My name is Jake Connellan and thank you for taking the time to read this.
I am a Junior at wall high school and I currently play Soccer for Wall High School. I also play for the Wall SC Sting (U18) Travel Team coached by Michael Turtle.
In 2015, My friend, Michael Oehlmann was diagnosed with lymphoma. I took this news very hard as Mike had always been a great support to me and my playing soccer. Mike is that guy, the one who is always upbeat, always positive and always pushing everyone to “be the best you”.
For those who don’t know Mike, you are surely missing out. Mike has been a lifelong soccer player, playing soccer at Rowan University where he was the Keeper, Division 3 Goal Keeper of the year and two time All American. Mike was inducted into the Rowan University Hall of Fame.
After graduating college, Mike went on to be a New Jersey State Trooper, which is where I met him when I was three years old. Mike became a mentor to me in Soccer as well as a good Friend. When I suffered a very serious injury to my leg in 2013, I was not sure I was going to be able to play anymore, or even if I wanted to. Mike stayed in constant contact with me, even asking if I wanted to train with him and take shots on a “Legend” when I was able to. MIke helped me find my passion for the game again. He kept me motivated, pushing me to be a better player and person and made me realize in soccer, we are never alone.
We all stand by each other regardless of what jersey we wear.
When my Mom broke the news to me about Mike’s illness, I immediately picked up the phone and called him and let him know as a DEFENDER, I will have his back, I will defend him, the KEEPER. Just as he did for me. He needed to know My family and I would do anything we could to support him through the daunting process of treatments he was about to go through.
We then put it out to both the NJ State Police community as well as the soccer community asking for them to help us show him how much he was loved, how many lives he has made better and to know we all stood behind him.
The color of Lymphoma awareness is Lime green. I have and will continue to wear this color in all my High School Soccer games and running events since his diagnosis, treatment and now, thankfully, his clean bill of health.
IN 2015 AT My High School team’s final game of the season, we all wore green ribbons painted on our arms. Mike was able to make it to see all of us playing in his honor, it made him realize my word was true.
NO PLAYER GETS LEFT BEHIND.
We had such an overwhelming amount of support our first year, Mike was able to come and spend the day, surrounded by soccer. Players from all over the State of New Jersey, all different ages, celebrating the one Man and his love for the game of SOCCER.
Moving forward, My Sister, Courtney (Wall SC U14 Galaxy) as well as Mike will be helping me keep Defend The Keeper’s mission alive.
My home club, the Wall Soccer Club has been helping us each year to make DTK bigger and better.
On Friday, November 24th, 2017, Please join Mike, Courtney and I as we welcome everyone, regardless of team, sport or club affiliation and help support our mission of “NO PLAYER GETS LEFT BEHIND”. A day where we all wear the same color jersey, standing together, as one team.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope to see you there!
Wall Soccer Club U18 Sting
Wall Soccer Club U14 Galaxy