Lynn Fern

Team Lillian


It all started almost 6 weeks ago....

Lillian started running nightly fevers.  After several days, trips to her doctor with different tests coming back negative, and then coming home from a soccer tournament with a fever higher than it had been, they tested for flu which also came back negative.  With papers from the doctor in hand and an order for Lillian to head on to Westchester Childrens ER to see specialists.

Lillian was admitted after a couple of hours with a rising fever and heart rate.  Not long after having x-rays, bloodwork, and then a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration Bethany & husband Frankie received the news no parent wants to hear.

Lillian was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on January 30, after almost 4 weeks of nightly fevers.

Photo Credit: Connie Aubin

Rewind back a couple of years... One night before heading off to one of our development clinics Kacey casually mentioned to me that there was a new family that had moved into town from Missouri.  Mom had reached out to him about her older daughter playing soccer.

We were starting practice & I glance up to see a family walking across the field, mom, Bethany in tow with 2 girls, Kaylen & Lillian.

Kaylen was shy but I finally got her out to kick the ball around with the other girls as we talked with mom.  All the while this cute little one was on her back.  A young, sweet but shy girl, Lillian.

I knew I needed to get to know Lillian, that sweet shy smile...it pulled me right in!

Over the next year we had Kaylen playing rec soccer with us, attending clinics, academy and more.  We were well on our way to building our 2009-2010 girls travel team, the Cornwall Cheetahs!  While we were still in the midst of our rec soccer season, we had started our practices with the Cheetahs along with getting fundraisers going.  One Saturday morning while doing water sales during the rec soccer games, Bethany came over to me & said she couldn't get Lillian to play with her team.  The coach tried, mom tried...nothing, nope, not going out onto that field.

I casually walked over to Miss Lillian... not even looking at me, or speaking one word..stubborn she is, she wanted no part of getting onto that field.  So I pulled one of my tricks.  As I started to walk away, I said "well if ya change your mind, I might have a jolly rancher at Kaylens practice for you tomorrow"...   I walked back to mom & was like that girl isn't budging.  Strong willed!

Not even a minute later Bethany walked back over to me and said she'll go out on the field for a watermelon jolly rancher.  My heart just about exploded.  I walked over to Lillian, she shyly looked at me with a half smile, and we made a promise to each other.  She plays & she gets TWO watermelon jolly ranchers!  She went out and played.

Our Cornwall United Soccer Club family stepped up to show Lillian and the Aubin family some orange support today.



A week ago I asked my Cheetah families if they'd want to wear orange socks to our next several tournaments to show support for their teammates little sister.  I said "I can put the #teamlillian on the socks like what's on the shirts everyone is ordering".   I was getting ready to leave for a photoshoot & I decided to just put a text out quickly to all of our coaches to see if their teams would be interested in joining the Cheetahs.

I figured it's Saturday, I most likely wouldn't hear back until Sunday or Monday.  Within 10 - 15 minutes all other coaches responded "YES, we're all in kids, coaches & managers"... AND, from multiple people, "why not do this & raise money for the family"!  This made my day, the smile on my face couldn't be wiped off!

Amazing!

By Monday the club board members went to work to get things set in motion.  Kacey & Maureen reached out to get socks ordered as quickly as possible.

Cappelli Sports rocked and got us socks here by Thursday so we could get them customized with #teamlillian.



Using my Cricut and heat press, I went to work creating our support as a club, as a family!


We gathered for our Saturday morning Academy, between sessions the kids that were in attendance put their orange socks on.

Cooperating like no other, every kid climbed onto the bleachers with smiles on their faces...


Capturing this moment makes what we do as parents, coaches, managers proud!  Our community came together with open hearts!










We owe the Cornwall United Soccer Club Board a giant thank you for helping get this all going so quickly and supporting a spur of the moment idea!

Capelli Sports... many many thanks for getting the socks to us so quickly and for the little extra you did for us!

