web analytics

Tag Archive | "soccer"

Soccer team pulls out victory as ONE

s-soccer1s-soccer2Being part of a team means sacrificing yourself for what is best for those around you. This year, the Cedar Springs boys soccer program is finding out what that means on and off the field. The idea of coming together as ONE has meant more to these players than ever before. After their teammate #1, Brison Ricker, was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in the late months of 2015, their goal became very clear; be one. This means more than simply playing together on a soccer field. For the Cedar Springs boys soccer program, this means honoring Brison by exemplifying the qualities that he showed on the field and continues to show every day in his battle against cancer. Being ONE means showing perseverance, positivity, high work ethic, and an unconquerable spirit on and off the field.

Any coach will tell you that success begins to happen when everything your team has worked for culminates in a game. On Thursday, September 8, this happened for the Cedar Springs boys soccer program when they traveled to Greenville High School. At half time the Varsity scoreboard showed a 2-0 deficit against the Red Hawks. Heads were hanging and spirits were low as the half-time whistle blew. When the second half began, they stepped on the field with 40 minutes on the clock. The team had a choice; Give up, or work. They decided to make a conscious decision to try to come together as ONE. In a hard fought battle for the next forty minutes, each player began to discover what ONE truly meant for them. Things like grit, passion, sacrifice, leadership, and unity suddenly became real. When the final whistle blew, their grit and sacrifice paid off. The team was able to pull off a 3-2 victory over Greenville High School after coming from behind 2-0.

“The players from both the JV and Varsity soccer teams walked away on Thursday night with more than just a win,” said Kyle Avink, Varsity Soccer Coach. “They walked away with a new meaning for what it meant to be part of a team. They have begun to truly understand the sacrifice it takes to be ONE. They showed that no matter what they face, together they are strong…Rickerstrong.”

#one #Rickerstrong

Posted in SportsComments Off on Soccer team pulls out victory as ONE

Community shows outpouring of support for teen with cancer


Fundraiser Aug. 23 to help with treatments

Brison Ricker, 15, was on the Varsity soccer team at Cedar Springs High School last year, before being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Brison Ricker, 15, was on the Varsity soccer team at Cedar Springs High School last year, before being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

By Judy Reed

The greater Cedar Springs community and beyond has wrapped its arms around the family of a local teen with a rare brain tumor, and the alternative cancer treatment they are working so hard to help raise funds for is showing signs of working—something that conventional cancer treatment did not do. In fact, the latest MRI on 15-year-old Brison Ricker shows that the tumor has shrunk to 1/3 the size it was previously.

It’s definitely a miracle—especially when you find out that Brison’s parents—Brian and Kim Ricker, of Nelson Township, were told less than two months ago by their conventional oncologist to take Brison home and call in hospice because he didn’t have long to live.

Before symptoms began last fall, Brison was a happy, well-liked and athletic teen, who loved riding dirt bikes with his younger brother Preston, and playing soccer. According to Kim, Brison raced motocross and supercross, and came in second place in the state for the two classes he raced in. He also was on the Varsity soccer team as a freshman, and voted offensive player of the year.

His symptoms started around Thanksgiving time with dizziness. “He’s extremely active, so I told him to drink enough water, not to get dehydrated,” explained Kim. The symptoms continued and progressed to blurred vision and seeing double, so she made an appointment with their pediatrician after the first of the year. “They said it was an eye issue and sent us to an eye doctor, who prescribed him glasses. “We got those and they didn’t work,” said Kim. “I had a feeling they wouldn’t. I suspected it was something major.”

Kim asked the pediatrician to schedule an MRI to see what was going on, but he didn’t think it was anything major. “I had to fight with him about it. I finally said I’m taking him to the ER to get an MRI then, and he said o.k.” Brison had the MRI and they got the diagnosis on January 22: the MRI showed a rare and deadly childhood brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine glioma (DIPG), which is nearly always fatal and lacks an effective treatment, according to Stanford University.

According to a news article from Stanford’s medicine news, DIPG affects 200-400 school-aged children in the United States each year and has a five-year survival rate of less than 1 percent; half of patients die within nine months of diagnosis. Radiation gives only a temporary reprieve from the tumor’s growth. In addition, it is inoperable. It grows through the brain stem, where breathing and heartbeat are controlled, “with the healthy and diseased cells tangled like two colors of wool knitted together,” said Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at Stanford.

