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Sixth annual Kicks for Chase game ends in UMBC win as James Gielen scores two

The UMBC Retrievers defeated the University of Delaware Blue Hens 2-0 in the sixth installment of the ‘Kicks for Chase’ charity event on Friday April 20. The event is a fundraiser for the Arc Northern Chesapeake Region, a company that supports individuals with differing abilities. It is in honor of Chase Bugarin, who had down syndrome and tragically died at birth six years ago.

All week leading up to the game, the men’s soccer team helped with fundraising by selling commemorative “Kicks for Chase” T-shirts. The shirts sold out quickly and UMBC helped raise about $5,000 for the Arc NCR.

The cool spring weather added to the great atmosphere that the crowd brought to the game. There were shirts, hats, scarves and food sold at the concession stand, and all proceeds will go to the Arc’s support programs. UMBC women’s soccer team also collected donations from the fans. The Retriever family is committed to raising money and awareness to help kids like Chase.

“You guys ordered the best weather,” Shawn Kros, the CEO of the Arc NCR joked. “It’s a great turnout. A lot of the individuals that we support came out today.”

She expressed nostalgic wonder that this is the sixth year of the event and thanked the Bugarin family. “[The event] has increased awareness for children’s health and has grown over the years,” she said. “The students are making [the awareness of the disabilities] happen, and it’s important that more people know about the event. It will help families with differing abilities remember that there is a group that can support them. We really appreciate the family thinking of us and supporting this. It is such an honor to memorialize Chase in this way.”

As for the game, the Retrievers had control early on. Sophomore forward Tre Pulliam won the ball off a Delaware defender and was fouled in the opposition box. The referee awarded the home team a spot kick, and junior midfielder James Gielen converted to make it 1-0. UMBC had more possession in the first half, although a Blue Hen attacker hit the post with a free kick.

In the second half, Delaware had more chances. Blue Hens right back Arno Masson-Viale created chances with his continuous running, but UMBC freshman goalie Ciaran O’Loughlin stood firm. Eventually, UMBC scored a goal to take the game as Gielen scored a second time off of a counter attack.

“My motive today was to score because I haven’t been all spring,” Pulliam explained in regard to the penalty he won. “We came in strong and settled down later. Today was a good representation of what we do in practice.”

“I love meeting the little kids and giving back to anyone in the Arc Foundation,” Pulliam said of the event. “I came to UMBC to be a role model for the young people.”

“This was one of our better games this spring,” Coach Pete Caringi said after the game. “The four freshmen that started and the backfield played really well. Yesterday, we worked on finishing and today we finished. Tre Pulliam played well early, more like the Tre I’ve watched.”

“We still have some work to do, but I was impressed with today’s performance,” Caringi said of the preparation for fall games. “We have been inconsistent [this spring] because players are trying to prove themselves, which is what spring is all about. I appreciate the quality of the players at the junior colleges. Credit to Montgomery College. They played hard [against us].”

He also said of the event and the Arc NCR: “It is a great event. It is a testimony to our program that we support a program like it. The Athletics department gets together and works hard to pull off [this event]. The Arc is a great program. The sportsmanship and group picture is a class act. We have competed with some great teams in this event: Maryland, Georgetown, Delaware. It is all for a great cause.”