SHINING STAR: Make-A-Wish helps Trainor sign with LA Galaxy

Jake Trainor, center, signs a contract presented by LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, left, and team president Chris Klein. (Contributed/Kathryn Trainor)

Jake Trainor, center, signs a contract presented by LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, left, and team president Chris Klein. (Contributed/Kathryn Trainor)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

PELHAM — Like all great athletes, Pelham’s Jake Trainor has had to overcome a great deal of adversity to reach the top of his sport.

Trainor, 15, has seen both highs and lows in his 10-year soccer career. The Evangel Classical Christian student took home a YMCA championship in 2012 as a member of the Force, based out of Pelham. Trainor was diagnosed was acute T-Cell Leukemia in February of 2011 while living in Savannah, Ga, and just recently wrapped up three years of intense chemotherapy treatments.

“One of he hardest things was thinking Jake was going to be on the journey for the next three-and-a-half years,” his mother, Kathryn said.  “Your focus shifts. You realize what’s important and what’s not.”

While in chemotherapy, the Trainors were approached by members of the Make-A-Wish Foundation about doing something Jake might enjoy to signify the end of his chemotherapy. Jake asked to attend one of the Galaxy’s matches, and the foundation took over from there.

While Jake thought he was just going to be attending the match, the Galaxy had other plans in mind. Jake was shown a video from the players, welcoming him out to the team’s facilities.

Once in L.A., it was revealed that Jake was not just going to watch as a spectator, but would be signed to special contract to join the team as a player. He went through a special press conference where he inked an actual contract, presented to him by Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena.

Jake said he was left speechless.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It made me feel really important. It was great out there getting to know them.”

Jake went through all of the practices leading up to the team’s May 21 match against FC Dallas, receiving his own uniform and assigned number 15 on the roster. He and his family stood on the sidelines with the team during the match, where the Galaxy took a 2-1 win.
He also spent time with the team, including his favorite player Landon Donovan. Ted Trainor said the experience moved the family.

Jake said the experience left a mark on him, and that he encouraged those going through a tough time to keep on going.

“When I was first diagnosed, (we) came up with the saying ‘Face the pressure,’” he said. “I used that to help me get through. ‘(You) can get through it.’”