For the first time in a long time, Jackie and Rob McCoy visited Yankton Trail Park to watch a soccer game.
As they watched the u12 boys play a friendly, they couldn’t help but think of their own son.
“I keep thinking he’s out there somewhere and kind of looking for him. But yet, knowing that he’s not here,” Jackie McCoy said, holding back tears.
Jackie and Rob McCoy’s son Dane McCoy played alongside the 2010 boys before the 11-year-old’s death in a snowmobile accident on Feb. 17.
On Friday night, Dane’s teammates took to the pitch once again, this time in his honor.
“Dane was active in a lot of things, and soccer was just one of those things he gravitated towards. He liked the sport,” said Rob McCoy.
Every player during the game wore the number 8 shirt with Dane’s name on it, and at halftime a plaque was presented to the McCoy family from the 2010 u12 boys team and Dakota Alliance Soccer Club.
“The number 8 will no longer be offered as a number to be worn by a member of the 2010 boys, rather it’ll be a number worn in the hearts and memories of those who had the honor and privilege to play alongside, coached and cheered for Dane McCoy, “said Frank Gurnick, director of soccer operations for the Dakota Alliance.
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More than 100 people were present to see the presentation. The McCoy family told the Argus Leader that the outpouring of support for them has been unreal, and although it hurts them to be on the field where their son once enjoyed the sport, it’s also helping them heal.
“As giving as everybody is, you would give everything back for just one more moment to see him on the field,” Rob McCoy said.
Dane McCoy’s teammates had the opportunity Friday to play without pressure. It wasn’t a competitive game but rather one for joy. Both teams scored multiple goals and took time on the sidelines to plan their next elaborate celebrations.
One of which included the goal scorer pretending to take a photo of his teammates who all posed while pointing to the name and number behind their jerseys.
As the boys continued playing, the McCoy family watched. They laughed at times and other times cried as friends and family surrounded them.
“This isn’t fun for us, but it’s just what we need to help get us through because nothing’s easy. But you don’t get through it by yourself,” Rob McCoy said.
Former coach also honored
Opposite of Dane McCoy’s name and number on the jerseys was also the initials “TU” for former Dakota Alliance Soccer Club coach Tim Umfleet, who died Dec. 16 at the age of 38.
Zach Bartels, head coach of the 2010 boys, said Umfleet was a caring person and a mentor to him personally who loved what he did. And he loved the kids.
“He was extremely driven and cared about the boys like they were his own kids,” Bartels said.
Since Umfleet played a big part in the development of many of the 2010 players, it’s been a difficult task to step into his former role, Bartels said.
“Losing a mentor and their biggest role model is tough, and to fill those shoes, I don’t think I could fully fill them but I’m doing my best,” Bartels said.
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