Shawn Kuykendall lost his battle with cancer early Wednesday morning. The former D.C. United and New York Red Bulls midfielder was 32 years old.
Friends, family and fans have been posting tributes in Kuykendall’s memory online since news of his death broke, including a touching account of Kuykendall’s friendship with USA Today’s Mike Foss, which Foss published Wednesday.
D.C. United drafted Kuykendall out of American University in 2005. He played two games for the then-defending MLS Cup champions before being traded to the New York Red Bulls after his rookie campaign.
Kuykendall suffered a serious knee injury in 2006, prompting him to end his playing career. He then pursued a coaching career, serving as an assistant at American University and on a D.C.-area youth team. He also founded his own soccer school for young players in the region and worked with D.C. United’s summer camps.
Kuykendall’s path turned again last year when he was diagnosed with Stage IV thymus cancer. He chronicled his battle with the disease on social media and on a website he started, Kuykenstrong.com.
The Washington Post profiled Kuykendall and his fight against cancer last November. His attitude and faith inspired many readers.
A memorial service is tentatively scheduled for March 22, according to the Washington Post.
D.C. United (@dcunited) March 12, 2014
Photo via Twitter/@dabeard