Once-in-a-Lifetime Birthday

Head coach Jennifer Rockwood made Julia Anderson's birthday wish come true. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- Seven-year-old Julia Anderson only wanted an autograph of the BYU women's soccer team for her birthday, but the team delivered a little bit more than that Thursday evening.

An overwhelmed Julia joined the Cougars' pre-game meeting, where a cheering BYU squad welcomed her. The team sang happy birthday and presented her with a BYU soccer sweatshirt and an autographed picture.

"It was the best birthday present ever," said the ecstatic girl who was sporting a #11 black wrist band, a birthday present from Jaime Rendich Beck.

The celebration ended with Julia going up against one of the nation's top goalkeepers, Erika Woodbury.

Julia put the ball right passed Woodbury's hands. Nice shot.

Julia first became interested in the soccer team at BYU's summer soccer camp, immediately falling in love with each of the girls.

"I was kinda nervous at the camp because they are so good," Julia said. "But then I became their biggest fan."

Julia's love for the soccer team is evident. She has yet to miss a home game this season, frequents the team's soccer practices, and will travel with her family to Las Vegas for the Mountain West Conference Tournament in November. And if that weren't enough to show her complete devotion, she postponed her birthday party, so she wouldn't have to miss Thursday's soccer game.

But the Cougar soccer team is also in love with Julia, showing her support as well. Brooke Thulin recently took time out of her busy schedule to watch Julia play in one of her own soccer games.

"It's really fun to see how the young kids look up to our players," head Coach Jennifer Rockwood said. "The players make strong bonds with some of the players. It's good for our players to have the opportunity to make that kind of impact."

It's 45 minutes before game time, and the little girl with strawberry blonde hair sits in what has become her customary spot on the bleachers. Seven-year-old Julia Anderson is doing what she loves most: watching the Cougar soccer team.

Happy birthday, Julia. Isn't it great when dreams come true?

Tags: Feature