Saving balls Cavalry Carducci's focus both on and off-field

Helping raise funds to combat testicular cancer close to Calgary goalkeeper’s heart

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Marco Carducci is out to “save a bunch of balls this year …”

Both literally and figuratively.

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On the field, it’s the Calgarian’s job — of course — to guard the Cavalry FC net, stopping any soccer balls that are driven its way.

And off the field, the superstar goalkeeper is on a mission to prevent testicular cancer — something he’s experienced first-hand as a survivor of the disease — with the help Calgary-based registered charity Oneball.

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“Nuts, balls, family jewels …” said Carducci to open his YouTube launch of his ‘Saving Oneball at a Time’ fundraiser. “Whatever you call them, they’re often funny … until you find a lump.”

That happened to Carducci in February 2022, after which he drew immediate medical help and leaned on the support of Oneball, which focuses on victims of testicular cancer and was founded and is run by survivors of the disease.

Two years later — and healthy ones at that — the Cavalry goalie is giving back by raising funds for the city organization.

For every save he makes this season — including in Friday night’s Canadian Premier League game for Cavalry (0W-2D-1L) against incoming Vancouver FC (2-0-1) at ATCO Field (7 p.m., OneSoccer, — he’s asking fans to donate a per-save contribution via pledge.

“Yeah … so we’re doing a save-a-thon style of a fundraiser for every save that I make or is made by any goalkeeper playing in Cavalry’s goal,” Carducci said. “Let’s say you want to donate $2 a save and I make 73 saves — like I did last year — then that’s $146.

“We’re hoping it blows up here with the Cavalry supporters and the fans and the football community here but also beyond with the entire Canadian community.”

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He hopes to raise $15,000 from the initiative, which went live earlier this month and has already garnered more than $2,000.

“Oneball does incredible work,” Carducci said. “They provide patient financial assistance. They fund research. And they promote the advocacy awareness, which is so important.”

Carducci found out just how much during his cancer scare two years ago.

After enduring discomfort ‘down there’, he sought out medical assistance.

And once the discovery was made, the medical experts quickly got to work on his situation. Less than 48 hours from his diagnosis on Feb. 16, 2022, Carducci was through surgery and back home in recovery.

And that recovery included help from Oneball, for which he’s thankful.

It’s allowed him to get back to the game he loves and continue playing it at a world-class level.

“I think last year was a big year for me, growth-wise,” Carducci said. “There were ups and downs throughout the whole year. It was first year as the captain of the team, and stepping into that new role was significant. And then I think I matured a lot as a goalkeeper. To be able to lift that Canadian Premier League Shield was a big up. And then to fall short in the final (in a 2-1 championship loss to Forge FC), when I felt I could have played better, that hurt.

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“So I think when I look back, I reflect a lot on all those things. But I’m grateful, because I think I have improved a bunch and I feel like I have grown into some roles as a more senior player.

“The goals are always the same, though,” continued Carducci. “I want to add another trophy to my cabinet case, which is another (and third) Golden Glove (as the CPL’s top goalie). And we have all these metrics of clean-sheets and keeping our goals-against under certain numbers. But at the end of the day, I want to keep improving and I want to keep developing, and I think I have a lot to give still.

“So this is another year for me to show that.”

In this his sixth season, he’s off to a good start.

He’s conceded just three goals in four games since the post-Concacaf campaign began and has made three saves in league action.

And Carducci is running hot with two consecutive clean-sheets at ATCO Field — earned against Vancouver FC in a 1-0 Canadian Championship victory 10 days ago and in last Sunday’s nil-nil draw with Pacific FC.

So he hopes you’ll join him in continuing to steer balls clear of the Cavalry net …

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For a good cause.

“The whole purpose of it is just making it interactive,” Carducci said. “Again, ‘Saving balls and saving balls’ is a thing that I think is a little bit of a play on words — and I think humour is very important here.

“But being able to talk about it is the most important thing here,” added Carducci. “And that’s one thing that Oneball does. And that was one thing that was so important for me was being public about what happened.

“I’m really optimistic about this fundraiser, and we’re going to try and have a lot of fun with it. We’re just going to try and save some balls.”


Cavalry defender Callum Montgomery (foot) and midfielder Jesse Daley (leg) have both been cleared to return to the lineup … Teammate and defender Eryk Kobza (pinched nerve) is doubtful after missing Sunday’s nil-nil draw with Vancouver FC … And Cavs midfielder Maël Henry (hamstring) remains out for at least another month.

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