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    NU Men's Soccer focuses on professional development and giving back

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM NU student-athletes network with Leo Burnett employees.
    NU student-athletes network with Leo Burnett employees.

    April 30, 2013

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    The Northwestern University men's soccer team hosted its third-annual networking event at the Chicago office of Leo Burnett Company on Friday, February 8th. Alumni of the program, as well as current student-athletes, spent Friday evening on the 21st floor of the legendary advertising agency, enjoying appetizers, learning about Leo Burnett, and interacting with one another using a speed networking format. The following day, current student-athletes and alumni met at the Equinox fitness club in Chicago to participate together in the Cycle for Survival charitable cycling event that contributes to fundraising efforts for research into rare cancers.

    The annual networking event, which initially was conceived as a means to bring together past and current members of the Northwestern soccer program for a "state of the program" address and an opportunity to network, has since developed a broader and more meaningful purpose of creating a giant family out of the Northwestern soccer community. Sandy Kolkey, a Northwestern soccer alumnus (Weinberg `83/Kellogg '89) and Executive Vice President of Leo Burnett Worldwide, hosted this year's networking event. Mr. Kolkey believes that the annual networking event has created an inclusive community of Northwestern Men's soccer player and alumni.

    The soccer program's partnership with Cycle for Survival has been particularly meaningful. "It was an easy connection to make," stated Northwestern Men's Soccer Coach Tim Lenahan, regarding partnering with Cycle for Survival. Dave Linn (NU Soccer, Weinberg '95) and his wife Jennifer Goodman Linn founded Cycle for Survival in 2007, four years after Jennifer was diagnosed with a rare cancer. The soccer team has participated in the cycling event the past several years, even relocating the networking event so that alumni and current student-athletes could ride together in the event and support a member of the NU soccer family. Jennifer passed away on July 20, 2011, but Dave and Cycle for Survival continue to press forward in their efforts. "We hope to continue the partnership, and raise awareness for the event," stated Coach Lenahan. According to Mr. Kolkey, "the new format allows for both professional development and an opportunity to support a fellow teammate, all of which aid in building a strong alumni network."

    (For more information on Cycle for Survival visit: