Though it was just a 15-minute scrimmage, Kendra Chan was a little intimidated stepping onto the field at Starfinder Foundation on Wednesday night with former Philadelphia Union pros Sebastian Le Toux and Zach Pfeffer and former U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Jeremiah White.
“It was a lot of pressure but I tried to do my best,” said Chan, a Starfinder alumna who is now a student at Drexel University. “I haven’t been playing in a while but I was kind of rusty on the ball but after a while I got into it.”
The celebrity charity match was part of the Manayunk nonprofit’s annual Cocktails with a Kick! fundraising event, which included a silent auction, a short video that included some of Chan’s story.
“I’ve always wondered where Starfinder got their money from to have the transportation, the food and the college visits,” Chan said. “To be here behind the scenes and see how they’re organizing things is mind-blowing and it’s awesome. They’re so dedicated to the student athletes that come to Starfinder.”
Since its founding in 2002, Starfinder has served some 10,000 young people from under-served communities by supporting them on and off the field with soccer programs, mentorship and academic support. The nonprofit was recently one of eight recipients in North, Central and South America to receive a $26,000 from the English Premier League.
“We come together for our love of soccer, not just for the game itself but for what’s possible through soccer,” Heidi Warren, Starfinder executive director said. “I love that Starfinder is able to make a difference in kids’ lives. It takes the game to a whole different level. Talk about the beautiful game; what’s more beautiful than changing the trajectory of kids’ lives?”
Saraa Fadl, a Starfinder alumna who is also in college at Drexel, said during her time in the program she saw the organization expand its offerings because of the community support.
“I’m very grateful,” Fadl said. “Without the sponsors we wouldn’t have as many things as we have to offer.”
In addition to the former pros, the Starfinder alumni team’s opponent included Crossing Broad writer Kevin Kinkead, former Philly Soccer Page writer Eli Storch and Matt Wallach, a Yale soccer alumnus who is the co-founder and president of Veeva.