Football

Shawn Kuykendall (1982-2014) (©Twitter).

Former MLS player loses battle with cancer aged 32

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Former D.C. United soccer player Shawn Kuykendall passed away today after an eight month battle with cancer.

As reported by USA Today, Kuykendall died on Wednesday morning after having contracting thymic cancer in July of 2013.

He was just 32 years of age.

Kuykendall had a fleeting Major League Soccer career with first D.C. United, and then the New York Red Bulls, but made a lasting impact on everyone he met, in and out of the sport.

He created Kuykenstrong.com - a website dedicated to raising awareness about the disease and documenting his fight to beat it - and became a well known figure on social media as he utilised the "selfie" to highlight his struggle.

The son of former professional goalkeeper, Kurt Kuykendall, Shawn had a stand out youth soccer career, gaining US youth national team recognition as well as winning a national championship with Braddock Road Warhawks.

He was drafted into the MLS in 2005 but saw his career curtailed by a knee injury which led him into the world of youth coaching.

But he continued to have an impact on the league, with the catchphrase "Kuykenstrong" catching on in the aftermath of his diagnosis - the phrase was seen on t-shirts worn by the likes of Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan during last year's MLS All-Star event and Gold Cup.

Shawn used his faith to help him during his battle with cancer, a point that was given national exposure by the Washington Post last year.

Current MLS players have been quick to express their condolences today

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Topics:
MLS
Football
D.C. United

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