As the suburban soccer community mourns the death of Major League Soccer rookie Kirk Urso of Lombard, a few details have emerged, but the cause of death is still unknown.
In a story published Monday morning, Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch reports that Urso, a 22-year-old midfielder for the Columbus Crew, collapsed at a bar early Sunday morning.
A few hours after the Crew lost 1-0 at D.C. United, police officers were dispatched at 12:50 a.m. to Park Street Patio for an unconscious person. Urso, according to the report, was transported to Grant Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:51 a.m. The coroner's office is handling the investigation, and an autopsy to determine cause of death is set for today.
Here is a link to the full report in the Columbus Dispatch, and a link to another report by the Charlotte Observer on reaction at the University of North Carolina, where Urso won a national title in 2011.
Urso's death also was felt throughout the suburban soccer community in Chicago.
When the Palatine-based Sockers soccer club took a team to a tournament in Columbus, Ohio, this spring, Urso came out to watch and offer his support.
"And this is in pouring rain," said Sockers club president and technical director Dave Richardson. "He was standing under an umbrella with me. This wasn't things he had to do, it was something he wanted to do."
Richardson was among the many in the soccer community shocked to learn of Urso's death at age 22 Sunday morning.
"While the circumstances of Urso's passing are still being determined, no further comments will be made at this time," the Crew said in a club statement. "The thoughts and prayers of the entire Columbus Crew and Hunt Sports Group are with the Urso family in this time of need."
Urso grew up in Lombard and attended Glenbard East until moving to U.S. Soccer's residency camp in Bradenton, Fla., his sophomore year. He played soccer at the University of North Carolina, where he captained the Tar Heels to the 2011 national championship. He went to the Crew in January via Major League Soccer's supplemental draft.
He wasn't the biggest, fastest or most skilled player, but "he found a way to put all the critics to bed," Richardson said.
Urso started the first five matches of the MLS season at holding midfielder but lost his spot when Danny O'Rourke returned from injury. He underwent a sports hernia-type of surgery for adductor tendinitis on June 18 and had since been working to recover from the injury. Last week, according to the Columbus Dispatch, coach Robert Warzycha said he was unsure when Urso would be back to training with the club.
"He was always someone who would come shake your hand, come search you out, somebody that coaches just loved to work with," said Richardson, who had known Urso since Urso started with the club at age 9. "You could be hard on him, but he would want you too, he would thank you for it."
"His quiet demeanor and professionalism is what I remember most about him," added Tony Kees, the former Elk Grove, Conant and Neuqua Valley High School coach who coached Urso with the Illinois Olympic Development Program. "He had a great personality about him."
Word of Urso's death spread quickly on social media, and Richardson said he received a text from Michael Bradley, one of Urso's former Sockers teammates, from Italy, where Bradley plays professionally.
"This tragedy is connected globally," Richardson said.