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Mamaroneck Man Uses Soccer Clinic to Battle Cancer

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Mamaroneck's Ben Foster will bring his soccer clinic, NOGA Soccer, back to Harbor Island April 18 to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) for a second year.

The 90-minute clinic is in honor of professional soccer player and the winner of the third season of the reality television show "Survivor," Ethan Zohn , who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2009. Despite going through chemotherapy that year, the cancer returned. He recently had his second stem-cell transplant and is still recovering.

"The guy is quite amazing," said Ellen Howse, a Larchmont resident who is on the board of the NYC chapter of LLS. "He was a professional soccer player, he coaches kids all the time, he has his own organization called Grassroots Soccer. He's a lymphoma survivor, so he really wanted to give back."

Last year, Zohn's girlfriend Jenna Morasca, a "Survivor" winner herself, volunteered for "Man and Woman of the Year," an annual LLS fundraising event in which candidates raise as much money as possible over 10 weeks. One of the ways she raised money was to hold a soccer benefit. Through Howse, they partnered with NOGA Soccer to create the NOGA Soccer "Survivor" Challenge at Harbor Island.

"Ben jumped on board, secured the field for us and donated all of the NOGA coaches' services for the day," said Howse, whose two children have both taken soccer lessons from him. "It was a really amazing community event. People really came out for it."

More than 40 kids signed up and the event, open to kids ages 5 to 11, and raised $3,000 for LLS, Howse said. This year, she said they hope to double that.

Wednesday's clinic will be from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Zohn, a former goalkeeper for Vassar College and several United Soccer League teams, intended to replicate last year's partnership between LLS and NOGA, but learned midway through that his cancer had returned.

"We sort of turned it on its head from being a partnership to, now we're doing it in his honor because he's fighting it again," Howse said. "It's a pretty powerful event for us."

To register is $40 per child in advance, and $45 at the event. Sal's Pizza, Boiano Bakery and Trader Joe's have donated food and beverages, and there will also be several soccer-related items for sale, including books Zohn has sent along, Howse said.

"For a guy who has been in so much treatment and been seriously ill, he said he will do whatever we need him to do," Howse said.

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