Medford's Emily Matarese Drafted by Tufts Women's Soccer Through Team IMPACT

MEDFORD - Emily Matarese, a courageous 13-year old girl from Medford, Massachusetts, was drafted by the Tufts University women's soccer team on Saturday at the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center.

Emily and the team were connected through Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization which works to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by pairing them with collegiate athletic teams.

A celebratory press conference was held in the film room at the Tisch Center starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Jumbos head coach Martha Whitning announced Emily as the team's top recruit. She signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Jumbos while her family, members of the Tufts women's soccer team and others from the Tufts community looked on.

Emily was diagnosed, through routine newborn screening, at five days old with a metabolic disease called Galactosemia. Galactosemia is a rare genetic disorder that doesn't allow your body to metabolize the sugar galactose. The only treatment for galactosemia is to eliminate it from your diet. As a result of her diagnosis, Emily also has some learning delays and some expressive language delays. Emily uses an iPad to assist her with communicating effectively.

Members of the Tufts women's soccer team present their newest teammate Emily Matarese with Jumbo gear

A really fun and easy going kid, Emily is a joy to be around. With all that she has gone through and continues to fight through, there's no doubt that she will be a huge inspiration to her teammates. According to Emily, her lucky number is 11, she loves french fries, salad with onions and peppers, brownies and bacon. Her all-time favorite movie is Bolt, but she loves anything Disney and anything with animals. Her favorite TV shows are Paw Patrol and SpongeBob.

Emily will join in on team activities during the off-season and will then be an integral member of the Jumbos once the 2017 season begins.

"Both the coaching staff and players are so excited for Emily to join the Tufts Women's Soccer family," Coach Whiting said. "She is an amazing girl and will add great energy and positive vibes to our team.  She has already met a few current players and she fits in perfectly with our group. She will be a great teammate."

This is the Tufts women's soccer program's second Team IMPACT teammate. Joli Vega, who was with the team for several years, recently graduated out of the program.

Friends as students at Tufts in the late 1980s, Jay Calnan, Kris Herman, Dan Kraft, Robert Tishman and Dan Walsh helped found Team IMPACT. Seven Tufts University teams have drafted children through Team IMPACT since its beginning in 2011. Learn more about the organization at

Emily Matarese Draft Day