Brison Ricker (seated) with Dad (Brian), brother Preston, and Mom (Kim).

Brison Ricker (seated) with Dad (Brian), brother Preston, and Mom (Kim).

The news of Brison’s tumor was devastating for the family. “There’s not words to describe how it felt. We were horrified. Our whole world was crashing down,” shared Kim. She said she also questioned God about it. But Brison’s faith and the support of family and friends helped keep them steady. “He has handled it like a champ. We get strength from him. He has a very strong faith, as do we. And, as soon as we found out, our room was filled with friends from church who came to pray. It helped our focus to be on God’s word and not what the doctors are telling us; to focus on God’s promises and not the diagnosis,” explained Kim.

A Gofundme page was set up for donations, and Team Brison (you can find them on Facebook) began putting together numerous fundraising events to help the family. And people began to pray.

Brison first underwent radiation, and did several alternative treatments at home to help fight the cancer, including eating a strict, healthy, organic diet. Kim said they wanted to go to the Burzynski clinic in Texas in March, when Brison’s radiation was done, because they offered an alternative treatment that had had some success with patients. But she said that the oncologist recommended against it, because he said he had seen people do that and waste their money.

The cost for the first month of treatment down there would be $30,000, and it would be a minimum of $17,000 per month after that. None of it would be covered by insurance. Not to mention the loss of income they would suffer. Faced with that and the fact that the oncologist recommended against it, they didn’t go.

But Brison continued to deteriorate. He lost 25 pounds, and his liver was under stress. The steroids he was on for inflammation broke down his muscle and skin and contributed to fatigue. By the end of April, he needed help to stand, sit, and walk. And his tumor had grown 6mm bigger, and there was swelling in his brain. He continued on steroids and the alternative treatments he was receiving locally.

On June 18, Brison went to the ER because his symptoms were progressing, and had another MRI. The news was devastating—his tumor had doubled in size from just six weeks before and was spreading to other parts of his brain. “The doctors say there are no clinical trials available anywhere for him and there is nothing left that they can do for him, and sent us home to cherish the precious time we have together. They suggested that we call Hospice and said at the rate the tumor is growing they believe his time is very limited,” wrote Kim in a Gofundme update on June 19.
“We went home and called the Burzynski Clinic right away,” said Kim. She researched a few other clinics, but the Burzynksi Clinic was the only one that had any success with treating that type of tumor. And Kim was able to talk with the mother of a 14-year-old that had been treated there, which helped them make their decision. “We prayed about it and felt this is where God was leading us,” she wrote. Additional gene-targeting meds were going to add another $40,000 to the cost, and they didn’t know how they were going to be able to keep the treatments going, but they trusted God and went.

They originally thought they would be there a month, but came back a bit sooner. Some additional new meds the clinic wanted to start him on wouldn’t have been covered there, but the oncologist here agreed to work with them and offered to give them to Brison here, which meant they would be covered by insurance. They still, however, have thousands and thousands of dollars in expenses to be met for other meds.

On Thursday, August 8, they received some amazing news: not only was the tumor one-third the size it was, but it was dying from the inside out. His oncologist here was surprised. “He said he’d never seen any results like this, that basically we were in a gray area of medicine from a regular oncologist’s point of view, because they hadn’t seen this combination of treatments before,” said Kim.

She also spoke with Dr. Burzynski this week, and he wants to continue with the treatment and get an MRI in four weeks. “There is some controversy between the doctors on how treatment will go moving forward but we’ll work it out,” she said. “The main thing is Brison had great results. He is tired and worn, but holding steady. Steady is good. If he was not on this treatment, he would not be with us.”

Kim said that the family has been overwhelmed with the support that they have received, even from people they don’t know. Brison is in awe of it all, especially the little notes or gifts he gets from people. She hopes people will continue to show Brison how much they care about him. “He thinks those gifts and notes are pretty awesome,” she said.

