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10-year-old 'officially' becomes youngest member of SLU Billikens women's soccer team

Avery Ponzar of Festus has become an official Billiken's while courageously battling a genetic mutation

ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis University Women's Soccer, will hold a special Draft Day celebration for 10-year-old Avery Ponzar of Festus, Sunday at the Chaifetz Arena. Aver was diagnosed in 2015 with a genetic mutation.

As the team's top recruit, Ponzar will become an official member of the Women's Soccer team. As a team member, Avery will attend Billiken's practices, games, team dinners, events, and more. At today's ceremony, Avery will sign an official Letter of Intent and receive a team locker and jersey.

The signing is taking place thanks to Boston-headquartered national nonprofit Team IMPACT, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing serious and chronic illnesses through the power of the team.

Team IMPACT connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes. Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched more than 1,500 children with more than 500 colleges and universities in 48 states, reaching over 50,000 participating student-athletes. The child joins the athletic team and the student-athletes join the child's support team. Throughout the journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie and support while the student-athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency and perspective they can't learn in a classroom.

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