BRISTOL, Va. — Just a month ago, Abingdon senior soccer star and FCA member Kirk Nairn lost his life in a tragic vehicle accident. Last Thursday, Area FCA director Gary Maggard gathered local soccer athletes for the FCA Soccerfest at Sugar Hollow in Bristol, Va. for the fourth year in a row.
This year, it was all about the number 4.
“Four was Kirk’s number. That’s why we decided to do the shirts the way we did,” Maggard said.
On the front, are the words FCA Soccerfest with a graphic. On the back it said, “Playing 4 Kirk – Living 4 Christ”.
“I only got to meet Kirk one time and that was at the March Madness FCA basketball all-star game. I just knew right off the bat that he was a quality young man. When we had our closing prayer at the end of that day, Kirk led a devotion with all the players. I was really impressed with his maturity. I knew he was a very special young guy,” Maggard said.
According to Maggard, Nairn was known as a kid who would pick you up when you were down. He worked with special needs children and earned a full-ride scholarship to the University of Kentucky, which he would have been attending in the fall.
“I wanted to do this to honor Kirk and let these kids know about him in some way,” Maggard said.
A new tradition was started this year as well as this marked the first boys’ and girls’ senior all-star games. These games are beloved by the seniors who get to wear their school colors one last time.
There was also a plethora of underclassmen games and an alumni vs. underclassmen game.
Local players who scored goals in the games are Union rising sophomore Asher Whitt in the first underclassmen boys’ game of the day and former Union senior Andrew Goodman in the senior all-star game.
But the day was about so much more than what is on the scoreboard.
“This year we added Carroll County and Galax. It is so exciting to see it grow year by year. We love to just see the kids who played against each other get to team up and know each other and make friends with people who were your adversaries in the regular season. That’s what this is all about for me,” Maggard said.
Former Union boys’ head coach Mark Castle coached the West underclassmen boys’ team and the West senior boys’ teams on the day. Despite no longer having the head coaching duties for the school, he participates in soccerfest every year.
“I love the FCA events. I enjoy the camaraderie. I enjoy the young men and their spirit and just getting to be a part of this. It’s always great to see them come together in unity for one cause on this special day,” Castle said.