One of the ways their faith in God has helped them through this, is to see how it has affected other people. “A ton of people have said how our faith has strengthened them. It’s amazing to see how through all this we are touching and encouraging people and making their faith stronger,” remarked Kim.

While Brison received good news about his tumor, he is not out of the woods and will need more treatment, which means continuing expenses for the family, and they can only continue the treatments with your help. Another fundraiser has been set for August 23 at Cedar Springs High School at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds will go to benefit Brison. Speakers are Tracey Casey-Arnold, founder/CEO of W.I.T. Wellness Consulting, founder of WIT Ministry and Whatever it Takes Radio Network; and Matt Lehr, former NFL football player, NPC Super Heavy Weight and GASP athlete, and NPC Texas Judge. Arnold will speak about using faith to help win in life; Lehr will speak about overcoming adversities. Tickets are $25 each, with the option to donate more. They ask that you please purchase tickets ahead of time at: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/brison-ricker-fundraiser-event-with-tracey-arnold-and-matt-lehr-tickets-26959235800. Or go to eventbrite.com and search for Brison Ricker.

For info on this and other fundraisers for Brison, search for the Team Brison page on Facebook.

To donate directly to Brison, visit https://www.gofundme.com/brisonricker or send a check to Brison Ricker, 5370 Dio Dr., Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on Community shows outpouring of support for teen with cancer

Algoma Christian grad makes athlete of the week

Charisa Becker, an Algoma Christian grad and freshman at Grace Bible college, was named student-athlete of the week in Div. II by the NCCAA.

Charisa Becker, an Algoma Christian grad and freshman at Grace Bible college, was named student-athlete of the week in Div. II by the NCCAA.

Charisa Becker

Charisa Becker

Charisa Becker, a woman’s soccer player from Grace Bible College, was named Div. II student athlete of the week by the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) last week.

Becker, a 2015 Algoma Christian grad, scored the game tying goal in a 1-1 tie with Andrews University on October 22, and played solid defense throughout the match. The freshman defender/goalkeeper from Algoma Township was sent forward late in the game and responded by beating the Andrews keeper after a nice move in the penalty area. On Saturday, October 24, Charisa stepped into the goal and held a tough Cleary team to 2 goals, making 10 saves along the way.

Becker is the daughter of Tod and Rebecca Becker, of Algoma Township.

Posted in SportsComments Off on Algoma Christian grad makes athlete of the week

U14 Lady Tri-Hawks remain undefeated


CASSA was founded in 1998 to help area soccer players who had played recreational soccer advance their game to a higher level known as “Select.” This U14 Elite Girls Team, comprised of 16 players and 3 coaching staff, not only took their play to the next level but also made CASSA history in the process. For two   consecutive years, they have remained undefeated in their league play. Headed into this season as Elite they remained undefeated, and on September 19, they won their game against a tough club from St. Joseph, Mich., to become the most winning team in CASSA history. Go lady Tri-Hawks!

Posted in SportsComments Off on U14 Lady Tri-Hawks remain undefeated

Scott Hazel Memorial Game 

The Cedar Springs Varsity Soccer Team will play the Rockford Rams in a purple game on April 16 to commemorate the memory of Scott Hazel.

The Cedar Springs Varsity Soccer Team will play the Rockford Rams in a purple game on April 16 to commemorate the memory of Scott Hazel.

Cedar Springs and Rockford soccer teams honor teacher

The Scott Hazel Memorial Game will be hosted by the Rockford Rams on April 16 at 7 p.m. (The JV game will be played immediately prior to this game.)

Scott Hazel lost his battle against cancer last summer. The Rams and the Red Hawks are coming together to raise money for the Purple Community in his memory. Mr. Hazel coached soccer at both Rockford and Cedar Springs at various levels, and was a well-known and much loved teacher in Cedar Springs.

Yes, there will be a game but this night will be so much more as both communities come together to honor Scott Hazel and raise money for cancer research in memory of him.

Rockford’s school colors are orange and black and Cedar Springs are red and black. However, on April 16, both communities will come together in a sea of purple for the man who influenced so many.


