Soccer News: Fort Lauderdale Strikers Midfielder Chris Nurse
There is more to life than soccer, and across the North American Soccer League (NASL), many players are spending their time off the pitch giving back to their communities, raising awareness for good causes, and dedicating themselves to things that are bigger than scoring goals and winning games.
Fort Lauderdale Strikers midfielder Chris Nurse is one of those players, and for his efforts, he has been named 2014 NASL Humanitarian of the Year.
A veteran midfielder that has played in the NASL since it began play in 2011, Nurse has dedicated much of his life off the field to raising money and awareness for breast cancer, a disease that claimed his mother’s life when he was just 20 years old.
“It was a turning point in my life,” Nurse said. “My mom would always tell people that I was going to be a professional soccer player when I was growing up, and when she passed away, I felt like it was my obligation to see it through and make it happen. It was my motivation to become a professional soccer player.”
Nurse has personally raised over $10,000 for Susan G. Komen, and this year, the England-born midfielder stepped up as the face of a strong partnership between the Strikers and Susan G. Komen in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Nurse personally met with local Susan G. Komen executives to shape their partnership with the team.
“Being able to link Susan G. Komen with our club is huge for the community,” said the 30-year-old midfielder. “It’s important for people to know that our organization has players going through the same issues, and I think it creates a common bond between the players and the fans. Hopefully one day we can find a cure.”
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Nurse took the lead on an initiative that saw the Strikers wear special pink shirts during pregame warmups. After the match, the Strikers sold the shirts and all of the money went towards helping Juanita Chavez, the mother of Strikers defender Justin Chavez, who was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. Nurse has served as an important mentor for Chavez, having gone through the same thing 10 years ago with his own mother.
“When someone is diagnosed, it places a huge financial and emotional burden on the person and their family,” Nurse said. “I know the struggle that they go through, and I know that they need support.”
Nurse and his teammates are currently preparing for The Championship Final, where they will fight for Soccer Bowl glory against the San Antonio Scorpions this Saturday, November 15 at 7:30 p.m. CT at Toyota Field.