Thank you coaches, managers and parents for the amazing support.  To know that when one of our own is hurting, and going through something none of us would ever want to endure, you've all stepped up in a big way to show incredible love & support!

As I looked out across the sky tonight as I sat down to write this post, the skyline glistened with a beautiful orange stripe.

The color orange - "Orange offers emotional strength in difficult times."

Aubin Family... Frankie, Bethany, Gavin, Kaylen & Lillian... may you find emotional strength in the days to come!



Much love...

For the love of the game...

Varsity 845 Section IX Soccer All Stars.. Jaiden Pean & Chris Germaine!! Congratulations!




A few years ago, ok maybe more like more than 10 or 15 years ago I was introduced to a sport that sparked something deep within my soul.

Soccer...

Looking back to my childhood, it was football, basketball, a little tennis and a whole lot of rodeo..



I know crazy to think this girl was once someone that got her adrenaline rush from a 1500 lb animal running full speed around barrels and poles.

That and some good ole Friday Night Football.  Soccer never was a thought that registered in my mind then.

Until..

It was the year 2005, ok so 13 years ago that spark ignited... on July 24, the day after my birthday.  I was handed tickets from a friend.  With a side eye, I looked at my friend with confusion in my eyes, but curiosity on my mind.  Why would I want to go watch a soccer match.  I knew nothing about it, and if I am truly transparent, I don't think I had watched one single kick to a soccer ball in my entire life.  But, according to some the game meant something...

Clueless as I was, I fell intrigued by the sport as I took my seat in Giants Stadium.  I asked a lot of questions, watching intently and gaining something I guess I was missing from my life.  It was the day I was introduced to Dempsey and Donovan..

It was the...

2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup Panama vs USA.  It was my first soccer game ever, and I fell in love and never fell out!  30 minutes of extra time still scoreless which brought on the penalty kicks.  I still hate ending a game on penalty kicks.  But, that day I loved them since they brought a win to the USA team!

Fast forward to later in 2005.  I met someone only a few short months after that soccer match that would later become my husband.


Guess what sport he played, and still coaches today!?!  Yup.. Soccer.


Glad I went to that game...so I could impress him with my soccer IQ and love of the game.. Hook, line and sinker!

Over the last couple of years my love has grown even more.  I helped Kacey with his travel team for 4 years, following his lead, listening intently as he coached.  He's still my mentor today!  His knowledge & love of the sport inspires me every single day to become a better person, to enhance my knowledge and to become a better coach for my young girls. As my time with Cornwall United Soccer Club, CUSC, I also have the privilege to listen and learn from our Director of Coaching, Matt Quick, which in turn is our Cornwall Dragons Varsity Soccer Coach.

My passion is unwavering as I thirst for more.  I go to a lot of games, watch intently still, to just learn more...to soak it all in!

I am blessed to work at a local college that has not only two amazing teams, but an incredible field right outside my office.  I can walk to the field and watch to foster that love even more.

As our Cornwall Dragons team wasn't really able to play much on their home field this season due to poor field conditions, hoping we work on fixing that issue in the near future.  I am sad that our kids that work so hard, not just in athletics but also academically have the field conditions they do to play on.. another day for that story.  But, I was lucky to be able to catch both our boys and girls soccer teams on our field at Mount Saint Mary College.

The first game I caught on my way leaving the office one evening, and didn't have my camera with me.  I was only going to stay for a few minutes as it had been a long day, yet I ended up sticking it out through the 2nd half, I texted Kacey to let him know I was watching the game & would be leaving soon... and then it went into OT, well darn I couldn't leave now.  I watched attentively and became captivated by the team.  They're small, outsized for sure, but scrappy and with tons of heart.  It showed not only on their faces, but in their movement down the field, the way they played as a team..as one.

Mission on & accepted.. I needed to make sure I got to the next game with my camera on my side.

Once again, back on the field at MSMC, bad field conditions at home..

