BEVERLY, Mass. — The Endicott men's soccer team is proud to announce the signing of their newest Gull teammate, Jack Garis.
The team officially introduced Jack to the Endicott community on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 in a pregame ceremony where Jack served as an honorary captain for the team's season opener against No. 16 NSCAA nationally-ranked Calvin College.
Paired with the Team IMPACT program, the Endicott men's soccer team and head coach Joe Calabrese have welcomed Jack and his family into the Endicott community with open arms.
"We're extremely excited Jack decided to become a member of our team," said Endicott head coach Joe Calabrese, "There's no question about it in my mind that Jack will make a positive impact on our team. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Jack and the entire Garis family."
Jack, 12, of North Andover, Mass., is the son of Dan and Tobie Garis and has one younger sister, Maddie, 9.
Diagnosed with Noonan Syndrome at birth, Jack is a sixth grader at North Andover Middle School where he participates in occupational, physical and speech therapies each week.
Noonan Syndrome is an inherited genetic condition that affects many different areas of the body and occurs in approximately 1 to 1,000 to 2,500 people.
As part of his physical therapy he participates in Hippotherapy – horseback riding. Jack also enjoys taking swimming lessons, loves adaptive skiing and recently took a cooking class.
"We are thrilled for Jack to have the opportunity to be included on the Endicott men's soccer team!" said his mother, Tobie, in a family statement sent to the team. "Given physical and developmental limitations, playing on a conventional soccer team is challenging for Jack, so this is a wonderful opportunity for him to be able to socialize and be part of a group!"
Team IMPACT's mission is to improve the quality of life for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. The program pairs children up with local athletic teams to provide them with team-based support networks, in doing so the team then becomes the child's support system.
If you know a child facing a life-threatening or chronic illness, be sure to check out the Team IMPACT website at www.goteamimpact.org
1. What does it mean to you to have Jack join the Endicott Men's Soccer family?
Having Jack become a member of our Endicott Men's Soccer family is truly an inspirational and motivating addition to our team. Jack is a courageous teammate who is constantly adapting and overcoming the obstacles of Noonan Syndrome. Looking at Jack and having him there to cheer our team on only gives the players on the field something even greater to play for. Jack's presence is uplifting and it gives us that little extra fight to help us push through a tough game. Jack has been an unbelievable addition to our family and I know the bond will only get stronger.
2. How will your commitment to Team IMPACT help you on the soccer field?
Having Team IMPACT pair us with Jack greatly put a new perspective on how we view our on the field fight. We will always now have Jack to play for and each of us will try our absolute hardest to leave it all on the field. Jack is always in the back of our minds and he gives us the ability to always strive for greatness. Jack is a role model for our team and I know every single player looks up to him. He defines what it means to overcome adversity and we are now able to apply that on the field allowing us to work even harder and achieve what we didn't think was possible. We are truly blessed to have Jack as a member of our team.
3. Specifically, what sorts of activities/opportunities do you guys have planned to further the relationship with Jack and his family?
To further our relationship with Jack and his family we have been talking about a few different opportunities. For this week, Jack and his family are going to come back to Endicott and eat a team meal with us at our dining hall. Tobie has also invited some of us to her house for dinner in the near future. We would also like to support Jack in something he does. Jack likes riding horses so we are trying to plan a time for us to go watch and support him. Other than those opportunities we are taking it day-by-day and staying in contact with Jack and his family to plan more activities.
4. How did Jack joining your team come about?
We knew about Team IMPACT because a few teams on our campus have been a part of it and we have seen the numerous benefits it brings to both the team and the newly signed teammate. The idea had been brought up a few times during our spring season and in one of our final meetings Coach Cal had us raise our hands if we wanted to be a part of Team IMPACT. It was a unanimous yes and that was the beginning. Coach Cal did some behind the scenes work and we were then put into contact with Mary Welker, who is a regional manager for Team IMPACT. Mary then partnered us up with Jack on May 5, 2015. Unfortunately, that was the end of the school year and we were leaving for the summer but many of us sent emails to Tobie and Jack introducing ourselves. Over the summer Tommy Martin worked at Canobie Lake Park and reached out to Jack and his family about coming to the park for the day. Tommy was the first to meet him in the middle of the summer but, unfortunately, the rest of us were unable to make it for that day. Then once preseason hit in late August we invited Jack to Endicott to meet seven of us and show him around the campus. Jack and his mother Tobie came for a couple hours and we had a good time. We mentioned to Tobie that we would love to honor Jack at our first game against Calvin College and have him walk out on the field and she was all for the idea. Now we have our newest Gull on the team.
Getting to Know Jack Garis
- Favorite number: 16
- Favorite color: Purple
- Favorite foods: Chicken nuggets and ice cream
- Favorite TV show: Sponge Bob
- Favorite singer: Justin Bieber (although he just says that to be funny!)
- Hobbies: Swimming, playing with the dogs, going to the beach, horseback riding, kicking soccer balls, flying kites, blowing bubbles and cooking (especially baking cookies!)
- Pets: Black lab Meg, yellow lab Molly