THE ANDREW BEDARD MEMORIAL “SPIRIT OF THE GAME” AWARD
“Of all the awards I’ve ever won, this one hits home the most. I was touched by Andrew’s story and receiving this honor means more to me than wins, losses, goals or anything else.”
Each year beginning in 2008, Earthquakes fans, through SSVCF, will honor an Earthquakes player who best exemplifies community service with the Andrew Bedard Memorial Spirit of the Game Award.
One of the great things about the Earthquakes is that they are champions not only on the pitch but off. They make fans proud by their service to the community, greatly transcending what we have become accustomed to with typical American sports stars. They befriend the fans, coach our kids, appear at neighborhood barbecues and support causes such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We fans help foster and maintain that spirit among the players with this award.
The award is named for Andrew Bedard, a young Earthquakes fan who passed away at age 8 in 2004 and who was a fan of former Earthquakes goalkeeper Pat Onstad. Andrew was one of those happy children who lined the fence for autographs, but mostly just wanted to see Onstad, who, along with defenders Craig Waibel and Jeff Agoos, and other players and their wives, stepped up to support Andrew’s family after his sudden death from an aneurysm.
Andrew’s favorite position was in goal. Even though he was a very young player, he seemed to understand the position and kept his heart up during a trying season. During the fall 2003 season, he was on a team that never won a game and didn’t even score until most of the games had been played. Yet he worked very hard to keep the other teams from scoring. After a tough game, his dad asked him how he felt. Andrew’s reply was, “I feel great! It doesn’t matter what the score is. If you have a great attitude, you are a winner.”
Andrew embodied the true “Sprit of the Game” with his attitude. It is this attribute of soccer which extends beyond the competition on the pitch that we want to recognize in the “Spirit of the Game” award bestowed by the fans in Andrew’s name.
From 2008 to 2015, the Bedard Award was presented at the SSVCF Annual Dinner. As of 2015, SSVCF and the Quakes have agreed that the Andrew Bedard award will henceforth be administered by the Earthquakes Community Foundation. Andrew’s plaque is now on display in Avaya stadium near the player tunnel.