Bitter team rivalries and in-conference rumbles take a back seat when tragedy strikes. There is no more evidence of that than the overflow of support that is being sent to the family and friends of deceased Cal Berkeley soccer player Eloi Vasquez.
In addition to the flood of social media messages of condolences from the Golden Bears community, Eloi Vasquez’s family has received support from professional athletes even from outside the soccer community and other soccer programs.
Teams from around the nation have reached out to express their sadness.
Santa Clara University’s squad, the Broncos, part of the West Coast Conference, expressed that the Vasquez family was in their thoughts, while the CSU Vikings all the way in Cleveland, Ohio acknowledged that their “thoughts and prayers” are with the Cal soccer family.
Facebook pages have been set up for friends — both those who knew Vasquez personally or who just want to show their support — to write a few kind words and send love and prayer to his family.
The boards have also served as a “celebration of life” for friends, teammates and others to share happy stories about the fallen athlete. Messages have ranged from fun stories of spending time with Vasquez to the tearful “I wish I had gotten to know him better.”
Team USA member Alex Morgan and LA Galaxy player AJ DeLaGarza both used the social media platform to express their condolences. Even before news of Vasquez’s passing was confirmed at the start of this week, there was celebrity outreach on social media in an effort to help find him.
The Cal Athletics homepage currently features a touching tribute to the soccer star. In the post, Director of Athletics Mike Williams said:
“Eloi was a wonderful young man who excelled both athletically and academically and came to Cal with a passion for learning. This is a tremendous loss for our men’s soccer program, our athletic department and our whole university community. It is a tragedy that such a promising life was taken so soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with Eloi’s family, friends, teammates and coaches during this difficult time. We want to continue to support each other and our students, and campus community.”
Pac-12 Networks reported via the Los Angeles Times on Monday that the student athlete had been hit by a car while crossing interstate 10. Vasquez had gone missing early Saturday morning after attending a party at University of California.
A friend reportedly later told KNBC-TV that Vasquez had called him the night of his disappearance and said that he was “lost and afraid.” In the day leading up to the sad news, the Vasquez family offered $100,000 to anyone who had any information on Eloi’s whereabouts.
Cal Associate Athletic Director Wesley Mallette expressed that the school is available to support family, teammates and friends in the coming weeks.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to Sports Illustrated and Cal Athletics