MEDFORD, Ore. — Every year since 2000, the Rogue Valley Timbers, formerly the Rogue Valley Soccer Club, has awarded the Shelley Green "Spirit of the Game" Award to boys and girls soccer players at the 14U level. Until now, no siblings have ever won the award.
Drew Hampson won the award in 2018 and this year, her younger sister Tyler was named the Premier level recipient, making the Hampson sisters the first siblings to both earn the distinction.
"To me it means just always doing your best, giving your all and having a positive attitude and be encouraging to just everyone around you," Drew told NewsWatch 12 Sports. "And just like Shelley, carrying out the love you have for the game and showing it for everyone else."
The honor of being named the Shelley Green Award winner carries a lot of weight within the local soccer community because of the person's name the aware bares.
Shelley Green played for the Rogue Valley Soccer Club in the 1990s, constantly showing what it meant to truly love the game of soccer and be a team player. One of her coaches, Dave Potter, said Shelley could never have a bad day when she was on the pitch. Shelley had a passion for soccer unlike anyone he's ever seen.
"Shelley loved the game beyond description," Potter said. "She would put out on the field 100% and nothing less than 100%... She loved the game so much."
Throughout playing at the competitive level, it was nearly impossible to keep Shelley off the field even when she was injured. It got to the point when she had a broken leg and still tried to go back out on the field. It took her mother having to tell her no to keep her from heading back out between the lines on a broken leg.
"She would give her all for the game," Leann Green said. "Some days she was taped up from ankles to above her knee but she would go out there and play."
It seemed there was nothing that would keep Shelley Green from sharing her joy of soccer with everyone around her.
"And the only thing that would ever take Shelley out of the game of soccer was going to be some debilitating experience," Potter said.
On her19th birthday, Shelley was diagnosed with cancer. She underwent harsh chemotherapy for months to rid her body of the cancer cells. Things were looking up for the Oregon State freshman. Her doctors told her and her family she was finally in remission. To keep her there, she would just need a stem cell transplant.
"Unfortunately she died from complications from the stem cell transplant in May of 1999," Shelley's mother said, her voice cracking with emotion.
Not long after Shelley's memorial service, Potter looked for a way to honor Shelley's legacy, for her competitiveness on the field, her passion for the game and her kindness to everyone. Thus came the Shelley Green Award.
When the Rogue Valley Soccer Club joined the Portland Timbers Alliance, Potter pushed to keep the award going. The Timbers organization agreed and looked to elevate the award, adding to it "Spirit of the Game" to further encompass the kind of player Shelley was and those who followed in her footsteps.
"The one thing that can be said about all of the recipients is they're soccer players that play for the team, love the game and have the quality of character that we can be proud of in this community," Potter said.
For the Hampson sisters, this award carries more weight than any kind of performance award would.
"Shelley Green Award it's all about your leadership, your positivity, your hard work, and your kindness towards everyone on the team," Tyler, one of the 2021 Shelley Green Award recipients, said. "So it's just really special me and Drew were both able to win."
And for Potter, who's been a part of the Rogue Valley Timbers soccer club since 1984, the Hampson sisters are perfect examples of the kinds of players Shelley Green was and would be proud of.
"Their hearts are in the right place, their minds are in the right place and I know that Shelley would be smiling right now saying, 'I can't believe there's an award named after me and these representatives are absolutely perfectly matched to it.'"