MUSKEGON — Reeths-Puffer will host the first Purple Game in soccer Thursday evening when the Rockets play host to rival Mona Shores. The Purple Game will promote donations to VanAndel Institute in Grand Rapids for cancer research.
The Rockets have held Purple Games in other sports in the past, such as basketball and wrestling, but this will be the first time the event spreads to soccer.
“Our coach, Keith Knapp, asked us at the beginning of the season if we’d be willing to take on the soccer game,” Amy Yarian, who will help put on the event, said.
The soccer team’s manager, who travels with the team and takes pictures, and who Yarian said has “sort of been taken in as part of the team,” is battling lymphoma. The team manager’s battle was the impetus for the soccer team to hold a Purple Game. The Rockets will wear purple jerseys Thursday night that each say “No One Fights Alone” on the back.
There will also be purple t-shirts available for sale before the game at Reeths-Puffer High School or on game day. Anyone who purchases a shirt for $10 will be given admission to the contest for no extra charge.
Other purple-themed items available for sale Thursday night will include cotton candy and bracelets. Yarian said all the proceeds will go to VanAndel Institute.
The institute will also have a presence at the game, as a stand will be set up where scientists at VanAndel will be available to answer any questions fans may have about their role in fighting cancer.
Yarian said the reasons R-P picked the Mona Shores game for the event are the Sailors’ proximity to Reeths-Puffer and because the rivalry contest is often the highest-attended soccer game of the season. Rockets’ and Sailors’ fans alike will be encouraged to wear the purple shirts and support the cause of fighting cancer.
“It was an obvious choice,” Yarian said.