ORLANDO, Fla. — Some of the National Women’s Soccer League’s biggest stars are auctioning off items to raise funds for breast cancer awareness in honor of Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley.
The Pride also announced it will host a Breast Cancer Awareness match on Saturday, Oct. 12, in honor of Pressley, who was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year.
The auction featuring signed cleats, jerseys, balls and more will benefit Libby’s Legacy, an Orlando breast cancer foundation Pressley selected that provides breast cancer resources to underserved communities. All nine of the teams in the NWSL will participate in the online auction to support the foundation.
“I can’t put into words what it means to have the support of the teams and players across the entire league. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude, from this auction to all of the tributes I have seen over the last month,” Pressley said. “I appreciate everyone’s thoughtfulness and contributions to raise awareness for something that impacts, not just myself, but so many others.”
Pressley first announced her cancer diagnosis on Aug. 7. In the months since, each of the teams who have faced the Pride have shown support for the veteran league player. Reign FC wore pink armbands around their biceps; North Carolina Courage players wore pink tape around their wrists. The Washington Spirit supporters’ group made banners and waved pink towels to show their support.
— Toni Deion Pressley (@Toni_Deion) August 11, 2019
Always classy, @ThornsFC head coach @mparsons_1 ends his postgame press conference with a special get well message for @Toni_Deion. 🙏 @ORLPride @NWSL #BAONPDX #BiggerThanSoccer pic.twitter.com/r6EhgFRDw1
— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) August 11, 2019
— Chicago Red Stars (@chiredstarsPR) August 21, 2019
In a similar display of league-wide support, the idea for the online auction was spearheaded by Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and defender Casey Short.
“The team here wanted to show our support to Toni during this time,” Short said. “I played with Toni during my time at Florida State and have always admired the person she is on the field, but moreso off the field. The fact that we can come together as a league and put these items up for auction, not just us to show our love for Toni, but for our fans as well, is nothing short of amazing.”
The auction went live during halftime of the Pride’s match against the Chicago Red Stars on Wednesday, and will run until Oct. 10. It will feature items from throughout the league, including a pair of Nike cleats signed by Sam Kerr, an Alex Morgan U.S. women’s national team jersey and a ball signed by the North Carolina Courage team.
Libby’s Legacy provides education, mammograms and patient support, aiming to guide patients through the process from diagnosis to recovery.
The Pride will promote their final home match of the season as a Breast Cancer Awareness night on Oct. 12. The team will wear limited edition warm-up kits with pink logos, then auction those kits off after the match.
The Pride will also offer a limited edition T-shirt and scarf for the match in partnership with Fanatics. The T-shirt will be available on Sept. 17 and the scarf will be available starting Sept. 25. A portion of the proceeds will also benefit Libby’s Legacy.
Tickets for the Oct. 12 match are available for $21 on the Pride website, with $5 from each ticket going back to Libby’s Legacy.