Seattle Reign FC Legend: Austen Everett
Prior to Saturday night’s match against Portland Thorns FC, Reign FC recognized Austen Everett as a Seattle Reign FC Legend, celebrating a lifetime of charitable work and inspiration in the fight against cancer. June Leahy, Austen’s mother and best friend, accepted the award on her behalf.
Austen was a standout soccer player with a dream to create a community of hope in the fight against cancer. To help unite the fight against cancer, Austen founded the Austen Everett Foundation (AEF)
“Austen used to say ‘I’ve always believed that I got cancer for a reason,’’ said Leahy. She fought as an athlete… and in the beauty of this crossover she envisioned an impactful way to help others.”
After a four-year fight with cancer, Austen passed away. However, the Foundation is still impacting lives today, under the direction of her mother, Leahy.
“I watched how hard Austen fought, her determination to never let cancer define her and Austen’s desire to redefine the fight for others,” said Leahy. “I also knew that I would have given anything — if someone would have done this for Austen. She did her job and now it was time for me to step up and do mine.”
Prior to her passing, Austen saw the first-ever and only Honorary Team Captain in 2012. Since then, the Seattle-based Foundation has grown and has “empowered the fight” of over 100 kids in Seattle and 200 nationwide.
“Austen envisioned that one day AEF would be a part of every professional team and division 1 college in the nation,” said Leahy. “Her vision is our goal… to experience Austen’s dream becoming reality, that one day all kids battling cancer will have the opportunity to benefit from the same strength and support she experienced which inspired and empowered her in her battle with cancer.”
The Austen Everett Foundation now has partner teams in the NFL, MLS, NBA, MLB, NHL, NWSL, WNBA, and NCAA.
“AEF is creating a community,” said Leahy. “Three quarters of the Honorary Team Captains and their families remain engaged in AEF Community events.”
Seattle Reign FC is proud to partner with the Austen Everett Foundation to give a patient of Seattle Children’s Hospital the opportunity to be an honorary captain and game-day member of Seattle Reign FC. Patients get to be on the field during the game-day warm-up session and participate during the pre-game coin toss.
“The role Reign FC plays in this community is huge,” said Leahy. “For three years, at each home match — the Reign FC powerfully inspires thousands of fans, who have participated in honoring over 40 Reign FC Team Captains in their fight with cancer.”
The Legends campaign is a partnership between Seattle Reign FC and Chihuly Studio. At each regular season game, Reign FC honors one woman as a Seattle Reign FC Legend in recognition of her extraordinary contributions in our community and beyond. To celebrate the achievements of each Reign FC Legend, Dale Chihuly crafted the Reign Royal Blue Piccolo Venetian, which is symbolically presented to each Seattle Reign FC Legend.