TUCSON, Ariz — There are pink pinnies at Pima women's soccer practice, and while they are a coincidence, they are apropos.
Pima coach Kendra Veliz has been part of the soccer community for decades.
"She's wonderful," said sophomore Brianna Lewis. "She loves soccer. She's passionate. She's everything you want in a coach."
But in the spring of 2018, Veliz was feeling ill.
"When I finally got in to see my doctor, the symptoms had grown," said Veliz.
Feliz was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I thought, I am going to do what I can until I can't," said Veliz.
Veliz underwent five months of chemotherapy, surgery, and five weeks of radiation.
"She coached through it in the sun with us the entire time," said Lewis. "She was so strong thought it."
"She just took it straight on," said Pima men's coach David Cosgrove. "She never complained, or said a word."
Veliz didn't miss a game during Pima's 2018 season, and barely missed a practice.
"If she could be out there, we could do anything," said Lewis.
"What a role model as well for the girls on the team, and honestly, she inspired the men's team as well," said Cosgrove.
Cosgrove had pink shirts made with the initials "KV" and the men's team also wore them on their way to last year's Junior College division one championship.
Today, Kendra Veliz is cancer-free and leading the Aztecs in teh 2019 season.
"I don't want to glorify anything because so many people go through it," said Veliz.
"I'm so happy she's cleared," added Lewis. "Everything is good and her health is going up, and her hair is growing back, and she looks so cute with her curly hair."
"To come out on top is a great ending to a very difficult story," added Cosgrove.