Five years ago, Atticus Lane-Dupre led his soccer team to a 10-9 defeat of the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Many professional players would consider winning against the Timbers, who took home the 2015 MLS Cup title, a significant achievement.
Lane-Dupre, however, wasn’t a pro soccer star at the time of his victory. He wasn’t even eligible for a driver’s license. In fact, he was only eight years old–albeit an eight-year-old with exceptional bravery and talent.
In late 2011, doctors diagnosed Lane-Dupre with kidney cancer. During treatment, he wished that his youth soccer team, the Green Machine, could play a game against the Timbers. Lane-Dupre’s dream became a reality thanks to Make-A-Wish Oregon, who partnered with the Timbers to arrange a match.
For Lane-Dupre, the game wasn’t a farewell to soccer, but rather a celebration of his recovery. On game day, May 1, 2013, his doctors had declared Lane-Dupre to be in remission after rounds of surgery and chemotherapy.
“The game occurred just when he was really getting better,” explained Bert Dupre, Lane-Dupre’s father. “So, that was an awesome celebration. He was done with chemo, he was feeling better and the whole city celebrated with us.”
3,000 fans showed up to cheer Lane-Dupre at Jeld-Wen Stadium as his team walked shoulder-to-shoulder with the Timbers onto the field. Lane-Dupre ultimately contributed four goals to the Green Machine’s effort, including the tiebreaker at the end of the match.
Now a 13-year-old middle school student at Mt. Tabor, Lane-Dupre still cherishes memories from his experience with the Timbers. “I remember the morning,” Lane-Dupre told The Oregonian. “All my friends, we were out on the blacktop before school and then the limo pulled up and we all just ran over and were really excited. The rest of the day is kind of a blur.”
The Timbers have continued to remain in contact with Lane-Dupre. In 2015, the club paid for Lane-Dupre and his family to attend the MLS Cup title match in Columbus, Ohio. The Timbers won the game to claim their first MLS Cup title. “That was really fun,” Lane-Dupre recalls. “We got to stay at the same hotel as the players. . . . I would go down and get hot chocolate and I would say hi to the players.”
“We just feel so embraced by the Timbers and the Timbers Army,” added Jennifer Lane, Lane-Dupre’s mom.