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Nickerson soccer team honors late player with No. 8 jersey

Hadley Nelson overcame so much to root on her team despite her battle with cancer. After her death in October, her team wears No. 8 in her honor.
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 10:29 PM CDT
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NICKERSON, Kan. (KWCH) - It has been a full year since Hadley Nelson suited up for a Nickerson Panthers soccer game. Hadley died in October following a battle with bone cancer. She was 16.

Now, her teammates are honoring her in what would’ve been her junior season by bringing her No. 8 jersey along for the ride.

“No. 8 is always gonna mean something to me. I’m always gonna remember her and I’m always gonna be able to look at that number and be like, that was my teammate and I grew up with her. She was just a really good friend and it was just great to be a part of her team,” said teammate and Nickerson junior, Brooklyn Perry.

The Panthers team made a jump from only two wins last year to 7 this year. Players and coaches say Hadley has been a big motivator for the team - on and off the field.

“I hope that the girls really take that intensity through the rest of their lives. Because that was something that was really important to Hadley as she never lost her intensity for life,” said Heather Nelson, Hadley’s mother.

And everyone feels this Nickerson team has one extra fan looking down on them.

“She’s got some pretty special ones out there. Some seniors that really took her under their wing and loved her. Some really close bonds that she’s made with these girls. They’re all pretty special,” said Nelson.

“I know she’s here for every game, not just, you know, the jersey representing but I know her heart’s still in this field.”

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