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High school girls soccer game to benefit family of St. Cloud boy

Posted on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 6:00 am

By Rachel Christian
Staff Writer
The Harmony and St. Cloud girls’ soccer teams are coming together Friday, Dec. 8 for a good cause – and they’re asking for support from the surrounding community.
On Oct. 18, tragedy struck a St. Cloud family when 11-year-old James Vega was killed in a fire that engulfed his trailer park home.
Jim Larisa, a Harmony resident and president-elect of the St. Cloud Rotary Club, works at a Goodwill store with Vega’s mother. When Larisa told his daughter, Lindsay, about the fatal accident, the Harmony High School student felt compelled
to help.
“I wasn’t sure what we could do, but I wanted to do something,” she said.
Larisa plays center midfield on the girls’ soccer team, and after a quick glance at the season schedule, the teenager came up with an idea.
She got together with her soccer coach, Scott Marlega, and the two decided to make the Harmony-St.Cloud rivalry match a benefit game for the St. Cloud boy.
All of the concession stand and ticket sale proceeds from the upcoming game will go directly to a fund established for the Vega family.
As soon as Larisa and Marlega got approval from the Harmony High School administration, the student and coach got to work promoting the event. They hung fliers around the school, spoke to clubs and organizations on campus, and reached out to the St. Cloud Soccer Club for support in filling the stands this Friday.
“We are trying to make this as big of a community event as possible,”
Marlega said.
Organizers have also reached out to Vega’s classmates, and are trying to arrange for the students to walk onto the field with the teams at the beginning of the game. Local leaders and first responders present on the night of the fire are also expected to be in attendance.
Larisa said the girls’ soccer team doesn’t tend to draw large crowds for most of their games, but said she thinks this one will be different.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how many people come out to support it,” she said. “We’re hoping for a big turnout.”
The game will take place at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at Harmony High School. There is a $5 donation.