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Kevin Hieronymus

PFC to honor teammate by playing short-handed

Kurt Garvin lived for soccer.

He played for his dad’s soccer team at Princeton High School.

He was an active player for the Princeton Futball Club.

He was volunteer girls soccer coach at Princeton High School.

And when he wasn’t playing or coach soccer, he was watching it.

He was what you’d call a world class soccer fan.

Tragically, Kurt lost his life Saturday afternoon, killed in a motorcycle accident near Dixon. He was 28.

He will not be soon forgotten. A soccer tournament previously slated for Sunday at Zearing Park will now be called the Kurt Garvin Memorial Soccer Festival. There will be 12 teams, including a men’s division, one for 19U boys, one for 19U girls and one for 14U girls, playing the game Kurt loved so well.

The Princeton Futball Club will retire Garvin’s No. 3 and will start its first match short-handed at left defensive back to honor their fallen teammate.

Kurt, a Princeton Firefighter and EMT, would be the first one there to watch and would have been playing for the PFC.

“He loved soccer more than anything. He loved to play, to coach and to watch,” said PHS varsity girls coach Ed Young, who refers to Garvin as his best friend and confidant. “Kurt was the most genuine person I know.  He was loving, kind, compassionate, empathetic, and patient. He listened and understood. He advised beyond his years. I loved Kurt like a son. I was thrilled to be mentoring him on soccer, and life, but I realize, it was he, who was growing me.

“I believe our Heavenly Father has called Kurt to coach for God. Kurt is permeating all the lives he encountered. The effluence Kurt had on people the moment you met him was peaceful. Kurt’s words never had venom or vinegar. Even when he was telling me, I needed to re-evaluate the situation, it was done with love.”  

Kurt, who was likely to be named as the new F/S girls coach at PHS, was very good at teaching the game.

“He infected the girls with passion and love,” Young said. “The success we have had was due to the defense and keepers competing at a high level and being intelligent Kurt educated prepared them for the various situations that could arise. Kurt’s passion and understanding of the game was visible in the players he trained. ... It’s hard to imagine the soccer program without Kurt.”

Kelly Schmidt, the 2014 BCR Soccer Player of the Year from Princeton, said Garvin taught her almost everything she knows about playing keeper and would never been the player she is without him.

“I feel so incredibly lucky to know Garv. His love for the game was infectious. He always pushed us really hard in practices and games, but it was only to our benefit,” she said. “He was always supportive and encouraging.”

Kurt was an overall good guy and always enjoyed our conversations. My heart goes out to his family, including his parents, John and Sue, and his brother, John, as well as his many friends. Your loss is shared by many.

The PFC will be selling T-shirts to honor Kurt, featuring the favorite things of his life — a soccer ball, the Princeton Firefighter and Jaycees logos, a bat for his love for Darknight, and the inscription, I BELIEVE.

For pre-orders, contact Young at 815-876-6408 or ptonsoccer@yahoo.com.

Go out to the soccer pitch Sunday. You will no doubt feel Kurt’s presence. I believe the Princeton FC will win, for Kurt.

• Ashton Landrus, the 12-year-old miracle boy from Princeton, continues to make great strides from his recent illness. He’s been a fighter and a source of inspiration and faith for many who have followed his ordeal.

He got a special visit at the hospital from the Peoria Chiefs along with the many friends and family. Keep up the hike, Ashton.

Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com.