Kylie Cummings hasn’t been in Loudoun County for the USYS Eastern Regional Championships, but she’s been front and center on the minds and hearts of her teammates on Penn Alliance Select.
Cummings underwent surgery last week to remove a rare cancerous tumor near her heart discovered by doctors after a visit to urgent care following the team’s loss in the state cup final in May. Though they came up short in the state final, the 2009 girls qualified for regionals through league play.
Losing Kylie for regionals has been a shock for her teammates, coaches and especially her family.
“It’s been a shock to all of us,” her mom Laurie Cummings said. “But it’s been really awesome the support that these girls have shown toward her and the families have shown toward us.”
Cummings, who lives in Harleysville, joined the Penn Alliance Select team last fall and immediately found a community on and off the field.
“You could not ask for a better group of girls for your daughter to be a part of,” Laurie said. “They just all want to win for her and they want to see her back soon.”
Kylie’s teammates and coaches have been wearing pink bands with her jersey number 7 in white on their shins in Loudoun County. So far they’ve won all three of their games 2-0 and will play in the quarterfinals on Monday.
“Every time we score we’ve been holding up sevens for her,” Stella McDonnell said. “We’ve just made sure to send her as much love as we can and she’s definitely influenced us to play our best. We’ve come out so strong knowing that this is for her. All of these games we’re dedicating to her.”
Kylie has been following along from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and communicating with her teammates through Zoom. Laurie said she’s recovering well from her surgery and will be undergoing five weeks of radiation.
“We’re not just playing to win, we’re playing for Kylie,” said head coach Chris Williams. “For us this is more than a tournament, it’s more than a game.”
Pictured below from left to right: Kylie Cummings in an NCS State Cup semifinal game in May, Myree Jean-Brian with the pink No. 7 band on her left shin in a game on Saturday and Stella McDonnell with the pink No. 7 band in a game on Sunday.