TUMWATER, WA—Austin Kelley’s body was recovered from the Salmon River near Riggns Idaho earlier this week. The discovery ended an 11-day search for the 26-year-old Tumwater native, husband and father. The soccer community in Thurston county has been devasted by the recent events which took the life of a much-loved man and gifted player.
Washington man’s body recovered (Idaho County Free Press)
‘He was such a good guy’ (Idaho County Free Press)
Rest In Peace, Austin Kelley (Oly Town Artesians)
Austin Kelley starred at soccer with the Olympia High School Bears, then stayed home for his college soccer career, leading the Saint Martin’s University Saints (Lacey, WA) to the GNAC championship. He remained in the game as an assistant coach at OHS and playing on local adult teams, including the Oly Town Artesians of the Western Indoor Soccer League.
Social media reactions to the news of Kelley’s recovery hit hard as friends and family began the process of coming to grips with their goodbyes. On her Facebook page, Austin’s mother Cortney Kelley posted a moving tribute to her son:
After eleven agonizing days, Austin has been found.
The baby with liquid brown eyes that would gaze calmly, knowingly–taking the world in. The golden haired boy who could balance on a marble and danced with a soccer ball at his feet. The playful teen who led his peers by example, like a pied piper of goodness. The friend who listened and opened his heart to so many. The young man who diligently pursued his studies and the woman of his dreams in college. The soccer player who followed his passion. The son, son-in-law, grandson, nephew and cousin who always made time for his family. The brother who challenged and guided his beloved younger one. The creative who was bursting with ideas to patent, businesses to open, and ways to change this world. The young husband who made promises to fill his beautiful home with love and laughter. The new father who’s heart expanded our universe with absolute love for a perfect little girl.
This incredible man, who means so much to so very many. Austin, we are heartbroken, lost and paralyzed without you. Yet, the magic, kindness and inspiration you have planted in us will be gently nurtured. Who you are will remain here, will move forward in the minds, hearts and actions in all of us. We will always hold the Light of who you are. You are us. —Cortney Kelley
Earlier goalWA.net coverage
(Cover photo by Bruce Johnson: Austin Kelley -center- celebrates a goal in the 2015 Olympia -Capital High School Alumni match.)