Zane Stephl was a member of the Northern Lights Soccer Club's Dynamo 88 team. Just short of his 12th birthday Zane died of leukemia. We honor Zane and his memory annually with the Zane Cup Memorial Soccer Tournament.
We remember Zane as an outgoing, rambunctious boy who was full of life. He was a go getter on the field, a comedian on the sidelines and a role model and friend to kids all over town. He had enough energy to keep his parents, Matt and Barbara, driving winter and summer to events all over the State.
Zane overcame leukemia when he was 5 years old; to do that he endured 7 months of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. His treatment was in Seattle which meant he was away from friends and most of his family during this tough time. He got through it with an optimistic attitude and a lot of bravery for a young child.
For the next 6 years Zane reached incredible goals; he played soccer and hockey competitively and also enjoyed football, basketball, swimming, snow machining and other sports recreationally. Along with sports he did well in school, enjoyed video games, books and loved playing with his buddies most of all. Making the Dynamo 88 team was his proudest accomplishment.
In the spring of 1999 the leukemia returned. This time, despite a second bone marrow transplant, complications arose and Zane did not win the battle. The Zane Cup Memorial Tournament was born that year; the brain child of the Dynamo 88 team and their coach, Dee Taylor.
What lessons did we learn from Zane? We learned that life is not forever. We learned that with a positive attitude we could overcome great obstacles. We learned that friendship and teamwork are important in good times and in bad. We learned about courage. Soccer is a game but through sport we make friends, learn to work together and lead a healthy life.
Good luck to all Zane Cup Tournament teams; have a great tournament!