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Okanagan soccer star Mackenzie Rigg’s family helps fund scholarship in his name

Parents donate $100K to University of Victoria in memory of son who died of cancer
Trinity Kettyls and Mackenzie Rigg at James Houlihan Park in Victoria during a Vikes Kick Cancer event. Rigg later died of brain cancer. (Armando Tura Photo)

Before Mackenzie Rigg became a beloved captain of the University of Victoria soccer team, he was a dynamo on the youth soccer pitches of the Okanagan.

The memory of the former Okanagan-Mission Secondary School standout will live on in the provincial capital thanks to a $100,000 donation in his name.

Rigg died in 2022 of brain tumour. On Thursday (Aug. 10), the school announced that his parents, Chris and Barbara, had donated the money to an endowment in their son’s name.

The Mackenzie Rigg endowment, started by former-UVic men’s soccer coach Bruce Wilson, supports an annual award of approximately $6,000 for an undergraduate or graduate student who “embodies Rigg’s remarkable qualities and contributions to the men’s soccer program,” according to a release by the school.

“Soccer was a huge part of Mackenzie’s life from the age of three, and therefore it was a huge part of our lives. He identified as a soccer player and a Vike; he was so dedicated and never missed a practice; soccer and the team always came first,” said Rigg’s parents, both UVic alumni, in a statement.

“Mackenzie was very family-oriented, and the team and his teammates were his family. Because of that, it seemed appropriate that we continue the tradition and give back to the program that was such a big part of his life,” they continued.

Rigg was a tournament MVP of the B.C. AA high school soccer championships with Okanagan-Mission, a two-time all-Canadian with UVic, an academic all-Canadian, a member of the Vikes varsity council, an emcee of the Vikes’ largest fundraising event, and a volunteer.

The memory of Rigg is a big part of UVic and the soccer community through the Vikes Kick Cancer fundraiser that continues to raise money for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

“Mackenzie’s impact was never about how many goals he scored or how successful he was in competition; his impact was on the team culture. He was determined to make everyone feel like part of the team, and hopefully, the recipient of this award will continue to honour that and positively impact team culture for future years,” said Chris.

The 2023 award went to Rigg’s former teammate Will Adams, who has helped lead the Vikes Kick Cancer fundraiser for the past two years.

“Having been teammates with Mackenzie for a number of years, I experienced firsthand the great contributions he made to our team and the overall community. An annual award that honours his life is a great way to preserve his impact and extend it to the coming generations of UVic athletes. Financial awards are always such a blessing to student-athletes, but this one will always be a bit more special as it speaks to the legacy of a true Vike,” said Adams, in a statement.

READ MORE: Community mourning beloved all-Canadian Okanagan soccer star

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Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
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