Cornwall Dragons vs FDR.  Exciting game that ended in OT with a 1 - 0 win.



I've been to a few of the Cornwall Varsity games in support of Coach Quick, but I usually watched the game, talking my girls through positions.  But, this team this year truly was carrying something very special.


Ethan our starting goalie has come to do goalie training with some of our young travel team goalies.  I've watched him with the kids, but watching him in a game, listening to him direct his players.. often times bringing a giggle out of me & other spectators, but always guiding his team.


Awww.. Joey Holbrook.. I seriously love watching this kid play.  He's small & most always outsized, but don't let that fool ya!  I can't wait to watch you over the next couple of years!


Cam Growney and Chris Germain.. the connection you have on the pitch is incredible.  I am so glad I got out to watch you guys.  So very fun to watch.  Your energy and spark on the field was incredible.

Oh and btw.. the first time I heard someone (probably my husband) refer to the field as the pitch, I thought they had confused their sports...



Reilly Chin.. watching you harass players upfront was beyond anything I was expecting.  It was so fun to watch your speed & your drive.  Your tenacious playing style is so inspiring!


Leaving that game as I scrolled through pictures, excitement was building and I felt a special thing happening out on the field.

Within just a few days, I found myself back on the MSMC sidelines to watch you boys take on Wallkill.




The passion that Peter Santorelli brings to the game of soccer will suck you right in.  I know from a few minute conversation with his dad, these days have been long coming, and your hard work & dedication have paid off.






Oh just you wait... I got more of this kid for you.  #4 Jaiden Pean, I knew the first game watching you there was something genuine you brought not just to the field but to your team.

I sat at a game one evening with my family.  I watched as a penalty had been called, your teammates were rushing around in a frantic motion, you walked casually to the ball as you gave the motion with your hands to settle you had it under control.  And, had it under control did you!  YOU are the reason I came back to watch the next game, you pulled me right in to truly grasp what the Cornwall Dragons varsity soccer team was all about.





As I continued to watch these boys, getting to know them a bit more each game, it just became more apparent there was a hunger there.  Something brewed deep within those souls...

With a 2 - 0 win over Wallkill the next stop would be a game that would be played against a team they lost earlier in the month to.. Minisink Valley for the Section IX title.  It was a  bit of a drive & it was set to be a cold one, but a drive I wouldn't miss making.

Kacey loaded the girls in the car, swung by my office to pick me up on the way with blankets, hot cocoa, snacks, hats & gloves.... oh and of course my camera to go watch as our boys vied for that championship trophy.


Seeing this photo of you all standing here makes my soccer momma heart happy!  It's something to be proud of.   A cinderella story.  Your bond, friendship and love of soccer has brought you this far, and it's a beautiful thing.


I specifically can replay this moment in my head over and over..  It was something I don't think Minisink Valley was prepared for.. I certainly wasn't, but oh was it a beaut!


These guys hit the field on fire with the first goal coming in at the 38:38 on the clock, a beautiful touch from Joe Holbrook right into the net, assisted by a header from Chris Germain.




Guns were blazing the entire game....


....your motivation continued unstoppable throughout the entire game.

The desire to bring home the title was deep inside, and you dug down deep to earn it!












Every single one of these boys played an amazing game.  Their hearts wanted this win and a win they brought home.  Onward to Middletown to play Vestal for Semi Finals.





Truly a beautiful sight!!


Leaving the Franklin D. Roosevelt stadium in Rhinebeck, NY, I knew the next game would be on October 31, 2018.  That would present a bit of a situation in our house.. I was feeling a bit conflicted.  As I sat in the front seat of the car on our way home, both of my girls said they'd like to give up Halloween to go  watch you play.  They wanted to continue the journey of supporting you.. Coming from an 8 & 10 year old basically saying "you're more important to them than candy" is saying you rank up there in their books... you are role models, keep that in mind!  And, I'll say our job as parents look pretty incredible, my heart certainly exploded with pride and a little yeeesssss might've been mumbled from my lips.