Posted in Featured, SportsComments Off on Scott Hazel Memorial Game 

Rule changes for fall high school sports

Each year, the Michigan High School Athletic Association seeks to improve the safety of high school athletes. Below are some rules changes in fall sports.
Rules were added restricting targeting of opponent and illegal helmet contact with defenseless players, with both resulting in 15-yard penalties. Targeting is defined as taking aim at an opponent with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder to initiate contact above the shoulders and with an intent beyond making a legal tackle or block, or playing the ball. A defenseless player can be considered one no longer involved in a play, a runner whose progress has been stopped, a player focused on receiving a kick or a receiver who has given up on an errant pass, or a player already on the ground.
Roughing-the-passer fouls now will result in an automatic first down in addition to the previous 15-yard penalty.
On kickoffs, the kicking team must have at least four players on either side of the kicker, and no kicking team players except for the kicker may line up more than five yards behind the free-kick line. These changes were made to improve safety by balancing the kicking formation and shortening the potential run-up by kicking team players heading down the field to tackle the ball carrier.
A number of significant rules changes will go into effect for other fall sports:
Cross country
In cross country, the ban on wearing jewelry has been lifted (and also for track and field in the spring). The National Federation of State High School Associations deemed the ban unnecessary in these two sports because there is little risk of injury with minimal contact between competitors. Elimination of the rule will allow officials to further focus on the competition.
In soccer, Michigan has adopted the National Federation rule stating home teams must wear solid white jerseys and socks, with visiting teams in dark jerseys and socks (dark defined as any color contrasting white). Also, officials may now wear green and blue shirts in addition to red and black as alternates to the primary yellow shirt with black pinstripes.
Also for soccer, both field players and goalkeepers must now leave the field when injured and the referee has stopped the clock. Previously, an injured goalkeeper was not required to leave the game when the referee stopped the clock; going forward, the keeper must be replaced.
Swimming and diving
In swimming and diving, one change affects the beginning of races and another impacts a specific event. The use of starter’s pistols is now prohibited; starters must use an alternative sounding device to start races. Additionally, in the backstroke, a swimmer may not submerge his or her entire body after the start except for during turns. The swimmer must remain on or above the water surface on the finish, eliminating the abuse of submerging well before touching the wall. This change also applies to the finish of the backstroke leg of the individual medley.

Posted in SportsComments Off on Rule changes for fall high school sports

C.A.S.S.A Tri-Hawks U10 girls win Division title

Front: Elizabeth Fettig  Middle: Left to right: Brandy Singleton, Lily Briggs, Andrea Rios, Darrah Miller. Back Row: Loren Riddle, Makenna Outwin, Olivia Hearth, Ali Carlson, Emma Cassiday, Mia Joppich Assistant Coach Pete Singleton (Gray), Head Coach Ryan Outwin (Red)

Front: Elizabeth Fettig
Middle: Left to right: Brandy Singleton, Lily Briggs, Andrea Rios, Darrah Miller.
Back Row: Loren Riddle, Makenna Outwin, Olivia Hearth, Ali Carlson, Emma Cassiday, Mia Joppich
Assistant Coach Pete Singleton (Gray), Head Coach Ryan Outwin (Red)

The U10 girls clinched their Grand Valley Soccer Association (GVSA) Division 2 title, finishing the season 6-1-1.  This is their 2nd consecutive division title. After winning the Division 3 fall title with a record of 7-1, the Tri-Hawks were moved up to Division 2 this spring season.

This title came down to the final game. Coming into the last weekend, with two games left, the Tri-Hawks were sitting in 3rd place. The top two teams had finished their season and the Tri-Hawks just had to win their final two games to take the title.

On Saturday, they faced a relentless USA WISE team from Zeeland. Even though their opponents were winless on the season and only had one player on the bench to sub in, they put up a great effort. The Tri-Hawks won 2-1, moving into 2nd place. With TC Strikers sitting at 5-0-3 with 18 points, the Tri-Hawks were 5-1-1 with 16 points.  The Tri-Hawks 1 loss and 1 tie were at the hands of the first place TC Strikers team.  A win in their final game of the season would give them 19 points and the title.

The girls played some of their best soccer of the season. Great passing and communication on the field, as well as aggressive pressure on their opponents, got them a 3-0 shutout win and the title. The girls scored 17 goals in 8 games, and only gave up 11 goals on the season.


