Issaquah High School 2018 graduate Claudia Longo has always loved the town she’s called home more than anything.
The Issaquah community displayed their affinity for Longo throughout the duration of the Issaquah/Lake Stevens playoff game on Oct. 30 at Issaquah High School.
Longo, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the spring of 2018, was honored by the community with an event titled “Kick MS with Claudia” to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Issaquah players wore orange socks and orange arm bands honoring Longo. In addition, the game ball was orange. Longo, who earned a full athletic scholarship to play soccer at the University of Washington, addressed the crowd at halftime. Longo took the fall quarter off at UW and is redshirting this season with the Huskies women’s soccer program.
“We got an incredible amount of support from parents, coaches and players. Everyone just rallied around this. I think it’s something much bigger than myself, it is something for the MS community and raises awareness. It is really cool to see the whole community come together,” Longo said.
Longo was overwhelmed from the outpouring of support.
“It is truly special. I have said it before and I will say it again, this place is my home. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else,” Longo said of Issaquah.
Longo, who is an assistant coach with the Eagles soccer team this season, is throughly enjoying the experience of guiding high school soccer players.
“It is definitely different. I have never had a coaching job like this before. Taking a step back and looking at the tactical side of things and getting to know the players in a different light is really cool. It is really fun coaching alongside some great coaches and fantastic players. This program has given me so much and obviously I wanted to come back and give back to it,” Longo said.
The University of Washington women’s soccer team attended the game in support of Longo. At halftime, the UW players made their way through the stands collecting money for the event, collecting $2,504 in the “miracle minute” timeframe. As of Oct. 31, a total of $7,654.79 has been raised. Those still wishing to donate have an opportunity to do so until Nov. 6 by visiting https://web.issaquah.wednet.edu/Touchbase/signin.aspx
Issaquah Eagles girls soccer head coach Kyle Tatro was thrilled to see the entire community rally around one of their own.
“I think it’s really special. It just shows you the kind of pride and tradition that runs really deep here at this school,” Tatro said. “Having her as a coach is a great addition to our program. She adds fire and a competitive spirit to our team.”