Former Wilton High soccer standout and longtime U.S. Women’s National Team stalwart Kristine Lilly will return to her hometown on Monday (May 27) to take part in the seventh annual Nick Madaras Memorial Day Challenge.

Nick Madaras, a Wilton High graduate, was killed by an explosive device while serving as a private in the U.S. Army in Iraq in September 2006. He was 19 years old.

Lilly will compete with the Wilton Ancient Warriors, a men’s over-40 team, in the round-robin event at Kristine Lilly Field. Also taking part are a team comprised of Soccer Extreme coaches and a squad featuring Madaras’s former Wilton High boys soccer teammates and friends.

Proceeds benefit the Kick for Nick charity organization, which collects and distributes soccer balls to children throughout the world. While home on leave in July 2006, Madaras gathered soccer balls to bring back to children near his post in Iraq. Although he was never able to hand over the soccer balls himself, his legacy has been carried on, as 47 of America’s 50 states have contributed soccer balls to the program.

“The Kick for Nick foundation is a great way to celebrate Nick’s memory and the person who he was,” said Wilton High boys soccer coach Jim Lewicki, who coached Madaras in high school. “He had a big heart, great character, and always gave himself to others. Soccer balls going to less fortunate children in Iraq and Afghanistan is his way of giving back.”

The Challenge will start at 11:30, immediately after the town’s Memorial Day parade. There will be raffles for various prizes, including equipment, tickets to pro soccer games, and autographed items from Lilly. Each soccer ball donor will get a free raffle ticket.

Following the games, Lilly will conduct a soccer skills clinic for youth players in attendance.