San Jose Earthquakes make 10-year-old honorary captain for a day

It was a memorable night for 10-year-old Destinee Coronado of San Jose who’s been battling cancer. The San Jose Earthquakes added her to their roster Wednesday night making her an honorary captain.

“It’s a soccer dream come true,” said Coronado. “It’s really exciting. I've never done this before.”

The San Jose Earthquakes made it official. Coronado signed a symbolic one-day contract with the Quakes General Manager to serve as their honorary captain, complete with an honorary handshake.

“I think there's a couple of lessons that we could learn having met her and understanding the courage
it took to stand up against an illness and show how strong she is,” said San Jose Earthquakes General Manager Jesse Fioranelli. 

The match against Atlanta United is nothing compared to the battle Coronado has been facing the past five months. Back in April, Coronado was rushed to the emergency room with abdominal pain. A CT scan showed a malignant tumor growing in one of her ovaries. She was diagnosed with stage three cancer undergoing weeks of chemotherapy.

“I don't think anyone wants to think is my daughter going to be here tomorrow?” said Mother Miriam Villanueva. 

Through it all, Coronado kept her spirits up not letting the disease bring her down.

“Seeing Destinee recover from a cancer bed to now smiling dancing talking and walking out with the Earthquakes it's unexplainable,” said Villanueva. 

As honorary captain, Destinee gave the team a pregame pep talk, participated in warmups and kicked the ceremonial first goal. She walked out with the team even doing the coin toss.

“Meeting the soccer players really got me happy because they gave me encouragement,” said Coronado. “They kept saying good things, that I was a warrior. My next goal is to encourage kids always look at the bright side of cancer and never look at the horrible side of it. Just always be happy.”

The night was made possible through the Austen Everett Foundation named after a former player's fiancé, also a soccer player, who died of a cancer.