Wednesday, October 31, I stood at the Halloween parade at Lee Road Elementary taking photos of the little ones, anxiously awaiting to leave for Middletown, Faller Field 5 pm!

As I stood looking onward at the little ones so adorable, one little girl says ... "aww look you have a ladybug on you". And, then squealed in excitement... there's 2 on you! The last time I had someone ohhing over a ladybug that landed on me was when I was filming Flea Market Flip, and everyone said it was my lucky sign I'd win. Well, today as the little girl was oohhhing, I said "that's my sign of good luck to the Cornwall boys"!







Friendships, bonds, connections...




Gagnon playing outstanding defense against this tough Vestal team.  Just didn't give up, and played a crucial game.


Watching the dynamic duo of Pean and Gagnon in the back shutting down goal attempts was just spectacular.


The first half of the game was, hmm, best way to put it...scary!  The second half the boys played well, held off any goals, yet came up scoreless.  There were a few moments that became downright nail-biters, one ball that looked like it was in for Cornwall, but wasn't.  So many missed opportunities.

However, both teams came up short.  Soooo OT here we come.  I am not even a parent to these boys, and my heart was struggling...

BUT, I had a glimpse into my day earlier as we waited for the teams to make their way back onto the field.

The day I filmed the sell day of Flea Market Flip, it was a struggle all day, it was cold, rainy, not a lot of people came into the flea market.  We somehow managed to sell our items, not knowing how we'd do, it was close going into the ending of the day, but I remembered...

.....the ladybug!

The picture from our buy day that everyone said was my lucky bug...




Not long into extra time, a penalty kick was set up by Cam and Chris.. What could they possibly be coming up with?


This is a moment #4 Jaiden Pean will remember for a very long time.  It was absolutely gorgeous, and the shot that sealed the fate of the game!


Ladybugs... I believe!  It happened so fast... I am so happy I caught this shot for this moment in time.  The one thing I learned about soccer...it happens fast & big plays happen quick.  If you're ever at a game with me, you'll notice I rarely sit.  I can't.  I pace.  Even when I coach..I pace.



That's a win boys.. CONGRATS on a very deserving ending.



It was a hard fought match that went into OT. These boys didn't give up and brought home a win!

I am beyond proud for them. For their parents, all of the years watching them play and growing into the incredible young men they are!

It's been a rough season for soccer. We had many games that were moved because of the wet/poor field conditions. I am blessed the games got moved to Mount Saint Mary College, and I was able to catch games. I was loving watching this team.  A couple of the boys caught my eye, their playing style.  I got to the point I didn't want to miss a game. I grew attached! In the end, even though I complained our boys (& girls) were missing playing on our home fields, I am glad it happened & I started catching games at the Mount... Things happen for a reason!

Next stop post season was a few days later..  Knowing how far these boys came, unexpectedly I believe, many supporters traveled to watch as they took on Section 1 Somers. 

Including our Cornwall Crazies...





Our boys played hard...








 Fighting with every thing they had...














A cinderella team... a friendship, a bond, a connection felt as they embrace before making their way onto the field to battle for something they can only dream to bring home.



True grit...sometimes isn't strong enough..


It doesn't mean your heart wasn't in it, or you didn't want it less than the other..





This time you played a team better than you, but you never gave up.  You still left your heart on that field as I saw many times before. Somers came out bigger, stronger and faster. They were, are, a good team. A tough matchup no doubt.


Some games the ending score isn't a reflection of your game..


Many of you will be back, you're story is just beginning, and I believe you will come back stronger and even better...



 Thank you for allowing me to come on this amazing ride with you.  I loved every minute of it, snapping photo memories for you to enjoy for years to come!

I only hope to get to ride on this journey with you in the next years to come!  

Congratulations to you Cornwall Dragons Varsity Boys Soccer team...
























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