Shawn Kuykendall, Former D.C. United Player, Dies at 32
Shawn Kuykendall, a former for D.C. United midfielder and four-year player at American University in Washington D.C., died earlier this morning. He was 32.
Kuykendall had been diagnosed in July of last year with thymus cancer. Thymus cancer is a type of cancer that is formed behind the breast bone in the front side of the chest. It is a very rare form of cancer and there is currently no known cure for it.
Although Shawn's career with D.C. United was limited (he was drafted by the team in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft and played in only two matches over two seasons,) his impact on the soccer community in the area was not. Kuykendall was born in Fairfax, Virginia and played high school soccer at James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia. He found his highest success at American, where he led the Eagles to three straight NCAA tournament berths and was named the 2004 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year.
His father Kurt played for the New York Cosmos and the Washington Diplomats in the NASL and had been an All-American Goalkeeper with American University back in 1973.
In addition to D.C. United, Shawn also spent a year with the New York Red Bulls. After his playing career ended in 2006, he went back to American University as an assistant coach.
D.C. United released the following statement this morning on their website: "Please join D.C. United and our MLS family in sending our condolences to the Kuykendall family and all of Shawn’s loved ones. Please continue to keep them all in your thoughts and prayers." Before Saturday's game against the Columbus Crew, the team showed a short video of Kuykendall and did a brief moment of silence.
Washington Post writer Rick Maese wrote an absolutely superb piece on this amazing person that I strongly encourage all of you to read.
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