Saving balls Cavalry FC’s Marco Carducci’s approach both on and off the field

Help raise funds to fight testicular cancer close to Calgary goalie’s heart

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Marco Carducci wants to “save a lot of balls this year…”

Both literally and figuratively.

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On the field, the Calgarian’s job is, of course, to protect the Cavalry FC net, stopping any soccer balls that come towards it.

And off the field, the superstar goalkeeper is on a mission to prevent testicular cancer, something he experienced first-hand as a survivor of the disease, with the help of Calgary-based registered charity Oneball.

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“Nuts, balls, family jewels…” Carducci said when opening the YouTube launch of his ‘Saving one ball at a time‘fundraising. “Whatever you call them, they’re often fun…until you find a lump.”

That happened to Carducci in February 2022, after which he sought immediate medical help and was supported by Oneball, which focuses on victims of testicular cancer and was founded and run by survivors of the disease.

Two years later, and healthy at that, the Cavalry goalkeeper is giving back by raising funds for the city organization.

For every save he makes this season, including in Friday night’s Canadian Premier League game for Cavalry (0W-2D-1L) against incoming Vancouver FC (2-0-1) at ATCO Field (7 p.m., OneSoccer, OneSoccer.ca) — is asking fans to donate a contribution for every save through a pledge.

“Yeah…so we’re doing a save-a-thon style thing to raise money for every save I make or any goalie who plays in the Cavalry’s net makes,” Carducci said. “Let’s say you want to donate $2 for savings and I make 73 savings, like I did last year, so that’s $146.

“We hope this blows up here with the Cavalry supporters, the fans and the soccer community here, but also beyond with the entire Canadian community.”

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He hopes to raise $15,000 with the initiative, which launched earlier this month and has already raised more than $2,000.

“Oneball does an amazing job,” Carducci said. “They provide financial assistance to patients. They finance research. And they promote awareness about advocacy, which is very important.”

Carducci found out how much during the cancer scare two years ago.

After enduring discomfort “down there,” he sought medical assistance.

And once the discovery was made, medical experts quickly got to work on his situation. Less than 48 hours after his diagnosis on February 16, 2022, Carducci underwent surgery and returned home recovering.

And that recovery included help from Oneball, for which he’s grateful.

It has allowed him to return to the game he loves and continue playing at a world-class level.

“I think last year was a great year for me, growth-wise,” Carducci said. “There were ups and downs throughout the year. It was his first year as team captain and taking on that new role was significant. And then I think I matured a lot as a goalkeeper. Being able to lift that Canadian Premier League shield was a great achievement. And then coming up short in the final (in a 2-1 championship loss to Forge FC), when I felt like I could have played better, it hurt.

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“I think when I look back, I reflect a lot on all those things. But I’m grateful, because I think I’ve improved a lot and I feel like I’ve grown in some roles as an older player.

“However, the objectives are always the same,” Carducci continued. “I want to add another trophy to my cabinet, which is another (and third) Golden Glove (as top goalkeeper in the CPL). And we have all these metrics of clean sheets and keeping our goals against under certain numbers. But at the end of the day, I want to keep improving and I want to keep developing, and I think I still have a lot to give.

“So this is another year to prove it.”

In this its sixth season, it is off to a good start.

They have conceded just three goals in four games since the post-Concacaf campaign began and have made three saves in league action.

And Carducci is doing well with two consecutive clean sheets at ATCO Field, earned against Vancouver FC in a 1-0 Canadian Championship win 10 days ago and in last Sunday’s goalless draw against Pacific FC.

So he hopes you’ll join him in continuing to keep the balls away from the Cavalry net…

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For a good cause.

“The only purpose is to make it interactive,” Carducci said. “Again, ‘Saving balls and saving balls’ is something that I think is a play on words, and I think humor is very important here.

“But being able to talk about it is the most important thing here,” Carducci added. “And that’s something Oneball does. And that was something very important for me: to make public what happened.

“I’m very optimistic about this fundraiser and we’re going to try to have a lot of fun with it. “We’re just going to try to save some balls.”

FREE SHOTS

Cavalry defender Callum Montgomery (foot) and midfielder Jesse Daley (leg) have been cleared to return to the lineup… Teammate and defender Eryk Kobza (pinched nerve) is doubtful after missing the 0-0 draw Sunday against Vancouver FC… And Cavs midfielder Maël Henry (hamstring) will remain out for at least another month.

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