CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - A 12-year-old from Jackson, Missouri blocked 2,019 soccer goal attempts for his dad who lost his life last year.
Seth Respondek was surrounded by family and friends at the Shawnee Sports Complex in Cape Girardeau on Saturday, July 13 where he took to the soccer field to block kicks from the SEMO Women’s Soccer team.
Seth challenged himself with a special challenge for the Bethel Assembly of God Church in Cape Girardeau. Money raised from this challenge goes towards missionaries for the Speed the Light program for Assemblies of God.
“That is their mission project every year,” Seth’s mother, Tammy Respondek said.
"It makes me feel good that I'm helping out other people and I'm letting other people spread the word about God," Seth added.
Bethel Assembly of God Pastor Danny Wilson said the money raised provides missionaries with vehicles and transportation while they are out on the mission field.
This is not the first time Seth has performed this challenging task however.
Seth improved on Saturday from his previous challenge last year where he stopped 1,000 goal kick attempts.
"It's a lot of blocks for a goalie," Tammy said. "Especially from these young ladies (SEMO Women's Soccer team) because they are not taking it easy on him."
Players from the SEMO Women's Soccer team took time out of their summer break to help Seth with his goal.
"We just feel like it's a good thing for him and we just want to be supporting of him and what has happened with his family," SEMO Soccer player Esmie Gonzales said. "We just want to be there for him like a community."
"It feels good that they would come out here and help me with everything," Seth said. "They hurt my hands a lot but if feels good."
He isn’t the only one to do a challenge of this magnitude as his sister, Moriah, completed 2,019 cartwheels that she also dedicated to their father.
Seth was at his sister's challenge cheering her on. Moriah said she wanted to do the same for him.
"He was there supporting me so I wanted to support him. I'm really proud of him," Moriah Respondek said.
"Words cannot express how proud I am of him," Tammy continued. "They have both gone through the worst year of their life, and yet, he is doing this to raise money for missionaries. So I am extremely proud of him."
On August 5, 2018, Seth’s dad passed away very suddenly of a heart attack.
Seth remembered the fond memories with his dad. He said it's why he wanted to do this soccer challenge for him.
"My dad taught me how to be a goalie, so I wanted to do 2,019 soccer goals because my dad taught me how to do it," Seth said. "I was just going to do what he taught me how to do."
He said his dad worked with him on becoming a better goalie in playing with his Southeast Missouri Soccer Club.
"This is his sport," Tammy added. "But there was a time when to be a goal keeper was a very scary thing for him. He's had to overcome that fear and now he's one of the goal keepers for the team."
Seth thanks his father for working with him in becoming a stronger and more focused player while defending the net.
"When I was super young, he would be like, 'Don't be afraid of it,'" Seth said. "He would kick it super hard at me and said 'Don't be afraid of it.' So I would have to save it and it scared me at first but then I got used to it."
Seth said he is thankful for all the support throughout this challenge and for the support since his father passed away.
He said he feels that his dad was with him during his challenge as well and has a message for him.
“I love you and thanks for teaching me how to be a goalie,” Seth said.