuing search for a cure, along with patient programs and advocacy.

“It’s going to be a busy weekend for our team, but it will be exciting to see our players connect with the community at these two events,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes said. “I’m particularly proud of how we’re establishing an annual tradition of volunteering for the Gutsy Walk, which is a very worthy cause.”