WASHINGTON (ABC7) — While playoff-bound D.C. United practiced Wednesday, 47-year-old Jonathan Agin warmed up on a nearby field for a unique showdown with one of the team's goalkeepers, Travis Worra.
Agin, a dad from Falls Church, played collegiately a generation ago for John Carroll University in Cleveland.
“There was a time when I was half-way pretty decent at shooting penalty kicks and that era is long gone,” Agin said.
This time, he’s kicking for a cause near and dear to him that’s always present in his life.
“I lost my daughter Alexis back in January 2011 to a terminal and inoperable brain tumor called DIPG," Agin said.
Diagnosed at 2, Alexis Agin died two weeks shy of her 5th birthday.
“Alexis, she’s the reason I’m out here,” Agin said.
After her death, her dad quit practicing law full time to run The Max Cure Foundation, a non-profit that helps families financially while their children undergo cancer treatments.
“In the past we’ve helped save families from being evicted or paid for utility bills,” Agin said.
To honor Alexis and raise money, Agin hatched a plan that United’s keeper was happy to support.
“No, I don’t want you to go easy. Absolutely not,” Agin said to Worra just before the event began.
Donor’s pledged dollars for every successful penalty shot against Worra. Agin would take 10 total shots. Some donor’s pledged based on Agin goals, others on Agin misses.
He had two goals after three attempts.
“You know. If I don’t score another one. I’ll take it," Agin said.
He had four goals after six attempts. Although number six ended up in the parking lot.
“Over the fence and on somebody’s car,” yelled Agin, after botching that kick.
Agin recovered, drilling home his final four attempts.
“This old man can still play!” Agin said.
Agin says the event raised more than $25,000 for his non-profit. Agin adds that the non-profit Soccer for the Future will also benefit from this event.
Worra congratulated Agin for his skills saying, “He had great technique. He’s striking the ball well. He went bar down a couple times.”
For Worra, this also was personal. Teammate Chris Odoi-Atsem was recently diagnosed with early stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“It’s now very close to home personally," Worra said. "All of us in the locker room. Chris is our brother. We want to help him out. Every small thing that we can do for him and others in the community is going to make a difference."
Agin says he never imagined scoring eight out of 10 against a pro. He can only credit his success to a daughter who remains by his side.
“I felt like I could count on Alexis being present and helping me. She was right there with me, shooting, every step of the way,” Agin said.