For Mark-Anthony Kaye, soccer has been his way of life since he was just a kid. Today, he thinks the game has rubbed off on someone near to his heart even more: his mother.
“She’s always been my number one fan. Now I feel like she actually might enjoy football more than I do,” said the Rapids midfielder.
Kaye shares a special connection with his mother, Novelette, who raised him as a single parent in north Toronto. From working two jobs while he was a kid to put him through soccer to supporting him at BMO Field when the Canadian National Team secured qualification for the 2022 World Cup, Kaye’s biggest supporter is all in on her son’s dreams.
Since he was younger, Kaye has recognized the generous and selfless nature his mother carried along with her, no matter how much she was already working to make sure her own sons were taken care of. To Kaye, the naivete was bliss as he didn’t fully understand everything his single mother did to ensure a roof was over their heads and there was food on the table each night.
What Novelette did for her kids has become a way of life for the Rapids’ midfielder.
“We all have a job to be of service to people, and my mom was like a living example of that,” he said. “She's taught me a lot of things that now I try to carry into my life. I got to live this very blessed life where I get to wake up every day and play soccer, make money, travel the world– And if it wasn't for the sacrifices she made when I was younger, then who knows where I would be. So I try to repay her in everything I do today.”
One of those repayments comes in the form of Kaye’s continued advocacy of the Single Mothers Outreach program, a charity that provides support and resources to single mothers in Santa Clarita, California. The Rapids star has helped organize various fundraisers for the program, including sweepstakes that include signed jerseys, tickets to games and one-on-one Zoom calls with Kaye himself.
“I thought that it would be the best way to start my [philanthropic] journey, with something that's so close to my heart, it just was easy. The passion was there,” he said. “And it was easy to get people involved and we were able to raise $2,000 just in time for Mother's Day. I think this is just the start of my journey of being of service to people and giving back and I just wanted to step into it in the right way.”
This Mother’s Day, Kaye won’t make it back to Toronto to see his mom in person, but plans to coordinate with his younger brothers on getting her gifts to show their love and appreciation.
“Usually I send her flowers and order her favorite takeout to the house, but I'm glad that my brothers are finally stepping up. We’re organizing some stuff to get her some things that will help in her daily life, make her life a little bit easier, but we're definitely gonna make sure we celebrate her.”