Make-a-Wish midfielder Xander Bailey enjoys his day as a Sounder

It wasn’t the first time the Make-A-Wish Foundation and a professional sports team made a kid’s dream come true, nor will it be the last, but just because it’s been done before, that doesn’t make it any less awesome to see the smile on young man’s face after a run in with his heroes.

On Friday, Xander Bailey didn’t just meet the Seattle Sounders and Clint Dempsey, his favorite player, he shared a field with them a day after signing with his favorite team. At one point in a scrimmage portion of practice, Bailey helped in the buildup to an Obafemi Martins goal.

“It was good,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “We had him on the orange team, so he had the benefit of being able to play with Oba and Clint. He was the first pass in the sequence that led to Oba’s goal in that game.

Dempsey also came away impressed, saying, “He’s a good player. He’s skillful. He came in and did well. It was fun for him to come out and for us to interact with him. We’re looking forward to… I think tomorrow he’s going to be at the game as well. Any time you can be a part of something like Make-A-Wish, it’s pretty special.”

Bailey, an 18-year-old from Bluefield, West Virginia, has been playing soccer since he was a young child, but couldn’t imagine he’d ever share a field with some of the game’s biggest stars.

“I’m really blessed to be here and have an opportunity to play with players like this, especially Dempsey, (DeAndre) Yedlin, players who are on the national team,” he said. “It’s been good.

“It’s pretty crazy. Definitely you can tell the level of play is way up there. I definitely had a really good time out there playing with them… It was just a good time doing what I love to do. Playing with these guys, especially knowing how big they are in the soccer world, it was a great time.

Asked what his friends back home thought of his contract with the Sounders, Bailey said, “They were really excited, a lot of ‘em were really jealous I think. It’s been a wild experience.”

More in Sports

Results of Cortez Kennedy’s autopsy released

Medical examiner: Former Seahawk and Pro Football Hall of Famer died of ‘congestive heart failure’

Hall-of-Fame voter says Edgar Martinez worthy of induction

The Mariner great is one of 10 players ex-Herald baseball writer Kirby Arnold voted for this year

Jr. Silvertips try to nail down league title

Everett’s 16U midget team can clinch the crown this weekend in Minnesota.

NHL wants Seattle, but is the Emerald City a hockey town?

Seattle is the biggest market in the country without a winter sports team.

Sounders loan midfielder Aaron Kover to Los Angeles FC

The Garfield High School graduate appeared in 44 games over four season with Seattle

‘Braveheart’ helps UW men’s basketball salvage road trip

The film rejuvenated the Huskies, who beat Colorado on Saturday after Thursday’s loss at Utah.

Monroe High’s Monique Fierke looks for the basket during drills at practice on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 in Monroe, Wa. Fierke is the leading scorer for the Bearcats. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Q&A with Monroe’s Monique Fierke

It didn’t take long for Monique Fierke to make a good impression… Continue reading

Monday’s prep stars of the night

Paris Smith, Cascade bowling Smith, a junior, rolled a 383 series with… Continue reading

BLOG: Fonteyne, Hart feted while Sutter and Wylie earn recognition

The Everett Silvertips didn’t skate Monday. But the organization still turned in… Continue reading

Most Read