Posted in Featured, SportsComments Off on C.A.S.S.A Tri-Hawks U10 girls win Division title

Hometown Happenings

Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.

TOPS weight loss support group

Jan. 28: Take off pounds sensibly (TOPS), a non-profit weight loss support group for men and women, meets every Tuesday at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Sand Lake. Your first visit is free so come check out what TOPS can do to help you reach your weigh loss goals! Weigh-ins 8:15-9am, meeting starts at 9:15am. In case of inclement weather, meetings are cancelled if Tri-County or Cedar Springs schools are closed. Call Martha at 696-1039 for more information. #4


Winter Family Fun Day at HCNC

Feb. 1: Be a proud Michigander get out and enjoy winter. Here is your chance to come out and play in the snow with us. Children’s games, free snowshoe walk with your family, snowman or snow animal building contest, hula hoop contest, bubble blowing (if temp is below 32), make a snow glove, use our water filled bottles of color to create snow art in our open prairie. Then warm up with a bowl of chili or some s’mores around the campfire at Camp Lily’s location. Saturday, February 1 from12 noon to 3 pm. Donation of $6/person or $15 family. Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Dr., Kent City. 616-675-3158. #4


Springs Soccer Registration

Feb. 4&6: Springs 2014 Soccer Registration for American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is Tuesday, February 4 and Thursday, February 6 at Burger King Restaurant, 4065 – 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs from 6 – 8 pm. Fee for the Spring Session is $60 per child with a $5 discount per child for families registering 3 or more players. Players must be at least 4 years of age by March 24, 2014. First time players – please bring Birth Certificate for age verification. Please complete online application at www.eayso.org – print two copies and take advantage of our Express Lane! These will be the final registration dates for the Spring Season. Please tell you friends and neighbors. If you have questions please contact us through the link on our website: www.ayso902.org. #4-6p


Posted in Hometown HappeningsComments Off on Hometown Happenings

Soccer teams place in tournaments

Three Tri County AYSO teams placed in this year’s AYSO Section 8 Tournament held on June 22-24, 2012, at the Creal Soccer Complex & Heritage Park in Coldwater, Michigan.

Three Tri County teams all finished in third place: The U10 girls team, the U12 girls team, and the U14 boys team (which had both boys and girls on the team). Some 70-plus teams were scheduled for the tournament.

Congratulations to you all!

Posted in Featured, SportsComments Off on Soccer teams place in tournaments

Short-term host families needed to help fund soccer trip

By Judy Reed


If you’ve been thinking about hosting an exchange student, and would like to try it out on a short-term basis (four weeks), this summer might be the time to try it. If you do, you will not only get to help a teen from another culture, you will also be helping some members of the Cedar Springs boys soccer team fund a trip to Brazil.

According to the Red Hawk boys soccer coach Kyle Avink, he and JV coach Josh Hause are taking the three Varsity captains, Robert Klein, Aaron Dault, and Trevor Rose, who will be seniors next year, to Niteroi, Brazil. They are leaving on June 15, and they will stay for two weeks. While there they will train for 30 hours per week with a semi-professional soccer club, attend a game, and do some sightseeing.

“Every year I take the captains somewhere for leadership training,” explained Avink. “This year I wanted it to be big, because this is the first group I’ve had all four years. I joked about taking them to Brazil, and somehow it worked out.”

Avink hopes that the boys will bring back something they can share with the whole team about what they’ve learned—whether it’s another way of playing or something else. He also said that in the future he’d like to take all the seniors.

Avink partnered with the Counsel for Educational Travel, USA (CETUSA), who is looking for host families for a four-week commitment during July 21-August 18.  For every Cedar Springs area family that hosts an exchange student during that time, CETUSA will fund the soccer trip $200. “We are looking for a bout 25 host families,” said Avink. “We want to keep costs down as much as possible.”

They are also looking at doing some other fundraising also, such as a 50/50 raffle at the girls soccer game on May 21, a popcorn drive, and other things. But they will also accept direct donations.

If you are interested in hosting an exchange student to help the soccer team, or would like to make a direct donation, you can contact Coach Avink at kyleavink@gmail.com.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on Short-term host families needed to help fund soccer trip