Bruce Springsteen famously sang, “From small things big things one day come”, and one city’s gesture to an ailing 5-year-old girl has blossomed into one of the most adorable videos you’ll watch all year, courtesy of the New York Red Bulls and their fans.
New Jersey native Irelyn Maloney loves soccer. She also cannot play it with a team due a spinal cord injury that’s come as a result of a rare and horrible genetic disease called Familial Mediterranean fever.
The people at the Twin County Soccer Association in Brick, N.J., threw a soccer game for Irelyn, an event that caused the cancellation of a team practice for the daughter of a New York Red Bulls season ticket holder, Matt Pures.
He told his ticket rep, she went to her superiors, and it all led to Irelyn on the field, weaving her way through Red Bulls players before scoring a shot, side panel, past her favorite player in goalkeeper Luis Robles.
The Red Bulls signed a special player on Thursday to a one-day contract. Five-year old Irelyn Maloney of Brick, N.J., was signed by the Red Bulls, fulfilling her wish of being part of a soccer team. Maloney was presented with her own locker and jersey, and got to play a small game with the team after practice at the team’s training facility in Hanover.
“If she could play soccer every day, and every minute of every day, she would,” said Shannon, Irelyn’s mother. “She wears her cleats to school, she wears her cleats to the food store and to the doctors. She just absolutely adores it.”
Irelyn’s parents and four sisters were on hand to see her sign a contract with head coach Mike Petke. The Maloney family then got to see Irelyn’s locker and Red Bulls uniform, complete with a number 31 jersey to match her favorite player, Luis Robles.
To learn more about Irelyn and her family, or to see a list of upcoming events and fundraisers on their behalf, check out their Facebook page. You can also see photos from Irelyn’s special day with the Red Bulls..
It’s a little dusty in here. Godspeed, Irelyn. May a cure be found in short order!