The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

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Kamilla Shahzad, Staff Writer • November 19, 2023

Twenty-two-year-old Samara Chowdhury is a junior at Le Moyne College majoring in Biology, with a pre-health track. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia...

Big smiles, little rookie: Men’s soccer gains one-of-a-kind player


James Alden, welcome to the big leagues.

Le Moyne Men’s Soccer Head Coach Tom Bonus did some serious recruiting this past weekend, and picked up a real stand-out player.

Introduced at the soccer alumni game on Saturday, five-year-old Alden became the newest star of the soccer squad, joining the Dolphins through Team IMPACT.

Team IMPACT and Le Moyne have been partners since this winter, when the men’s basketball team signed Nathaniel Henry. Team IMPACT matches young children fighting terminal illness with local college teams, which allows them the opportunity to take part in the team activities throughout their treatment period. Like Henry, Alden received his own personal jersey and team warm-ups.

This is Le Moyne College’s second team member matched up using Team IMPACT. Players are matched up with schools all over the country and their ages range from four years old all the way up to seventeen years old. Alden is currently battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Sporting number one on his official team jersey, Alden, a pepperoni pizza and Lego lover, will be helping the ‘Phins out for the duration of their spring season and their off-season workouts.

“I think having James on our team will help make my teammates and myself not only competitors but better men in the future,” junior back Kel Onyeaka says about James’ presence on the bench. “One thing we suffered from last season…was the will to fight back. James, at only 5 years old, exhibits more fight than any of us put together and I think having him around will help remind us that when things  aren’t going our way during a game or practice to be strong and keep fighting.”

Head Coach Tom Bonus introduced him during halftime of the soccer alumni game, where alumni, players and fans alike got to see the newest addition to the team firsthand.

Alden, a resident of Liverpool, even got the chance to kick the ball around on the field with several players and alumni after his introduction.

“James is a great kid who always has a smile on his face when he comes out onto the field,” sophomore midfielder Mark Gentile said. “That energy along with his pure strength in dealing with leukemia at such a young age can teach us all something. If James can persevere and overcome obstacles maybe his presence next year on the bench will allow us to do the same when facing challenges during the season.”

Sophomore midfielder Anthony Scaravillo sees not only a player, but also a dedicated young boy who is so much more than his disease.

“I think he has a very good personality and his disease doesn’t even appear to have an effect on him because of how active and happy he is,” Scaravillo said. “He’s a normal kid who makes all the guys smile and laugh when he’s with us and is always raring to kick the ball around with us.”

Not only is Alden popular on the soccer field, but he also has fans all across campus, including head basketball coach Steve Evans. Evans tweeted his support for the Team IMPACT partnership and Alden on Saturday, saying “Congrats to #1 James Alden! Le Moyne M Soccer newest member #teamimpact #lemoyne.”

Although the Le Moyne-Team IMPACT relationship is still new, Scaravillo believes it is a tradition that should be carried on far into the future.

“The Le Moyne-Team IMPACT relationship is something really special and something that all sports programs at all colleges and universities across the country would be happy to have,” Scaravillo said. “I would love to see this relationship continue because it helps the children get involved and helps the athletes appreciate their lives and makes them realize how fortunate they actually are.”

With several universities hosting players from the Team IMPACT program, Le Moyne’s decision to partner with the program has helped further their service values to bring sports to children who might not have that opportunity.

“I was very impressed at how quickly Team IMPACT got everything running with getting James on our team,” Gentile said. “After discussing bringing James onto the team, the people at Team Impact helped make the transition as smooth as possible making the process easy for both our team as well as James and his family.”

“This program really helps these kids get their mind off of what is going on in their lives and provides them with an experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives,” Scaravillo added.

And one more quick fact about James: he may love the Dolphins, but he is always loyal to his dinosaurs.

“He literally knows every single dinosaur known to man,” Gentile said. “Whenever James went to any of our games this spring he brought his collection of dinosaurs and tested several of us to see if we knew any of them. He really is a joy to have on the team and we are all looking forward to having him this upcoming fall.”

Welcome to the Le Moyne team, James Alden!  It feels great to be a Dolphin.

To learn more about Team IMPACT and their accomplishments, visit their website at

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