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Futbol Club helps Manteca families with cancer battle
Manteca Futbol Club board members Manuel Pires, Joe Pires, David Hastings and Kevin Crain pose with Destiny Herrera (center left) and Ethan (center right), each a recipient of a $4,517 check from the youth soccer organization. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Manteca Futbol Club scored major points with families outside of its soccer circle over the weekend.

One year after helping the family of MFC player Riley Simmons, the youth organization looked beyond its roster for a family in need. They found two. 

On Saturday, during the tryouts at Woodward Park, board members and coaches presented two local families with checks worth $4,517. 

One of the recipients was Destiny Herrera, a 10-year-old home-schooled fifth-grader. Herrera was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in May 2012 and has spent the last 20 months drumming up support and awareness for childhood cancers.

The other check was awarded to 6-year-old Ethan, a first grader with the Manteca Unified School District. Ethan, whose family asked that his last name not be released, has been undergoing treatment for an inoperable brain tumor.

“To be in a moment like this, to see the results when you donate to families that really need it… it’s not just about the money,” said MFC Administrator Manuel Pires said. “It’s about praying for them and being there. 

“When they see that support, they’re pretty blown away. They were shocked. Both families were very thankful for receiving support with their situations.”

The money was generated from the club’s Riley Simmons 6v6 Shootout earlier this month. 

The tournament was created last year to benefit its namesake – Riley Simmons, a member of the under-10 Benfica girls soccer team. Simmons was diagnosed with brain cancer.

The club presented the Simmons family with a check for more than $10,000 to help with living costs and/or medical expenses while the youngest Simmons underwent treatment at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. 

Pires said the club and its leadership feel blessed to be in a position to help families in need. 

“For us, for our club, our coaches and our families, we have great support. It’s amazing how they came together and put the work together to help these families,” Pires said. “It was a team effort.”

“It’s an important thing for us to help families in our community. We started this with a family that was involved in soccer, but these families aren’t involved. We felt they needed the help, and as a board, we decided to keep it going.”

Support came from far and wide.

Thirty-five teams participated in the Shootout and a local vendor donated the food. MFC family members collected donations for a raffle, including San Jose Shark tickets and baskets with assorted gifts. 

Simmons even made a cameo appearance. She participated in a ceremonious kick-off during one of Benfica’s matches. 

“It was a beautiful day,” Pires said.