BOCA RATON, Fla. - A year after his death, you can still find reminders of Kyle Conrad at Lynn University. His photos are in the trophy case and his name is on the plaque listing the scholar athletes of the year; however, most of all, he’s still in the hearts of those who knew him best.
"Kyle is everything you would want your son to be," said John Rootes, the Lynn University head soccer coach.
Rootes coached Kyle at Lynn University for three years.
"Kyle was the ideal consummate student athlete,” he said. “He was a great soccer player. He was a great student. He was an academic all-American."
His love for his team inspired them to finish second this year in the NCAA Division II Championship.
"We felt like with Kyle's passing that Kyle was in heaven, looking over us and watching over us," explained Rootes.
His teammates are still feeling his loss.
“The first two months, it was impossible to realize that it had happened,” said Pedro Saono. “Every day it was like a bad dream. It's a bad dream. We're going to wake up and he's going to be here with us. There are no words to describe the feeling. Even today, it's impossible.”
Saono said the bond the team shared went beyond soccer. Even though they spent hours on the field practicing, he said they also spent time together studying and having fun. He said Kyle Conrad was more than a friend. He was a brother.
“It's not only a soccer team,” Saono explained. “It's a family. He motivated not only the returning players, but the entire squad. That's how strong he is. He's not here with us, but he's with us every single day. He inspired everyone.”
The team is still close with Kyle’s family. Saono said they’ve even attended games. Rootes added how much he admires them.
“To see their faith, to see their hope and ability to move on and to not forget Kyle, but instead to live every moment of their lives because of Kyle, they’ve taught me you can have a resilience and you can get through one of the most devastating experiences a human being can have in losing a child,” he said. “It has taught me a great deal and it has strengthened my faith.”
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