JENSEN BEACH, Fla. - Tragedy struck a Martin County family last December. 21-year-old Kyle Conrad fell off a Fort Lauderdale railroad bridge when it raised, and he died. Now, Conrad's family is using his life to make other college students' lives better.
Wednesday night, the Jensen Beach High School soccer field was buzzing with Conrad's former teammates from Jensen Beach High School and Lynn University. They came to support the man who many looked up to for his athleticism and kindness.
"Give a big round of applause!" game organizer and Jensen Beach High School math teacher Charlie Rosseau boomed over the PA system. "Number 8 … Nate," he announced. "Number 8, Mallory ... Number 8, Billy Supersketch."
Everyone one of the 50 players at the memorial soccer game wore number 8 in honor of Conrad.
He wore that number on the Jensen Beach High School field and later, for Lynn University in Boca Raton.
"He was able to put a lot of goals away for us. Obviously, he got 100 points at Lynn, which is something only four players have ever done," said Matt Dicerbo, Conrad's college teammate.
Former teammates and coaches say what was most impressive though, was Kyle as a person.
"One of those people that when you're around him, you're a better person. Learned a lot from him," said former club teammate Jake Scott. "He's just one of those guys, if you were falling down, he would pick you up, and if you were feeling tired, he'd inspire you to get up and get going again."
"We all knew he was an inspiration to us when he was alive, and it's our job now to continue to inspire people now that he has passed," said Rosseau.
And so the players played their hearts out, for the love of the game and a young man who embraced it. People gave donations and purchased t-shirts that will benefit a scholarship fund for Martin County athletes.
Conrad's parents say this game is a celebration of their son's life, a way his spirit can live on in the community.
"Kyle was a great kid. He was probably a better kid than he was a soccer player," said Sherman Conrad, Kyle's father. "We were lucky to have him for 21 great years, and we had special times, and we miss him. But I think the Lord took him at a special time so he could make an impact on others."
Last year, the event raised $16,000 dollars. No word yet on how much this year's game raised, but organizers are hoping to top that.