Maddie Potts’ tragic death after a Chariho High soccer game stunned everyone last fall, and the Chariho community and other Rhode Island schools rallied after the 17-year-old senior’s sudden passing with vigils, memorials and celebrations of life in the following weeks.
Now, a Connecticut high school girls soccer coach, Bacon Academy’s Lee Elliott, whose Sept. 24 birthday was ironically the same the same day Potts collapsed on the field before attempting a penalty kick, is establishing a Maddie Potts Memorial Jamboree on Sept. 1.
Potts, a Chariho senior captain, was taken to Hasbro Children’s Hospital after collapsing and was later pronounced dead of a brain aneurysm.
The 17-year-old Richmond resident was in excellent health with no symptoms of brain injuries, adding to the inexplicable nature of her death.
“It gave me goose bumps when I followed the story,” Elliott said. “This hit me very hard as I could not imagine losing any one of the girls within my program.”
Chariho will make the trip to Colchester, Conn., to play host Bacon, Putnam and another team to be named in the preseason event. Elliott said several fundraising efforts are in place to support the Maddie Potts Foundation, a charitable organization the Potts family founded last winter to raise money for research and awareness on brain aneurysms.
Elliott, a native of Great Britain, is entering his third season as Bacon’s coach. The Bobcats won the ECC Division II title in 2017, his first season.
“I’m asking that our soccer family pulls together to raise as much money as we can through bake sales and whatever else we can think of, so that we can provide them a check at the conclusion of the tournament,” Elliot said. “Maddie’s jersey number was 11, so this number will not be worn at this jamboree.”
Elliott said the tournament format will be round-robin.
“Every team will play another for a certain time period, maybe a half,” Elliott said. “The Colchester community will get behind it. The idea is to support this cause to the point where it will snowball and will become an annual event.”
Elliott asked the Potts family and Chariho if such a memorial tournament would be welcome.
“I followed the story very closely and reached out to the foundation, the school and asked if we could do something for them,” Elliott said. “It will be an annual memorial tournament, with the location changing every year. This tournament is to raise not only money for the foundation that has been set up in her name but also to raise awareness.”