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10/13/2012 4:37:00 PM
UP women's soccer team wins Spirit of Portland award
University of Portland photo
Pilots at Harper's Playground groundbreaking.
University of Portland photo
Pilots at Harper's Playground groundbreaking.

The University of Portland women’s soccer team has been named a recipient of a 2012 Spirit of Portland award, joining 18 other individuals and organizations that “have helped make Portland a better place.” Spirit of Portland awards have been given annually by the City of Portland since 1985 to recognize those who have made a positive difference in the community.

“These student athletes are role models in our community,” said City Commissioner Nick Fish, who selected the team for the award. “I am grateful for their service, including their support of Harper’s Playground, and I am proud to nominate this group of outstanding young community leaders.”

Harper's Playground is a new, inclusive and accessible playground in Arbor Lodge Park not far from the UP campus. Inspired by six-year-old Harper Goldberg, who was born with a chromosome disorder, the Pilots launched a season-long silent auction in 2011 and raised $5,000 for the playground. This season, the team is donating tickets and other items to raise additional funds.

"It is the least we can do to give back to our community, which provides the university unparalleled support and makes our soccer program so unique,” says women’s soccer head coach Garrett Smith.

The 2012 Spirit of Portland award winners will be recognized by the Portland City Council at an Oct. 29 ceremony.

“The Spirit of Portland awards are Portland’s Oscars. They are a tribute to the many amazing community and neighborhood leaders who contribute to our thriving civic life in Portland,” said Fritz, Commissioner-in-charge of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.

The University of Portland women’s soccer program has had a long history of volunteer service at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) and expanded that into a fundraising campaign to ‘Adopt-a-Room’ during the fall of 2008 at Legacy Emanuel Hospital campus. Danielle Foxhoven – an All-American on the team and 2011 graduate – founded Equipment across Continents, which serves as a low cost provider for new and used sports equipment to underdeveloped countries across the world. Players often volunteer without notice to serve food to people who are homeless, or randomly show up to youth soccer games of children they have previously coached during a summer camp.

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