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      Jersey No. 12 saved for Harlingen family

      A game like soccer has the ability to unite a team.

      But for the Bazan family of Harlingen, seeing jersey number 12 out on the field has helped them through the most difficult of times.

      The Bazans said a Tuesday game pitting Harlingen Cardinal's boys soccer team against the Harlingen South Hawks has special meaning for them.

      "I didn't get the number 12 until my junior year due to my brother having it," said Daniel Joseph Bazan. "So, I had to watch him wear that big number 12 and I always wanted it. I always wanted to wear that number. I always wanted him to be proud of me."

      Daniel is talking about his big brother Aaron whose life was tragically cut short last year by an Edinburg crash. Aaron wore jersey number 12 for 18 years of his life.

      "Excellent athlete, a top 10 percent student," Harlingen High School Soccer Coach Bobby Lucio said of Aaron Bazan. "Unfortunately, he lost his life in September at Pan Am in a motorcycle accident. So tonight we will retire his jersey, reserve it for the family only."

      A special ceremony during the Bird Bowl paid tribute to the late 22-year-old's amazing ability to shine on the field as another young member honored his brother's legacy.

      It's a memory that will now remain alive for many years to come.

      "That's what the coach is planning to do," said another one of Aaron's brothers, David Thomas Bazan. "It's for, I have one younger brother that will attend high school here. He's planning on wearing it!"

      Some might credit that special jersey with helping the Cardinal' s soccer team reach third place in district.

      But the Bazan's say it's Aaron's spirit and love for the game that's turned jersey number 12 into a good luck charm.

      "I became that much better of a player because I believed that much more in myself," Joseph Daniel Bazan said. "Not only because I had the number but because my brother actually handed it down to me and gave me that inspiration to do better with it."

      And for a tribute, every member of the Bazan family has requested and worn the number 12.

      Aaron's brothers and sisters have really taken to the special number -- wearing it for every sport they have been involved or have participated in.