The San Jose Earthquakes will welcome Cole Baker to the squad for the Sept. 10 match against Seattle Sounders FC, set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. Baker will serve as the honorary captain for the Quakes as they look to move up in the standings in the Western Conference.
Baker, 11, enjoys sports, including baseball, soccer and tennis, and is ranked at the top of his class academically. In 2011, he was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma and has undergone multiple treatments, phase I studies and surgeries.
As the honorary captain, Baker will arrive at Avaya Stadium on Friday, Sept. 9 to meet the Earthquakes players, attend practice and eat lunch with some of his future teammates. On Saturday, Baker will become the first team signing under interim general manager Chris Leitch as he pens a one-day contract.
Following the contract agreement, Baker will be available to media for comment, sporting full Quakes gear and will help as a scooper at the A&W Celebrity Root Beer Float event on Saturday night. Baker will then attend pregame warm-ups, execute the game’s honorary first kick, greet his teammates as they walk out of the players tunnel, stand with captain Chris Wondolowski for the national anthem, participate in the team handshakes and appear in the starting XI photo.
Saturday’s event comes in part with a league-wide initiative to raise funds and awareness for cancer research, as September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The Quakes have joined forces with the Austen Everett Foundation to give Baker this once in a lifetime experience.
The founder, Austen Everett, was engaged to former Earthquakes forward Matt Luzunaris who played for the team in 2011. Everett was a Division I goalkeeper at Miami when she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008. She started the Austen Everett Foundation, which works to inspire, empower and improve the lives of kids battling cancer by uniting them with professional and collegiate athletic organizations. Austen passed away in 2012, but her legacy continues with the Austen Everett Foundation for this honorary captain experience.