Olympia soccer community gathering tonight; Online page established for Austin Kelley family

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Austin Kelley takes the pitch for a Western Indoor Soccer League match last season with the Oly Town Artesians. (OTFC photo)

OLYMPIA, WA— Austin Kelley has been missing since Sunday when he was with friends on the Salmon River in Idaho and was carried away in a strong current. The Olympia, Washington native and renowned local soccer player is now presumed drowned, according to various news reports.

The Olympian (Tuesday story) reported:

Kelley and others had gone fishing, (Kelley’s mother Cortney) said, when they decided to swim across the river to some hot springs. Cortney Kelley received a call Sunday morning that he was missing. The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office issued a news release that said Kelley was not wearing a life jacket, and his friends attempted to rescue him but were unsuccessful. Idaho County sheriff’s search and rescue, family and friends continue to search for Kelley, according to the news release.

Several reports are similar to this one, from KTVB.com in Idaho:

A Washington man is presumed dead after sheriff’s officials say he disappeared in the Salmon River near Riggins Sunday.

Austin K. Kelley, 26, was trying to swim across the river near French Creek when he was caught in the current and pulled beneath the water, according to the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office. Kelley’s friends tried to rescue the man, but were unable to reach him.

Kelley was not wearing a  life jacket. Sheriff’s officials say he is believed to have drowned in the river.

Idaho County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue, along with the missing man’s family and friends, will continue the search for him.

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Kelley (far left) greets fans after an Artesians match last season. (OTFC photo)

Community Response

The soccer community in Olympia has been rocked to its core by the news this week. Kelley played soccer at Olympia High School, then at Lacey’s Saint Martin’s University, and currently with the Oly Town Artesians of the Western Indoor Soccer League. He made scores of friends and admirers along the way. Kelley’s Facebook page is full of beautiful testimonials to his kindness and spirit.

https://twitter.com/GiveForward/status/773522404282920960

#BringAustinHome

Tonight (Wednesday, September 7) at 8 PM at Olympia High School the community will get together in a “Bring Austin Home” gathering. Those attending are encouraged to wear soccer-related attire to honor Austin’s love of the sport.

There is also a page set up to help the Kelley family, including Austin’s wife Morgan and newborn daughter Riann, and ongoing search efforts.

St. Martin’s Director of Soccer Rob Walker said on Tuesday“This is such a tough time. We are hoping for the best and are all waiting for news.  At the same time, there is a creeping feeling of loss for the student, the athlete and the man we love. “

There was a moment of silence in honor of Kelley before last night’s Black Hills – Capital women’s high school soccer match.

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Austin Kelley, 2016 Oly Town Artesians.
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