New Brunswick

Girls' soccer team dedicates provincial title to late teammate

A girls' soccer team in New Brunswick has dedicated its provincial championship win to a teammate who died last month from anaphylaxis and is working to raise awareness about the allergic condition in her honour.

Caroline Lorette, 14, died from an allergic reaction in July and her team hopes to raise anaphylaxis awareness

Fundy Soccer Association's Under 14 AA girls' team won the provincial championships on Sunday and dedicated their win to late teammate Caroline Lorette. (Submitted)

A girls' soccer team in Rothesay overcame tragedy on Sunday to become provincial champions, just weeks after a teammate died from anaphylaxis.

The Fundy Soccer Association's Under-14 AA team dedicated its bittersweet win to the late Caroline Lorette, and is now working to raise awareness about anaphylaxis.

Caroline died from a severe allergic reaction to a dairy product on July 9, just days after she turned 14.

"All we really wanted to do was bring a result back for Caroline," said coach Kiko Mengual. "The team put together a performance we hadn't seen all year," he said.

Mengual presented Caroline's championship medal to her parents in the crowd.

"I kind of just went over after everything was done and handed it to them. It was emotional. Still hard," he said.

Mengual's wife, Jane Mengual, is now leading an anaphylaxis education campaign, using the colour purple.

"It was Caroline's favourite colour and it was fun and happy go lucky like she was, but there's a stronger message of the allergy awareness is what we wanted to put behind it," said Mengual, who is also a team volunteer.

The team has raised $3,200 since a fundraising game two weeks ago, and is supporting a Sweet Caroline scholarship campaign encouraging students to educate each other, she said.

"Let's really work together and make our school and our community one of the most allergy safe in Canada."

The team also plans to hold a tournament next year dubbed Sweet Caroline in her honour.

"She was so sweet," said Laura Small, who played midfield alongside Caroline.

"She always thought about others and put them above herself. She was so nice."

Small says it's been a difficult two months for the team. A number of games were cancelled after Caroline's death and they relied on each other to finish out the season in her memory, she said.

"There was a lot of hugging and crying. We were just all there for each other and it felt good to be surrounded by all of our teammates."

Small and her teammates are hoping the awareness campaign will help ensure no other team has to go through what they've been through.